Malmesbury – Philosophy Town

Some interesting plans are afoot to make the Wiltshire town of Malmesbury the UK’s first “philosophy town”. The market town was the birthplace of Thomas Hobbes and sits serenely atop the Vale of the White Horse. It is proposed that the town be a regular host to various philosophy-themed festivals including a three day ideas symposium next October. An ideas workshop/coffee shop is also a project under development and the historical connection between philosophizing and walking will be reaffirmed with a number of long walks (including one to the home of  John Locke) using Malmesbury as a starting point.

I don’t know of any similar proposals elsewhere in the world or if other countries support such a tradition. It would be interesting to find out. It does seem to me that there is a very good case for taking philosophy to places and audiences outside of the Academy.

I may have some involvement with the project (I live half an hour away) and will keep you posted.

Leave a comment ?


  1. That would be a great idea! How likely is that it will be implemented?

  2. Vancouver on the Pacific Coast of Canada has a very busy Philosophers’ Café series sponsored in part by Simon Fraser University.

    Pretty well something going on at least once a week somewhere:

    Although some of their evening Café events have pretty good coffee and while sometimes they just hang out at the beach, a whole “Philosophy Town” trump’s that!

  3. It must be an existentially challenging place to live:

    I ordered a pizza, not a turd in a box!

    I think you’re propagating a naive view of the social contract as…

    Why couldn’t you have just given me a pizza!?

    As Descartes observed of the fallibility of the senses…

  4. Ben – you’ve eaten there then?

  5. I live about an hour and a half away so any further information will be greatly appreciated.

  6. Dana – I think they have something like that at the University of Kent.

  7. Andy –

    Well, I couldn’t finish all of it…

  8. Don – there’s a meeting at the end of next week, will update after that.

  9. I grew up just down the road in another Wiltshire town and never knew the philosophical pedigree – what a shame this was never mentioned in school lessons.

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