Cafe Philosophique

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Date(s) - Saturday, April 21, 2018
2:00 pm - 4:30 pm

St John the Baptist Church Hall


Café Philosophique

When: Saturday 17 March 2018, 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).


‘Zeno’s Paradoxes of Motion: Talking the Walk’ – Stephen Kay

The ancient Greek philosopher’s paradoxes concerning motion, presented as they are as thought experiments designed to show its logical impossibility, have fascinated and vexed philosophers since their inception.  Proceeding from apparently flawless reasoning, Zeno’s arguments seemingly drive us to a conclusion which is contradicted flatly by the evidence of our senses every day.  On a general level, this presents us with a stark challenge, as beings governed by reason, in the form of a dilemma: Whether to accept the dictates of reason over experience or to stick to the evidence delivered by our senses against what reason would have us otherwise believe.  More specifically, in the course of presenting Zeno’s arguments for the impossibility of motion, the presentation will look at various attempts by philosophers to resolve the paradoxes and argue how these attempts also spurred mathematicians and physicists to make crucial advances in their own fields as a result.

Stephen Kay has an academic background in philosophy, in particular in the philosophy of logic and mathematics.  His current research interests revolve around Wittgenstein’s thoughts on the nature of mathematical proof.


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.


For a brief description of the aims of this group, please refer to: – this would be particularly useful for newcomers.

Reading for the session

The following resources, available on the internet, may prove useful when preparing for the session.

For an accessible and brief overview of Zeno’s paradoxes:

For a more thorough treatment of the topics involved:

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