Philosophy Café


Hong Kong Philosophy Café
  • Tue 10-01-2017 7:30 PM - 2 h
  • Tue 14-02-2017 7:30 PM - 2 h
  • Tue 14-03-2017 7:30 PM - 2 h
  • Tue 11-04-2017 7:30 PM - 2 h
  • Tue 09-05-2017 7:30 PM - 2 h
  • Tue 13-06-2017 7:30 PM - 2 h
  • Tue 11-07-2017 7:30 PM - 2 h
  • Tue 08-08-2017 7:30 PM - 2 h
  • Tue 12-09-2017 7:30 PM - 2 h
  • Tue 10-10-2017 7:30 PM - 2 h
  • Tue 14-11-2017 7:30 PM - 2 h
  • Tue 12-12-2017 7:30 PM - 2 h


Free admission


The Fringe Branch of the Hong Kong Philosophy Cafe was established in October of 2000 with the goal of holding regularly scheduled discussions (in English) on serious, mainstream philosophical topics.

Meetings begin with a designated participant introducing a particular approach to dealing with the announced topic. After others have a chance to ask questions and/or give feedback to the introducer, a substantial block of time is devoted to small group discussions, with participants being encouraged to migrate between groups at will. Ideas raised during small group discussions are then shared in a concluding plenary session.


Tue 12 Dec 2017

Topic:"Would it be legitimate to extend Rawls' 'veil of ignorance' to animals?"

Introducer: Tse Yip Fai

Moderated by:Steve Palmquist


Tue 14 Nov 2017

Topic:"God, Gamblers and the Gullible"

Introducer: Jeremy Sampson

Moderated by:Steve Palmquist


Tue 10 Oct 2017

Topic:"Is objectivity in journalism an objective worth pursuing?"

Introducer: Christy McCormick

Moderated by:Steve Palmquist


Tue 12 Sep 2017

Topic: "Faith in Reality: Reflecting on the modern project of denying faith to make room for knowledge"

Introducer: Guy L own

Moderated by: Steve Palmquist


Tue 8 Aug 2017

Topic: "Is it really possible to distinguish Ponzi schemes from just smart business?"

Introducer: Michael Endesess

Moderated by: Steve Palmquist


Tue 11 Jul 2017

Topic: "What makes something authentic enough to trust?"

Introducer: Subash Sakraney

Moderated by: Steve Palmquist


Tue 13 Jun 2017

Topic: "Is our treatment of animals a modern day holocaust? How animal suffering tells us what it means to be human.?"


Introducer: Michelana Lam and Hektor Yan


Moderated by: Steve Palmquist

Tue 9 May 2017

Topic: "If the human unconscious exists, where is it?"


Introducer: Steve Palmquist


Moderated by: Paul Stables


Tue 11 Apr 2017

Topic: "Are criminals inherently worse than non-criminals?"

Introducer: Annie Lin

Moderated by: Steve Palmquist


Tue 14 Mar 2017

Topic:"Is political authority just an illusion?"*

Introducer: Avram Meitner

Moderated by: Steve Palmquist

*Avram writes:
It seems that most people have pretty good ethical intuition on most topics. We intuitively know that stealing is wrong and that under most situations we shouldn't hurt people. But certain experiments, such as the infamous Milgram experiment, or the Stanford Prison Experiment, showed that our ethical intuition can't be so easily trusted when it comes to authority. I will take a look at political authority in particular, where it comes from, and its moral underpinnings. We will examine Social Contract Theory, as well as the democratic and utilitarian cases for political authority.


Tue 14 Feb 2017

Topic: "How much does Western modernity owe to the biblical scribes and their love of paradox?"*

Introducer: Paul Stables

Moderator: Rachel Smith

* Eschewing the theological and the metaphysical Paul Stables will consider the economic, social, and political paradoxes in the Christian Bible and discuss their role in our ever changing societies.


Tue 10 Jan 2017

Topic: "Does the theory of karma rest on a fundamental mistake?"*

Introducer: Joseph Li

Moderated by: Steve Palmquist

*Joseph writes:
Roughly considered, the theory of karma asserts that our actions have consequences.  Positive deeds beget merits and negative deeds beget demerits.  Our future life is determined by karma, both present and past.  This part is based on causation.  Then the other part assures us that it is up to us to accumulate as much merits as possible in this life so that the principles of karma will work out a better future for us.  It is this part that I find it difficult.  I wish to challenge the concept of moral responsibility underlying the theory of karma. If determinism is true ( as the first part of the theory appears to endorse), there is little room for the role of a moral agent in a deterministic world. There is simply no such thing as a free moral self that can rise above determinism because the self is just another product of cause and effect beyond our control.  But we do attach blame or praise or resentment or approval for the conduct of our peers.  Here I wish to draw the distinction between description and ascription as a way out of this conundrum.


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