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John Macmurray Fellowship Annual Seminar: "Freedom and Populism"

Sat 12 Oct 2019, 10am-4pm, Sheffield Quaker Meeting House, 10 St James St. S1 2EW

John Macmurray (1891-1976), moral philosopher and Quaker, was interested in understanding what it means to be a person. His writing offers a new perspective on the human condition, relevant to the problems we face as a world today. His highly original work and thinking was out of tune with the mood of British philosophy in that period, and the academic community have largely ignored his work. sought to understand how we relate together as persons active in the world. He was politically active in the 1930s and provided much analysis of populism and the nature of freedom throughout the rise of right wing extremism at that time. "one of the crucial tests of democracy is the way in which it treats its minorities. A country in which the majority forces its will upon a recalcitrant minority by sheer weight of numbers is not really democratic at all." (Address to the Indian YMCA, 1929)"… freedom is measured by the ratio between what is objectively possible and what we can actually achieve. … Two things seem to be true together in the strange period to which we belong: that [our] power of achievement has grown vast beyond belief; and that [our] capacity to achieve any serious human purposes is diminishing at an alarming rate. It is an age at once of unparalleled effort and unparalleled frustration" (Freedom In The Personal Nexus from Freedom: Its Meaning, ed. Ruth N. Anshem,1942)" … [politicians] are, like ourselves, subject to the illusion of power. If we expect them to work miracles, we flatter them, and tempt them to think they are supermen. … Those of them who are wise enough to know their limitations, and to be immune to the gross adulation of their fellows, will resign; and government will be carried on only by megalomaniacs, who are capable of believing themselves possessed of superhuman attributes and whose lust for power is the measure of their weakness." (Persons In Relation, Faber, 1970)Details of the annual seminar of The John Macmurray Fellowship, including how to book a place (£15/£7.50 concessions) at the link belowjohnmacmurray.org

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