The Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics and Ethics (CAPPE) Public Controversies lecture and debate series provides a forum for critically debating controversial aspects of our contemporary era, with little respect for established ways of thinking. It intends to rub you up the wrong way, to violate your sense of free speech, and to inspire you to angry intervention in public life. Each workshop begins with a short talk, or two, after which participant are invited to engage in discussion and debate.


10 November 2007: ‘What is Terrorism?’

Bob Brecher, University of Brighton

What is Terrorism? ‘Terrorism’ is one of those words used to discipline us into silence. This event will put some of your dearly held beliefs about terrorism into question. It aims to make you think twice before accepting what the media and government feed us.

24 May 2008: ‘What is the Moral Status of Animals?’

Alasdair Cochrane, London School of Economics
Dolan Cummings, Institute of Ideas

How should we treat non-human animals? Do we have moral obligations to non-human animals? If so, how far do those obligations go? Two short talks followed by a discussion.

11 October 2008: ‘Should Socialists Vote Tory?’

Cathy Bergin, 
Bob Brecher, University of Brighton

Wouldn’t a Labour victory at the next general election be a disaster for socialists? But if that’s right, then shouldn’t socialists vote for whoever has the best chance of getting Labour out? But that often means voting Tory – doesn’t it? Or is this beyond the pale? Cathy Bergin and Bob Brecher, both from the University of Brighton, will be debating these issues. 

22 November 2008: ‘What’s Wrong with Vegetarianism?’

Bob Brecher, University of Brighton

Deborah Robinson, Vegetarian Society

What are the arguments that we shouldn’t eat meat? How good are they? Might there be any serious counter-arguments? Bob Brecher, the University of Brighton, and Deborah Robinson, a volunteer speaker for the Vegetarian Society, will be debating these issues.

21 February 2009: ‘Does Charity Stink?’

Dan Travis, The Brighton Salon

Charity is playing an ever-larger role in public life. And most people seem to think that’s a good thing. But is it? Doesn’t charity in fact UNDERMINE social responsibility? Doesn’t it change citizens into supplicants? Dan Travis, writer and speaker on politics, competitiveness and attitudes to excellence from The Brighton Salon, will give a short talk before the issue is opened up for debate.

25 April 2009: Credit Crunch? What Next?

Tom Hickey, University of Brighton

What exactly is the ‘credit crunch?’ Why has it happened and what does it mean? Is it just another chapter in the capitalist story, or is there more to it? Tom Hickey, lecturer at the University of Brighton and activist, will give a short talk before the issue is opened up for debate.



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