UserpicHow The Light Gets In

I, and the rest of my family, had a brilliant time @HTLGIFestival - the annual festival of philosophy and music held at Hay-on-Wye. It's great to see the festival growing every year, despite some uncooperative weather this time around. And I was delighted to see so many faces from last year. Hope to see y'all next time.   

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Here and here are a couple of talks from last year's Festival.

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After a long hard academic year at the chalk face (although, even I don't use chalk any more) it’s that time of the year when the Rowlands family begins its summer European exodus. I’ll be speaking in various countries, and kicking the whole thing off will be some talks at How the Lights Gets In – the festival of philosophy and music, held annually in Hay-on-Wye, Wales. It’s a great festival:

“Bringing together world-leading scientists, musicians, philosophers and politicians including Roger Penrose, Simon Blackburn, Laurie Penny, George Galloway, David Nutt, Katie Derham, Molotov Jukebox, Owen Jones, and Mr. Scruff for debates, talks, and wild parties, this year’s programme uncovers the new heresies that might become the truths of the future.”

I had a blast there last year. And so if anyone fancies a few enjoyable days in the beautiful countryside of the Welsh-English border, I highly recommend it. My contributions to the Festival are below (descriptions lifted from the Festival’s website):

Memory and the Self (Tuesday, May 27th 11.00 a.m.) Do memories make us who we are? The bestselling author of The Philosopher and the Wolf seeks all our all-seeing 'I'.

Mummy's Little Secret (Tuesday, May 27th 12.00 p.m.) Doon Mackichan, Meg Rosoff, Mark Rowlands, Mark Salter. Afua Hirsch hosts. From Father Christmas to the tooth fairy we are charmed by the fantasies we tell our children. Yet we do not condone telling lies to adults. We no longer beat our children; is it time to start telling them the truth as well? Would this create a more honest open culture or tarnish childhood? How I Live Now author Meg Rosoff, Smack the Pony and Brass Eye star Doon Mackichan, bestselling philosopher Mark Rowlands, and psychiatrist and filmmaker Mark Salter weigh up the value of duplicity.

The Banality of Evil (Tuesday, May 27th 2.30 p.m.) Camila Batmanghelidjh, Sally Green, Mark Rowlands. Andrew Copson hosts. In this placatory age, we tend to believe in evil acts, but not evil people. Yet how can we separate a person’s actions from their nature? Could it be that, for whatever reason, some people are simply evil? Would this help us better understand the nature of wrongdoing, or is it simply a way of covering up the evil within ourselves? Bestselling author of The Philosopher and the Wolf, Mark Rowlands, founder of Kids Company Camila Batmanghelidjh, and Half Bad novelist Sally Green ask whether people can be born evil. In association with the British Humanist Association.

Animals: Minds, Morality, and Agency IAI Academy Course (Thursday 29th May 10.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.) Do we radically misclassify animals? Miami based Professor of Philosophy Mark Rowlands challenges the boundaries between humankind and animals as minds and moral agents alike.

Part One: Animal Minds From emotion to beliefs, how do we delve into the minds of animals? Do they explore ours?

Part Two: Animal Rights What rights should animals have? Should their interests not be overridden by human concerns?

Part Three: Can Animals Be Moral? Do animals act with compassion? If animals are moral, what would it mean for humanity?

This is a video of an appearance I made at the How The Light Gets In Festival, in Hay-on-Wye, Wales, in May of this year. I was talking about my book, Can Animals be Moral? Hugo, the family dog, kindly agreed to accompany me. The video was made by the Institute of Arts and Ideas.

UserpicCulture File

Here is a four part interview series I did for Lyric FM radio (Ireland) as part of their Culture File show. I'm talking about Running with the Pack and various sundry matters.

UserpicCan Animals Be Moral?

Nice review of Can Animals Be Moral? can be found here.

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UserpicAnimal Rights

Completely forgot. I've a new book out, in fact it's been out for the past six weeks or so. I lost track in all the recent traveling. Entitled, Animal Rights: All That Matters. It's part of Hodder's All That Matters series. Details here

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UserpicThe Body Sphere

Here is an interview with Amanda Smith (recorded a while back when I was in London). It aired on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's radio show, The Body Sphere, on Sunday.

Also interviewed is the estimable Damon Young - philosopher, martial artist and, I gather, keen gardener. I highly recommend his book, Distraction, BTW.

Edit: Or if you prefer the printed word, try here.

How odd! It has just been brought to my attention that someone has apparently bought my old website address, and is using it to advertise weight loss products. Obviously, this has nothing to do with me. 

UserpicBristol Festival of Ideas

Here - talking about Running with the Pack with Julian Baggini at the Bristol Festival of Ideas, May 12th 2013.

UserpicThe Right to Believe

'A right to believe?' published here in Aeon Magazine.


13.58Online Culture Editor Martin Chilton has been speaking to philosopher Mark Rowland, who has food for thought, and taken this lovely snap of Rowland and his son Brenin.

 Mark Rowland, the Professor of Philosophy at the University of Miami and author of the bestselling The Philosopher and the Wolf, said: "Memory is very inconvenient, forcing itself on you. And memory is horrendously unreliable, even with events that happened relatively recenty." He quoted Friedrich Nietzsche, who said: "Memory says, 'I did that.' Pride replies, 'I could not have done that.' Eventually, memory yields.”

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UserpicHow The Light Gets In

Me talking and Hugo chillaxing at our Can Animals Be Moral? gig - at How The Lights Gets In, the festival of philosophy and music, Hay-on-Wye, May 26th.


The Rubicon has been crossed. I'm now on Twitter - @mnjrowlands

One might think that the beginning of a four month European 'Tour' would have been a better time to cross this particular Rubicon rather than 2-and-a-half months in - but there you go.

UserpicUK Tour, Part Deux

Better late than never, I suppose ...

Saturday 11th May, Philosophy on the Run, Wimbledon Common/Richmond Park, London – 10.00-17.00.


Sunday 12th May, ‘Running with the Pack’ (in conversation with Julian Baggini), Bristol Festival of Ideas, Bristol, 14.30

Sunday 12th May, ‘Animals and Humans’, panel session with Miriam Darlington and Caspar Henderson, 17.30

Saturday 25th May, ‘Thinking the Unthinkable’, panel session with Hannah Dawson and Simon Saunders, How the Light Gets In, Hay-on-Wye, 12.00 p.m.

Sunday 26th May, ‘Catching Sight of Ourselves’, panel session with Peter Hacker and Colin Blakemore, How The Lights Gets In, Hay-on-Wye, 13.15

Sunday 26th May, ‘Can Animal Be Moral? How The Lights Gets In, Hay-on-Wye, 18.00

Wednesday 29th May, ‘Running with the Pack’, Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts, Hay-on-Wye, 11.30

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