The Waterford Philosophical Society

The Waterford Philosophical Society

Celebrating the arts and the history of ideas since 2005. Through a combination of lectures and seminars, we study the works of seminal thinkers and artists.

This Society was founded in 2005 to promote the public understanding of Philosophy, the history of ideas, and the arts.


The Great Books: Readings from The Western Canon

Lecture VII: Sophocles’ 𝐴𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑔𝑜𝑛𝑒

7:30 p.m., Monday 1st April, at St Patrick's Gateway Centre

According to Hegel, 𝐴𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑔𝑜𝑛𝑒 is “one of the most sublime and consummate works of art human effort has ever brought forth.” In its exploration of seemingly irresolvable conflicts between personal conscience, familial loyalty, and political duty, the play is an enduringly captivating work. This lecture will examine 𝐴𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑔𝑜𝑛𝑒 in relation to its philosophical themes, and will conclude by considering the esteem in which it has been held by some of the most eminent artists and critics of the last two millennia.

The cost of admission to our talks is €5 per person. No prior knowledge of this lecture topic is required. For further information, please e-mail [email protected].


Stand-Alone Lecture

An Introduction to Eliot’s 𝐹𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑄𝑢𝑎𝑟𝑡𝑒𝑡𝑠

7:30 p.m., Monday, 7 August at St. Patrick’s Gateway Centre

Eliot’s ability to identify the personal and poetic value of philosophical and theological ideas was evident throughout his authorial career. Written at a time of immense cultural upheaval, in which artists and thinkers attempted to address the existential questions that were inspired by two world wars, Eliot's 𝐹𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑄𝑢𝑎𝑟𝑡𝑒𝑡𝑠 offer penetrating reflections on the psychological and societal consequences of chaos and order. Through a series of close comparative readings of key excerpts from an extensive range of Eliot’s writings, this lecture will explore the ways in which the 𝑄𝑢𝑎𝑟𝑡𝑒𝑡𝑠 synthesise pressing private concerns with erudite meditations on core thematic interrelationships between time, history, self-identity, and the limits of linguistic expression.

For further information, please e-mail [email protected]. The cost of admission for each of our lectures is €5 per person.


Stand-Alone Lecture

The Life and Works of Maimonides

7:30 p.m., Monday 26th of June, St. Patrick’s Gateway Centre

Moses Maimonides (1138-1204) was one of the foremost philosophers of the Medieval period. His works attest to his wide-ranging intellectual interests and his pre-eminence as an interpreter of fundamental precepts of Judaism. This introductory lecture will draw upon an extensive selection of Maimonides’s writings in order to identify interconnections between the presiding thematic issues that pervaded his thought. It will conclude with reflections on the ways in which the philosophy of Maimonides can be related to the works of other renowned Jewish thinkers such as Spinoza and Moses Mendelssohn.

For further information, please e-mail [email protected]. The cost of admission for each of our lectures is €5 per person.


David, 𝐿𝑎 𝑀𝑜𝑟𝑡 𝑑𝑒 𝑆𝑜𝑐𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑒 (1787)


New Lecture Series

The Wisdom of Socrates

Commences 7:30 p.m., (every Monday), at St. Patrick’s Gateway Centre

Socrates's deepest insights were acquired through his tenacious probing of questions about goodness, truth, justice, and wisdom. His steadfast commitment to philosophy as as way of life were inspired by such reflections. This new series of weekly lectures will focus on the figure of Socrates as presented by Aristophanes, Plato, and Xenophon. While exploring traditional views about the life and teachings of Socrates, we will also consider the means by which our own capacities for thoughtful living and critical thinking can be enhanced by close readings of those ancient texts upon which our knowledge of Socrates is based.

For further information, please e-mail [email protected]. The cost of admission for each lecture is €5 per person.

Animal Liberation: 50 Years On 18/03/2023

Animal Liberation: 50 Years On An event hosted by the Sheffield Animal Studies Research Centre to mark the 50th anniversary of Peter Singer's "Animal Liberation"

The Art of Fiction No. 84 06/03/2023

The Art of Fiction No. 84 Courtesy of Philip Roth   I met Philip Roth after I had published a short book about his work for the Methuen Contemporary Writers Series. He read the book and wrote me a generous letter. After our first meeting, he sent me the fourth draft of The Anatomy Lesson, which we later talked ab.....


Stand-Alone Lecture

Nothing is Known: Philosophical Perspectives on Beckett’s 𝘞𝘢𝘵𝘵

Commencing 7:30 p.m., Monday 06 March, at St. Patrick’s Gateway Centre

Written in Roussillon during World War Two, while Beckett was attempting to evade the Gestapo, 𝘞𝘢𝘵𝘵 was first published in 1953. It depicts the life of a household servant, tasked with completing a variety of bizarre domestic duties for the mysterious Mr Knott. Watt’s irrepressible desire to comprehend the baffling intricacies of his life in Knott’s house proves ludicrously burdensome. This lecture will show how 𝘞𝘢𝘵𝘵 can be read as a testament to Beckett’s masterful ability to employ his knowledge of seminal philosophical ideas in his characteristically humorous critique of our assumptions about the capacities of rational thought.

For further information, please e-mail [email protected]. The cost of admission for this event is €5 per person.

Timeline photos 28/02/2023
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