The Philosophy of Wonder

Dear Friends,

What use is wonder to understanding and explanation? For Francis Bacon wonder was ‘broken knowledge.’ For René Descartes it was the first and most noble of the passions. The division in views continues to the present day in our ‘disenchanted world’ with its portents of both transfigurative technologies and ecological catastrophe. Together we will examine the past and possible futures of wonder in relation to the creation of new knowledge and the creation (or discovery) of value, taking as a starting point Richard Feynman’s observation that “science only adds to the mystery and the awe of a flower.”

Our special speaker for the evening will be author and journalist Caspar Henderson. His Book of Barely Imagined Beings: a 21st Bestiary won the Jerwood Award of the Royal Society of Literature and the Society of Authors Roger Deakin Award, and was shortlisted for the 2013 Royal Society Winton science book prize. His A New Map of Wonders will be published in 2016.

We invite you to join us for a wondrous evening of inspired conversation, new encounters, music, and a banquet of fruits, wine, and other delights to revival that of the ancient Romans!

If you are new to our salons and would like to receive an invitation please email Miss Justine Kolata, jk554@cam.ac.uk