What should we eat? The science, ethics and esthetics of food – 19.05.2014

The subject of eating is surrounded by a host of philosophical and ethical questions. Together with exercise and psychological factors, diet is unarguably important as a primary determinant of performance, well-being and health. The purpose of this session is to explore some of these issues together.

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Democracy and its discontents – 28.04.2014

In Civilization and Its Discontents (“Das Unbehagen in der Kultur”, 1930), Freud argued that the individual’s quest for instinctual freedom, that is to say his primary drives, are intrinsically opposed to the requirements of civilization, which therefore inevitably gives rise to dissatisfaction and neurosis. As the net effect of civilization is to increase unhappiness, Freud finds in it a paradox, which he does little to elucidate. Civilization seems to be a force above man, a deus ex machina to which he is unwillingly subject. But, if so, how has this come about, historically, biologically, sociologically and economically?
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The sociology of intelligent conversation – 7.04.2014

Le Salon Brussels is a new social network for discussion of science, art, politics, philosophy and literature, with the aim of learning, sharing ideas, socializing and making friends. It is inspired by the French literary salons of the 17th to 19th century, together with the democratic and progressive spirit of Bohemian coffeehouse culture.

In this introduction, we will briefly explore the social factors which gave rise to these cultural phenomena, their development, mutations and, perhaps arguably, extinction. What role did these institutions play in the life of their members and in society at large? Do the “society of information”, post-industrialism and other contemporary social trends have the potential to open a new space for public intellectuals, or to reconfigure social mobility? In short, what is constant and what is changing? The answers to these questions may help us to imagine, shape and communicate our new initiative.
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