I’ll admit it, I was slightly nervous. I’d been invited to give a philosophy workshop in HMP Dumfries, a prison in west Scotland. Plummy-voiced and puny-framed Englishman that I am, I wasn’t sure what they’d make of me. Mincemeat, maybe. Anyway, I figured it was a low-security prison, otherwise they wouldn’t be inviting philosophers to Read more…

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It’s odd how many academic disciplines grew out of the study of trance or ecstatic states. Now I know what you’re thinking. ‘Bloody hell, Jules is off on ecstasy again’. But hear me out, I promise I won’t be long. Psychology, neurology, sociology and anthropology all began, in the late 19th century, with the study Read more…

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Imagine, if you will, the scene. The Enlightenment has defeated Religion, and its various champions meet to carve up the vanquished enemy’s territories. Philosophy takes the chair: ‘Right then, settle down everyone. Thank you. Now, let’s see…Religion used to offer ethics and laws. We’ll split that with jurisprudence. It also used to offer divination and Read more…

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Next week, I’m off to Wales. First, I’m going to Cwmbran, where something is happening called ‘the Welsh Outpouring’. In April, when a young pastor called Richard Taylor was preaching, the congregation felt filled with the Holy Spirit, there were tears, shouts, groans, and this started to happen every evening. Word got out, congregations swelled, Read more…

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I’m in Holland again, this time in Utrecht, where yesterday I did a three-hour workshop at the University of Humanistic Studies. It was gratifying to have lots of bright students scrutinising my ideas, though also grueling in so far as the students very intelligently saw the limitations of Stoic philosophy.  The main message I got Read more…

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