Past Events

The Wimbledon Philosophical Society organises a variety of live events and talks on different topics in local venues.

See below for some recent events and links to further information about them.

Tuesday 9th April 2024 – Sir Rodric Braithwaite posed the question “Putin’s War in the Ukraine: Success or Failure?”  This war began in Feb 2014 with the annexation of Crimea by Russia and has recently evolved into a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in Feb 2022.  Rodric holds a unique position within British politics having served as the Ambassador to the Soviet Union and after the dissolution of the USSR, the Ambassador to the newly formed Russian Federation.  As such, he is eminently qualified to speak on this most urgent of topics within our current global landscape.

Wednesday 17th January 2024 at 7pm at Mansel Road Centre, Wimbledon SW19 – Dr. Denis McShane on Why the Labour Party always loses ? Labour have won 4 of the last 14 General elections. Denis asked why Labour is so good at losing and why so edgy when it wins – controversial former MP and Minister for Europe under Tony Blair’s government.

Monday 4th December 2023 – Local historian Peter Walker on Wimbledon and the Age of Slavery – should action be taken to correct the errors of the past such as renaming roads or removing statues ? This very controversial topic was followed by a healthy debate with over 30 WPS members and guests

Sunday 22nd October 2023 – WPS AGM in the Linfield Room, Wimbledon Village Club first floor, election of Committee and Chairman for the coming year, followed by a social event and discussion of the previous year’s programme, how the WPS can be improved and what direction we should take in future

Sunday 15th October 2023 at 8pm the Wimbledon Philosophical Society sponsored as part of Wimbledon Bookfest – Sir Ben Okri who recited from memory T.S.Eliot’s The Waste Land accompanied by his wife and dance activist Charlotte Jarvis – this was an amazing event which we were very pleased to bring to Wimbledon in collaboration with Wimbledon Bookfest

Tuesday 19th September 2023 at 7pm at the Mansell Road Centre – Speaker Paul Kohler on the Tragicomedy of the commons, a critique of the tragedy of the commons – the tragedy of the commons refers to a situation in which individuals with access to a public resource (also called a common) act in their own interest and, in doing so, ultimately deplete or denigrate the resource

Sunday 23rd July 2023 in Marryat Road – WPS Summer Garden Party with Poetry readings by members on the theme of Something very British (see programme here)

Tuesday 30th May 2023 7pm at Mansell Road Centre, Trinity Reformed Church, Wimbledon SW19, First Floor Ann Whitehead on Honesty in Politics, what will it take to change the current political landscape to have more honest politicians and better accountability

Tuesday 25th April 2023 7pm at Mansell Road Centre, Trinity Reformed Church, Wimbledon SW19 James Cope on Capitalism in the 21st Century and the work of French Philosopher and economist Thomas Piketty (see notes from presentation here)(watch video of presentation here)

Tuesday 28th February 2023 7pm at Mansell Road Centre, Trinity Reformed Church, Wimbledon SW19 – Fr. Simon Peat the Philosophical thinking of Pope John Paul ll, Truth and Phenomenology – Looking at things from Different Angles to discern the truth. Phenomenology is an approach to understanding that considers reality in its givenness, as it is manifest to us in and through experience. Put simply, what you see is what you get or is it ? – followed by a discussion on Catholic Truth and the role and future of belief in the developed post-modern world (see presentation notes here)

