Here in the UK, it’s now 13 years since the GM Nation debate created a highly charged atmosphere around the use of genetic modification in food crops. Since then, the prospect of climate change coupled with its likely effect on food insecurity in many regions of the global South has placed questions about the social acceptability of GM crops in a new context. On Tuesday 17 May, Dr Hilary Rogers (Cardiff University, Biological Sciences) and Karolina Rucinska (Cardiff University, Geography and Planning) surveyed the current state of play in relation to GM crops, and the persistent ethical questions that surround them.
Here in the UK, it’s now 13 years since the GM Nation debate created a highly charged atmosphere around the use of genetic modification in food crops. Since then, the prospect of climate change coupled with its likely effect on food insecurity in many regions of the global South has placed questions about the social acceptability of GM crops in a new context. In this Café, Dr Hilary Rogers (Cardiff University, Biological Sciences) and Karolina Rucinska (Cardiff University, Geography and Planning) introduce a discussion on the issues that now circulate around GM. What is the current thinking on the benefits and risks that GM crops may hold for industrialised countries, on the one hand, and for agricultural developing countries on the other? Has GM technology changed the way we think about agriculture and the causes of hunger? What are the ethical issues surrounding consumer choice?
Join us to explore these and other questions at The Gate on Tuesday 17 May from 8.00pm.
In the meantime, here’s an opinion piece on why the issues on which public debates on GM crops often focus are the wrong issues. Are public discussions of GM often just repetitions of opposing myths?
Here’s US TV host Jimmy Kimmel getting some vox pops:
And here’s Orchestral Manoeuvres in The Dark’s take…
You can also take our poll, below. Do you think GM crops might have a role to play in the future of agriculture? It’d be great if you could comment on why you voted ‘yes’ or ‘no’ (or maybe why you’re not sure one way or the other) using either the blog comments box below, or if you’re on Facebook, you can use the FB comments function.
What is love? A question that we have all asked and will no doubt ask again – and a pre-occupation of Western and Eastern Philosophy fo rmillennia.
One of the difficulties with understanding what love means is that it seems to mean lots of different things. Humans experience attraction to and intimacy with others in various shapes and forms. Aristotle recognised this, distinguishing between agape (unconditional love, associated with the highest form of spiritual belonging) from eros (romantic and serial love) and also from philia (close friendship or ‘brotherly love’). These ideas might seem old hat, but these concepts – together with other types of love defined by Plato – can help us to better understand the nature of love and how we express it towards ourselves and family, towards other ‘significant others’, and contribute to our communities. How do the ways in which we understandromantic, family and unconditional love in the contemporary world relate to these philosophical definitions and qualities?
Join coach Lana Morris and Reiki practitioner Steve Carroll to explore the meaning of love on Tuesday March 22, from 8.00pm at the Gate.
In the meantime, why not watch this video and take our poll below?
What is the relationship between philosophy and poetry? Philosophers have often taken inspiration for their analytic work from poetic language – as in the case of Martin Heidegger ‘s appreciation for Georg Trakl or Friedrich Hölderlin. Poets have sometimes returned the favour, as in the case of Coleridge’s reading of Friedrich Schelling. Sometimes, poets have mocked philosophers for their pretentions to absolute knowledge, from Aristophanes to William Carlos Williams. Rarer are efforts by philosophers to write poetry, and rarer still attempts to philosophize through the medium of poetry. last night, Prof. Christopher Norris from the Philosophy Department at Cardiff University presented and discussed examples of his own efforts to explore philosophical themes through poetic writing. The title of the session comes from a project on which has been working for around five years, producing individual poems that deal with the work of specific modern philosophers.
Many philosophers have also written about poetry. Some philosophers have also been poets. Next week at Cardiff Philosophy Cafe, we’re lucky to have joining us Prof. Christopher Norris (Philosophy, Cardiff University) to give us some examples of how the two can be melded. In this year’s Christmas Cafe, Prof. Norris offers us a series of villanelles which take off from the ideas of various theorists and philosophers (Descartes, Leibniz, Heidegger, Lacan, Althusser, Derrida, Deleuze, Badiou, Agamben) and then move out to address larger matters of life and love.
As usual, we’re in the Cafe bar at The Gate from 8.00 pm, on Tuesday 15 December. Hope to see you there!
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing society. As part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science, and in the run up to the December UN Climate Conference, the SeaChange project draws on social science research at Cardiff University within the Understanding Risk Group to explore visualisations of this important issue.
Fusing art and science, an interactive exhibition at The Gate Arts and Community Centre uses images and interviews to explore representations of sea-level change on the Severn Estuary. An open evening (beginning from 6.30pm) and a special SeaChange themed Philosophy Café (from 7.30pm) will be held on Wednesday 11th November, where participants will be invited to explore issues drawn from the exhibition. A presentation from the project team will be followed by small-group discussions, exploring the meaning of climate change for us here and now, and how our perceptions of climate change here in Wales relate us to processes of environmental change happening elsewhere in the world and to the future.
Interdisciplinarity is a dominant buzzword in academic research – but can it really enhance how people from different disciplines work together, and what challenges does it represent?
The philosophy of science has often been about the clarification of what a reliable method for establishing reliable knowledge about the world might be. But outside the natural sciences, other disciplines are based on their own assumptions about how they should investigate and intervene in the world. One consequence of this is that it becomes hard to promote a ‘philosophy’ of collaboration, a clear approach to what it means for scientists and others to work together.
In this cafe, Sergio Pineda (Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff) looks at the philosophy of collaboration from the point of view of a new project that brings together a team of architects in partnership with a team of crystallographers. The project proposes that designers can learn from the structure of matter at the atomic and molecular level, and that features found within matter at the nanoscale yield potentially transformative diagrams for design at a variety of scales. By exploring what happens when researchers invite collaborators from seemingly ‘foreign’ disciplines into their workspace, this cafe will also explore how advances in scientific imaging make possible new visions of aesthetics, art and design.
Join us next Tuesday, 21 July, from 8.00pm in the cafe bar at The Gate.
Asking whether it makes sense to talk of ‘the philosophy of…’ something is a question that immediately launches other ones. It makes sense to talk about ‘the philosophy of physics’ or ‘the philosophy of biology’, insofar as it’s possible to explore the fundamental presuppositions of a science (e.g. what kinds of things are there?) and see if they cohere together. On the other hand, to talk of ‘the philosophy of nanotechnology’, or ‘the philosophy of mobile phones’ would be a stretch – perhaps ‘the philosophical implications of x‘ would make more sense. At last night’s Cardiff Philosophy Cafe, Clive Cazeaux, Professor of Aesthetics at Cardiff School of Art and Design, offered some reflections on the nature and meaning of cycling. While these focused on the philosophical implications of the experience of riding a bike, Clive suggested at the same time that, among these implications, is that cycling provides a particular way of ‘knowing’, or revealing, the world that makes up a coherent worldview. This, indeed, may be at the root of why cyclists and motorists sometimes find it difficult to share the same piece of tarmac.