Canberra Skeptics Lecture: Toleration and Blasphemy – and Australia Today

Sunday, February 17, 2013 – 13:30 to 15:00
Lecture Theatre, CSIRO Discovery Centre

Clunies Ross St

Acton, ACT


Free Admission

Just why is it that, in a ‘multicultural’ society, issues about toleration – and what this involves – seem even more contention than they did in the past? How is it that proponents of religious freedom may be at odds about these matters? And what of the rights of those who may be opposed to all forms of religion? Is there any role, in societies like ours, for older ideas about blasphemy? And should there be any limitations to the freedom of speech?

Jeremy Shearmur – who will be presenting on this material – plans to raise some interesting issues, which may well give offence (in some form or another) to at least some of those who choose to attend.

Jeremy Shearmur is a former assistant of Karl Popper’s; he taught philosophy at Edinburgh, Political Theory at Manchester and the ANU, and was also Director of Studies of the Centre for Policy Studies (London), and Research Associate Professor at George Mason University. He has wide academic interests, especially in social philosophy and in ‘critical rationalism’. He has published The Political Thought of Karl Popper and Hayek and After, and was co-editor of Karl Popper, After the Open Society. He is currently finishing editorial work on Larry Briskman’s Problems and their Progress, working with Geoff Stokes on The Cambridge Companion to Popper, and also working on his own volume, Living with Markets. In 2009 he was a Senior Research Scholar in the Center for the History of Political Economy in the Department of Economics at Duke University, and he expects that work that he undertook there on Hayek’s intellectual development will be published in a series of papers.

John Shellard studied as an undergraduate at the ANU completing majors in philosophy and history and honours in philosophy. His current research interests focus on the political problem of the toleration of religious belief. He also has interests in the history of ideas, secularism, liberal thought and public ethics.

Canberra Skeptics Incorporated is a non-profit association incorporated in the Australian Capital Territory for the purpose of promoting critical thinking. For further information about us, including our podcast “The Hansard – Canberra Skeptics Record of Reason,” please visit our website

Our regular Skeptics in the Pub will follow the lecture. This will be held in King O’Malley’s Irish Pub, 131 City Walk, Civic.