  • Wednesday 11th January 2023 7-9pm at Wimbledon Village Hall, Lingfield Road  – Dr. John Stevens – Sex, gender and Mental Wellbeing -‘Our fellow WP Society member, psychiatrist and psychotherapist, John Stevens, talked to us about ‘Sex and gender’ and asked us to consider the sort of questions which increasingly challenge the views of all sections of society. Is gender a Thing? Why categorise at all? Nature and Nurture. Body and Mind. Politics and Disgust. Why does anyone care? Read John’s presentation here 
  • Sunday October 23rd 2022 at 5pm – WPS AGM was held this year at the site of the Buddhapadipa Buddhist Temple in Calonne Road SW19. The WPS AGM at 5.30pm and then at 6pm we heard from resident monk Ven. Piyobhaso on the subject of Buddhism and Buddhist Philosophy for around 45 minutes followed by questions concluding around 7pm. Members had the opportunity before the meeting to visit the temple and the extensive grounds.
  • Monday 26th September 2022, 7pm at Wimbledon Village Hall  – Christian Michel – From Plato to Putin – the dangerous theory of a multi-polar world, delving into the distant origin of Eurasianism and the deep reason why Russia (and China and many others) are fighting the very notion of a globalised (or unipolar) world.   Christian leads the Cafe Philo discussions at the French Institute in South Kensington and is a well known speaker on Philosophy and Economics. You can watch the video of the presentation (Click here)
  • Sunday 26th June 2022, 3pm. Members and guests were warmly welcomed to this year’s Garden Party hosted by Val and Chris Morrison in Marryat Road.  Ewa Cobham, Veronika Marsh, Mary Owusu-Hirsch, Roland Rogers and Ann Vaughan-Williams read their own poetry and prose followed by contributions from the audience. Members received a copy of the booklet in advance. The topic this year was ‘Journeys’. See copy of Journeys booklet here.
  • Tuesday 7th June 2022, 7pm- 9:30pm at Wimbledon Library Arts Room – Politics, Power and Philosophy – Germany, Russia and the war in Ukraine, a panel discussion with Horst Teltschik (former advisor to German chancellor Helmut Kohl), other distinguished speakers including Charles Powell, Simon McDonald , Bill Keegan, Rodric Braithwaite and hosted by David Marsh – live event in Wimbledon, free to members and non-member guests (see attached event summary).
  • Wednesday 27th April 2022, 7.00 pm in the Lingfield Room at Wimbledon Village Hall. Professor Eric Kaufmann, from Birkbeck College, University of London addressed us on Free Speech, Political Identity and related topics. Prof. Kaufmann has written extensively on the Populism, Nationalism, Immigration, Religion and Orange Order in Northern Ireland.
  • Wednesday 2nd March 2022, 8:00 pm at Southside House, Lord Gus O’Donnell spoke on his work supporting a succession of 3 British Prime Ministers. Ed Nanno introduced Lord O’Donnell, who then spoke with engagement and intimacy of his work in his role as Cabinet Secretary and top Civil Servant and then took questions from the audience.
  • Sunday 17th October 2021, WPS AGM live at 5pm followed by drinks and a speaker on the management and development of Wimbledon Common by one of the Conservators .
  • Tuesday 7th September 2021, 7:30 pm at Wimbledon Village Hall. Stephen Cope gave a talk entitled “Thinking about Thinking”. Click  here to read the script for the talk.
  • Sunday 25th July 2021 1pm in Marryat Road – Garden party. You can watch the video here and read the report on the poetry reading here.
  • Wednesday 12th May 7pm on ZOOM – “Sartre’s Les Mouches and the concept of freedom” with some of the philosophical/theological questions raised in the book, presentation 30 minutes followed by a discussion. For those of you wishing to read the novel, click here and you can watch the video here.
  • Wednesday 31st March, 7pm Zoom. WISDOM FROM DIFFERENT LANDS – An Anthology of Poetry, Prose and Philosophy presented by the Poetry group of the WPS and other members. Read the review here. You can obtain a free copy of the booklet, which contains all the writings, by emailing muzikozm@pm.me.
  • Wednesday 27th January 2021 at 7pm on ZOOM – new WPS Chairman Edward Nanno presented : “Societal life in the Age of Coronavirus – lessons from Camus’ ‘The Plague’” with some of the philosophical/ theological questions raised in the book, presentation 30 minutes followed by discussion. (click here for notes on the meeting). For those of you wishing to read the novel, click here and you can watch the video here.
  • Wednesday 2nd December 2020 at 7pm on Zoom, Philip Collins on the topic of UK Democracy – How can we fix our broken politics. Philip is a Times columnist, associate editor of Prospect Magazine and former chief speech writer to Tony Blair between 2004 and 2007 (click here to watch the video)
  • Sunday 13th September 2020 – WPS Garden Party at a member’s house in Marryat Road with beautiful weather and poetry readings by members on the theme of ‘Moments in eternity, Eternity in a moment’.

    The poetry recital was inspired and led by Leslie Dighton. He was unable to attend the garden party because of COV-19. Juan Tafur nobly stepped into Leslie’s shoes at the last minute and delivered his introduction and conclusion with his usual aplomb. You can read the poems and stories by clicking the link.

    Alan Paul from the audience read his poem titled ‘Freedom’. This poem can also be read by clicking this link.
  • Tuesday 26th May 2020 – Building a Society based on the Common Good, presented by Leslie Dighton. This event was virtual using ZOOM with an online ‘Philosophical Conversation. You can reathe Little Black Book of the Common Good. You can watch the video here.
  • December 2019 – Democracy and its Crisis with Professor A.C. Grayling at Southside House (read the summary)
  • July 2019: WPS Summer Garden Party at Southside House, Wimbledon with Poetry, Fables and Legends read by members and the WPS Poetry sub-committee. (read the programme)
  • November 2018: Influential Non-Conformists in 17th Century Clapham, Marryat Road, presented by Tim Walker. (read the note on the meeting)
  • October 2018: WPS AGM, Marryat Road
  • July 2018: WPS Summer Garden Party at Southside House with Poetry Reading by some Members and Guest Poets. (read the programme)
  • October 2017: AGM & Einstein’s greatest mistake, Marryat Road, presented by David Bodanis.(see attached)
Summer Garden Party 2018