PhilChat is a postgraduate-run philosophy group which aims to introduce undergraduate students to interesting and socially relevant debates within, and related to, philosophy.
We aim to broaden our philosophical horizons by addressing issues that fall outside the Manchester undergraduate curriculum, and to foster a collegial and friendly environment amongst undergraduate and postgraduate students.
PhilChat began as a series of weekly seminars, which included talks given by philosophers in all stages of academic achievement, including Prof Rebecca Bennett (University of Manchester), Dr Ullrich M. Haase (Manchester Metropolitan University), Prof Helen Beebee (University of Manchester), PhD student Laura Dearlove (University of Durham) and many more. The talks covered a range of interesting and current topics, including: the philosophy of sex; implicit biases; the semantics of swearing; arguments for and against procreation; and whether killing in war is ever justified.
In 2015, the University of Manchester became a new chapter of MAP (Minorities and Philosophy) UK, an organisation that to aims to facilitate the participation of members from underrepresented groups in academic philosophy. PhilChat constitutes the University of Manchester’s chapter, and is dedicated to furthering the promotion of equality and representation within academic philosophy.
From 2015-16, the weekly seminar series has been replaced by the PhilChat Conference. This one-day event includes talks on socially relevant topics within philosophy, as well as a philosophy postgraduate studies workshop aimed at current undergraduate students. Attendees are also given the opportunity to socialise and discuss the topics raised with speakers and organisers over a conference lunch and casual dinner.
2016’s conference addressed ‘The Philosophy of Race, Gender and Disability’, with presentations from Professor Rebecca Bennett (Manchester), Dr Graham Stevens (Manchester), and Jessica Bernard (St Andrews). In 2017 we considered ‘Race, Gender and Class in Philosophy’ with the help of our speakers; Professor Brian Klug (Oxford), Dr Frederique Janssen-Lauret (Manchester) and Leonie Smith (Manchester). Then the 2018 conference addressed ‘Trust, Forgiveness, and the Philosophy of Mixed-Race Identities’. We heard from Dr Gabriella Beckles-Raymond (Canterbury Christ Church), Dr Paula Satne (Manchester) and Dr Andrew Kirton (Manchester).
The focus of the 2019 conference will be on ‘Extending knowledge: decolonised, non-western and interdisciplinary perspectives’, and it will be held on the 10th May 2019. We will be hearing from: Katucha Bento (Leeds) on ‘Decolonising Knowledge production: strategies of thinking Other-wise’; Nilanjan Das (UCL) on ‘Śrīharṣa on the Unanalysability of Knowledge’; and Hane Maung (Manchester) on ‘Suicide and the Philosophy of Psychiatry’. As in previous years, this event will be open to everyone, including those outside philosophy and the University of Manchester. Please see the University of Manchester Philosophy Events page for further details as they are released.
This most recent event was organised by Jon Bebb, Leonie Smith and Maria Evaristo Cursino Da Silva. If you would like to get involved in PhilChat, or would like to present a paper at one of our events, please get in touch with Jon Bebb or Leonie Smith.