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What can we learn from…? Cambridge, 1 November 2023
Tuesday 1 November 2022 @ 7:15 pm - 9:15 pm
‘What can we learn from…?’ events take as a starting point important thinkers and cultural figures from the past. They offer an opportunity to understand the emergence of key ideals related to freedom and to explore and debate if and how they remain important in the present.
This event is supported by Free Speech Champions
Each salon starts with short, accessible talks from thought-provoking experts and critics who will offer insights into key thinkers in history. Talks are followed by plenty of time for discussion, with the chance to ask questions and put forward points. Together we will interrogate why these thinkers and the ideas they promoted can offer valuable insights that help us understand freedom then and now.
Tuesday 1 November, 7.15pm-9.15pm
Short, accessible talks from experts and critics will offer insights into key John Locke and John Milton
1: John Locke and Toleration – Piers Benn, philosopher, author and lecturer
It was only in the 17th century that society started to tolerate competing religions and beliefs. Today, values of tolerance and respect are regularly upheld. But some argue that tolerating free expression has its limits and society should not be placed at risk of intolerant ideas or even overly judgemental views. Should we tolerate free expression, or retain a right to be intolerant of intolerance?
2: Milton and Liberty – Andrew Doyle, author, The New Puritans
“Give me liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience”, declared the poet John Milton in Areopagitica. Often associated with 17th-century non-conformist Puritans, Milton rejected licensing of printed texts and rebuffed the notion that prohibitions, bans or force could create virtuous men. Today, amidst the rise of a new puritanism, being offensive can be deemed an offence, demands for ‘social justice’ brook no dissent while uttering uncomfortable truths can lead to public shaming. From the ages of the Puritans, old and new, what can we learn about the case for freedom of belief and expression?
Gonville and Caius College
Trinity St, Cambridge CB2 1TA
See Google Maps for location.
Lectures: Long Room
Seminars: Long Room, Senior Parlour Room
presenter, Free Speech Nation, GB News; author, The New Puritans: how the religion of social justice captured the Western world
Andrew Doyle is a writer, comedian, and a presenter on GB News. He is the author of Free Speech and Why It Matters (2021) and The New Puritans: how the religion of social justice captured the Western world (2022). He is the creator of the satirical character Titania McGrath, who has published two books – Woke: a guide to social justice (2019) and My First Little Book of Intersectional Activism (2020). He began presenting his show Free Speech Nation on GB News in June 2021. Before then he was a columnist for spiked, a panellist on the BBC’s Moral Maze and regularly reviewed the papers on Sky News.
DR PIERS BENN
philosopher and lecturer; author, Intellectual Freedom and the Culture Wars
Piers teaches philosophical ethics at Fordham University London Centre and his latest book is Intellectual Freedom and the Culture Wars. His interests include ethics, philosophy of religion and philosophy of psychiatry and he has taught at numerous universities including St Andrews, Imperial College London and King’s College London. During the 1990s, he organised seminars for students in Poland and the Czech Republic, in collaboration with host institutions struggling to rebuild education after the communist period. He is a regular media commentator.