We had a presentation by Keith on the topic of Existencialism with reference to the
work of Sartre, using his book Existencialism and humanism as the basis.
We had a very polished PPP with a good discussion from the floor. Absurdism,
individualism and freedom of choice were amongst the issues raised along with
others.The fact that there ,(for most of us,) was not a god meant that we were free
thinkers and had to work out lifes problems. In certain circumstances we thought that
life was definitely not fair and absurd. As life has no meaning it is up to us to give it
values, this was a philosophy that was around at the end of the Second world War.
Man is responsible for himself and by example is responsible to all men.
The next meeting we will be viewing The life of Brian, one of the films that was listed
as a good example of absurdism.
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The Philosophy Group met in Puerto de Mazarrón last month. The topic was based on Bertrand Russell's book
The Problems of Philosophy and in particular the final chapter The Value of Philosophy.
The British Humanist Association video of a debate between Peter Atkins, Professor of Chemistry and
Philosopher Stephen Law, was shown to the members. The is available on You Tube web site, BHA Lectures and
There was general consensus that Russell's book was a difficult introduction to the subject and that his advice that
the subject was best learned through the study of individual philosophers rather than general reading, should be
The Morality of Borders
This month's discussion was led by Keith Patrick, who spent 150 years in Her Majesty's Customs and Excise Department in various roles within the immigration section.
The meeting began with information about how formal immigration controls began with the 1902 restrictions imposed following the European pogroms against Jews, which led to large numbers of people trying to flee from persecution. Border controls were then tightened up significantly at the outbreak of World War 1 and yet more with WW II.
Further disruptions occurred with the Soviet clamp-downs in Hungary and Czechoslovakia and when African nations gained independence from Britain, often bringing the expulsion of groups such as Indians who had previously been encouraged into these countries to start businesses. Today all immigration (to the UK) has to comply with the Human Rights Act.
The group agreed that all countries should take a sympathetic view of asylum seekers and genuine refugees but needed to be aware of the significant number of economic migrants who should be vetted and only admitted if they brought skills the country needs. The fear of possible terrorists entering under the guise of refugees was a significant fear for many of the group.
There was much discussion about mistakes of the past and the not-too-distant past. As examples, during the potato famine many Irish people entered the UK illegally and a lot were sent back to probable starvation. There was also a backlash to the 1950s influx of Afro-Caribbeans who had in fact been invited to come to Britain by the Government. There was even resistance to allowing Malala Yousafzi into the country for medical treatment following the attempted assassination of her by the Pakistani Taliban. But when she won the Nobel Peace Prize the papers all heralded her as a British hero.
Rule 1 of Philosophy: For every philosopher who has an opinion about a subject, there is another philosopher with an equal and opposite view.
Rule 2 of Philosophy: Both of them are wrong.