Saturday, 3 December 2022 Contact us
Stephenlaw
Stephen Law

How to think about Weird Things

Stephen Law

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

10:00am

1 hour

St Cross College

£7 - £12.50

Philosopher and academic Dr Stephen Law explains how to weigh up the evidence around weird beliefs sceptically without becoming a closed-minded naysayer.

Many people believe in extraordinary hidden beings, including demons, angels, spirits and gods. Plenty also believe in supernatural powers, including faith healing and communication with the dead. Conspiracy theories are also popular, including that the 9/11 attacks were an inside job. And, of course, many trust in alternative medicines such as homeopathy, the effectiveness of which seems to run contrary to our scientific understanding of how the world works.

Such beliefs are widely considered to be at the ‘weird’ end of the spectrum. Most of us really struggle when it comes to assessing such ‘weird’ beliefs. Of course, we have our hunches. But when it comes to pinning down precisely why such beliefs are or aren’t reasonable, even the most intelligent and well educated of us can quickly find ourselves out of our depth. While most would pooh-pooh belief in fairies, Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of the quintessentially rational detective Sherlock Holmes, believed in them and wrote a book presenting what he thought was compelling evidence for their existence.

From discs in the sky to faces in toast, Stephen Law explains how to weigh the evidence without becoming a closed-minded naysayer.

Law is a philosopher and academic, author of bestselling introductions to philosophy for adults and children, and editor of the Royal Institute of Philosophy Journal Think.

Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Symington Wines of the Douro Valley International Literary Properties Supporters of the festival green room The Dorchester Hotels Collection Festival London hotel partner European Union Delegation of the European Union to the United Kingdom Cultural Relations Platform Supporter of the festival's Voices of Europe programme Owen Mumford Supporter of programme of science and medicine and annual science and innovation award BBC World Service International radio partner University of Oxford FT Weekend Title partner Jewish Book Week Partner of Jewish programme Italian Embassy Supporter of Italian programme Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels Sponsor of the festival crime fiction programme Princeton University Press Prestige publishing partner Marlene Hauser Mary and Cecil Quillen Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture Jill Dunsmore David Isaac Carole and John Allen Lucian Hudson Pank Koria CEO of Project People Masumi and Jonathan Dobson Miles Young Emily Rose and James Marrow Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture George Warren Lady Hatch Patron donor for the programme of Irish literature and culture John Roberts Trinity College Trinity College St Cross College St Cross College Lincoln College Lincoln College Worcester College Worcester College New College Exeter College Exeter College: college home of the festival The Feathers Hotel Woodstock festival hotel Critchleys Accountants to the festival Project People Foodbuy Felicity Bryan Associates Conference Oxford Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office Paul Bloomfield Ltd Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner The Oxford Times Regional media partner Oxford Brookes University Oxford University Images Oxford University Images The Sheldonian Theatre City Audio Visual Racalia Olive Oil Olive oil from Sicily Schoolreaders The Litmus Partnership K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography OX magazine Royal Academy of Arts Siren Communications Siren Communications - corporate consultants Chêne Bleu Wines of Provence Compassion in World Farming The Wild Geese James Currey Society Hattus Books Hattus Books La Cave Musik Pusey House Cervantes Institute, London Confucius Institute Literature Ireland Pasture to Plate
 

FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival sponsors, donors & partners

Oxford Martin School Festival ideas partner Bodleian Libraries Festival cultural partner Symington Wines of the Douro Valley International Literary Properties Supporters of the festival green room The Dorchester Hotels Collection Festival London hotel partner European Union Delegation of the European Union to the United Kingdom Cultural Relations Platform Supporter of the festival's Voices of Europe programme Owen Mumford Supporter of programme of science and medicine and annual science and innovation award BBC World Service International radio partner University of Oxford FT Weekend Title partner Jewish Book Week Partner of Jewish programme Italian Embassy Supporter of Italian programme Blackwell’s Festival on-site and online bookseller The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels Sponsor of the festival crime fiction programme Princeton University Press Prestige publishing partner Marlene Hauser Mary and Cecil Quillen Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture Jill Dunsmore David Isaac Carole and John Allen Lucian Hudson Pank Koria CEO of Project People Masumi and Jonathan Dobson Miles Young Emily Rose and James Marrow Supporters of the programme of American literature and culture George Warren Lady Hatch Patron donor for the programme of Irish literature and culture John Roberts Trinity College Trinity College St Cross College St Cross College Lincoln College Lincoln College Worcester College Worcester College New College Exeter College Exeter College: college home of the festival The Feathers Hotel Woodstock festival hotel Critchleys Accountants to the festival Project People Foodbuy Felicity Bryan Associates Conference Oxford Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies University of Oxford Alumni Office Alumni Office Paul Bloomfield Ltd Bear Ram Elk Festival Digital Strategy & Web Design BBC Radio Oxford Local radio partner The Oxford Times Regional media partner Oxford Brookes University Oxford University Images Oxford University Images The Sheldonian Theatre City Audio Visual Racalia Olive Oil Olive oil from Sicily Schoolreaders The Litmus Partnership K T Bruce Photography K T Bruce Photography OX magazine Royal Academy of Arts Siren Communications Siren Communications - corporate consultants Chêne Bleu Wines of Provence Compassion in World Farming The Wild Geese James Currey Society Hattus Books Hattus Books La Cave Musik Pusey House Cervantes Institute, London Confucius Institute Literature Ireland Pasture to Plate