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The Birmingham Salon are back

Very excited to hear the Birmingham Salon is making a come-back next month.  It’s always nice to have interesting discussions and debates happening in Birmingham and I always thought the Birmingham Salon had a nice edge to it which complemented other groups like the Birmingham Skeptics and Cafe Scientifique.

Their latest talk is on the subject of morality in children, which looks pretty fascinating.  Here’s what they emailed out this morning…

Nina Powell, researcher at the University of Birmingham will discuss her completed PhD thesis ‘in-conversation’ with Helene Guldberg, associate lecturer in child development at the Open University and author of ‘Reclaiming Childhood: Freedom and Play in an Age of Fear‘.

Some recent research argues that ‘ground-floor’ and some sophisticated moral cognition develops as early as 14 months of age. Drawing on her Phd research Nina will argue that the case for an innate moral understanding that expresses itself before the age of 6 or 7-years-old is at best limited, and at worst, grossly misrepresented in some research. The implications of such misrepresentations of moral development are efforts to increase moral understanding in the early years through schooling and parenting interventions, as well as an overall problematic view that ignores the complexity and changeability of human beings and the way we think about morality.

If children are moral, then what implications does this have for parental responsibility? Should the age of criminal responsibility be lowered as some have argued? Is the distinction between adulthood and childhood, as presently conceived, acceptable given these new theories?

They’re meeting on Thursday 12th July at 7pm in The Ropewalk Pub in St Pauls Square, Jewellery Quarter.  It’s an interesting move having had previous discussions in The Studio on Cannon St, which is a nice space for meetings and conferences but always made the discussions a little too formal.  The Ropewalk is a nice pub so I’d imagine the discussions will flow a-plenty and give a lot of food for thought – particularly to anyone who went to the Cafe Scientifique talk last month about how far neuroscience has come in understanding the child’s brain.

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