Cafe Philosophique

Loading Map....

Date(s) - Saturday, January 20, 2018
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

St John the Baptist Church Hall


When: Saturday 18 November, 2 pm until 4 pm.

Please arrive a few minutes early for a prompt 2 pm start.

Where: St John the Baptist Church Hall, Grainger Street (on the corner of Grainger Street and Westgate Road), Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 5JG.

Please note that the entrance is through the church hall door, which is on the side of the building (and not through the main front church door).


‘The Silences of Language’- Michael Bavidge

Two different lines of thought come together in this talk – both having something to do with silence. One is about philosophy; the second about everyday talk. On the one hand, philosophers seem driven towards silence, the ineffable, the transcendent or some such, just when things are getting interesting, on the other, silences are an important part of ordinary conversation. These two concerns seem different but they converge. The reason, I suggest, is that both are related to persons and personal relationships. We will discuss this mingling of concerns about the limits of what can be said with the sensitivities of everyday conversation. At the end of the paper, we will reflect on Adorno’s famous remark: ‘to write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric’.

Michael Bavidge was a lecturer in philosophy at the Centre for Lifelong Learning, Newcastle University. For ten years before he retired, he organised the Adult Education Programme at the university. He has written on psychopathy and the law, pain and suffering, and minds, human and brute. He is the President of the Philosophical Society of England which brings together academic and non-academic philosophers who believe in the importance of exploring philosophical ideas and their relevance to our social and personal lives.


The task of the audience is to attempt to be Socratic, as it were, in exploring philosophically the basic concepts being presented, their underlying assumptions, coherence, and viability.  We invite you to join us in this exciting and challenging endeavour.

A contribution of £2 is requested, for those attendees who can afford it, to cover the room hire costs.


Café Philosophique has been the flagship of the Newcastle Philosophy Society since its inception in 2003. More than the weekly study groups, it embodied the spirit of taking philosophy out of academe and into the domain of public interest, combining erudition and argumentation with wider participation, personal involvement, and broadening of scope to include all matters of interest and concern to a growing diversity of individuals and the public at large.

The model of Café Philosophique, as implied by its title, is based on a popular movement in France over the past half century, where people with an interest in philosophy gathered in cafés or similar venues, and took turns to introduce a theme or topic for collaborative reflection and discussion.  On occasion, an invited speaker would be invited to focus the debate or draw people’s attention to a particular subject beyond their immediate grasp.

For a number of years, Café Philosophique at the Newcastle Philosophy Society has drawn on the seemingly inexhaustible knowledge and expertise of its regular members.  It has also benefited from a range of contributions by guest speakers from university departments and elsewhere.  Café Philosophique currently meets on the 3rd Saturday of the month at 2 pm (about 10 times a year).




Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Protected by WP Anti Spam