Ian Pirie’s website.
A collection of notes
on philosophy and politics, written from a socialist, environmentalist and
believe (*) that we need to create another - and better – world, one characterised
by equality, sympathy (compassion), and non-violence.
But we can only begin to do this if
we use our imagination:
first, to feel with others who are suffering under the
and second, to think how things could be other than how they are now.
notes are based on lecturing done over nearly 40 years (1966 – 2005) at UEL, as
well as more recent teaching (since 2008) for the WEA,
but it is hoped they will interest anyone wanting to find
out more about the world around them.
I also write on current issues,
occasionally, at: is this a blog?
updates on the environment (‘Protecting the Planet’): Protecting the Planet Updates
And I use Facebook to post articles about politics and the
notes fall into the following groups:
(1) What is meant by ‘imagining other’...
#why? (for full list).
(2) Teaching notes for courses offered by the WEA
(Workers’ Educational Association):
Political Philosophy... #political philosophy (contents page)
1 (from the classical Greeks to the French revolution) #part 1
2 (from the 1789 French Revolution to the present) #part 2
How Enlightened was the (18th Century European)
Social Movements in the 20th century – ‘People Power’ #power.
(c) The Natural Environment -
‘Protecting the Planet’ #protecting
(3) Teaching notes on ‘Corporate
Social Responsibility’ – my teaching
from the mid ‘70s to 2002 at University of East London (UEL): #csr.
notes also include some recent files that go beyond CSR: inequality part 1 and updates on inequality (e.g. this file has some
notes on current economics)
(4) Libertarian Socialism –
especially the ideas of Cornelius Castoriadis... #libertarian socialism.
(5) Autobiographical and personal... #personal.
Full list of documents:
(1) What is meant by ‘Imagining Other’?
Part 1: What is Imagining
Part 2: New Ways of Seeing.
Alternatives. (Includes links to other notes - ‘building
the new society in the shell of the old...’)
Notes on William Blake
(2) Teaching Notes for WEA Courses
(i) Political Philosophy Part
(ii) Political Philosophy Part 2 (the ‘isms of politics):
Conservatism: Introduction, Burke,
and Nozick Thatcherism Hayek, liberal
conservatism, new right economics
(Introduction) Simone de Beauvoir Feminism (Extracts and Quotes) Feminism and Inequality Feminism
(notes for political philosophy) Notes on Climate Change, 'Sceptics'
also: Corporate Social Responsibility and the
and: Social Movements: the
Environmental and Green Movements
and especially: ‘Protecting the Planet’ (below) protecting the planet: introduction
Other contemporary thinkers
How Enlightened was the Enlightenment? (WEA
Course [10 weeks]: Leigh-on-Sea, January 2011, Rayleigh October 2011, Loughton
Lecture Notes: Billericay course 2018:
Week 1: Introduction Billericay 2018 week 1: Summary for students
Week 2: Introduction continued: Enlightenment
values Billericay 2018 week 2: Summary for students
Week 3: Science
Billericay 2018 week 3: Summary for students
Week 4 Economic Underpinnings (war, trade,
agricultural and industrial revolutions) Not covered for Billericay 2018.
Week 5: Religion Billericay 2018 week 4: Summary for students
Billericay Week 5 David Hume & Adam Smith Billericay 2018 week 5: Summary for students
Week 6: Human Nature in Smith,
Rousseau and Kant (Smith for Billericay see week 5) Billericay 2018 week 6: Summary
Extra notes on Adam Smith
Extra notes on Rousseau
Extra notes on
from Adam Smith
Week 7: The
Arts (extended to first part of week 8 also) Not
covered for Billericay 2018.
Week 8: Political Ideas (part A) - Kant, Locke,
Montesquieu, Rousseau) Billericay 2018 week 7}
Week 9: Political Ideas (part B) - The American
& French Revolutions, Burke and Paine
Billericay 2018 week 7} Summary for
10: Problematics: slavery, race,
women Billericay 2018 week 8. Summary
(b) Social movements in the twentieth century
NB: Some originally planned chapters are not yet written up.
The WEA course covers: Labour Movement; Peace Movement; Youth and
Counter-culture; Environment; Feminism/Women. (2 weeks each
Social Movements: Theory
(in-depth notes on the theory of social movements)
1: The Labour Movement:
2: The Russian Revolution:
Chapter 3: Anti-colonialism – to
4: The Peace Movement.
Section 2: the anti-nuclear movement
Chapter 5: Civil Rights – to be
Chapter 6: (‘People Power’ WEA Course Weeks 6 & 7):
The Women's Movement
7: Youth, Students and the Counter Culture
see also the two book reviews below, under (4)
libertarian socialism etc (*)
Chapter 8: The Environmental Movement. Now
a new course: Protecting the Planet (see below – (c)).
1: The Environmental (Green) Movement. See
also Protecting the Planet Part 10: the movement
also my first notes on this topic: Corporate
Social Responsibility 6 the environment.
2: Climate Change. See
also Protecting the Planet 6: Causes of climate change
3: to be revised
4: environmental issues in Australia
5: How an Australian environmentalist survived a crocodile attack and changed
her view on humans and nature: Val Plumwood
and the crocodile
also Environmentalism for political
philosophy course (above)
especially ‘Protecting the Planet’ (below) protecting
the planet: introduction
Chapter 9: Anti-globalisation movement
– to be completed.
Chapter 10: Social Movements Today.
(c) Protecting the Planet
planet Week 1: Introduction
Protecting the Planet Weeks 2 & 3: some key industries
Protecting the Planet Week 4: strategies for action
Protecting the Planet Week 5: some solutions to environmental problems
Protecting the Planet Week 6: global
warming: causes and controversy
Protecting the Planet Week 7: global warming: effects
Protecting the Planet Week 8: species decline
Protecting the Planet Week 9: energy policies
Protecting the Planet Week 10: the environment movement
Updates 2018: protecting the planet updates2018 (New!)
(3) Teaching Notes on Corporate Social Responsibility in
based on courses which I taught at UEL from the mid 1970s.
It is quite astounding to see how
much emphasis is now (21st century) placed on corporate social
responsibility in the world of business – it is no longer just a subject taught
at a few progressive institutions such as UEL (in the 1970s UEL was progressive
– now I am not so sure!) but it is a matter of lively debate involving many
managers and practitioners.
The reader is entitled to be
cynical about all this enthusiasm for ‘corporate social responsibility’ on the
part of business – as am I, to some extent: real change will only come about
when the public is no longer prepared to put up with the self-centredness of
However, cynicism alone is
destructive and reactionary – progress needs both a willingness to act (on
whatever front seems to bring results), and surely also a qualified optimism?
on Inequality [New! – recent events (credit
crunch, debt crisis, recession and especially the Occupy
demonstrators) have brought into the public domain the issue
that has been central for socialists for some 200 years at
least: inequality of income, wealth and power.]
Summary of 'Remedies' and Conclusion.
(4) Articles on libertarian socialism,
NEW: Comments on Paul Mason and 'postcapitalism'.
now a good wikipedia entry on Castoriadis:
(5) Autobiographical and personal:
UEL Course Outlines - summary of courses
taught by the author at the University of East London
(UEL), 1966 – 2005.
Poetry I Like (NEW!) - some of my favourite poems.
'Reflecting on Nature' - programme notes for
a song recital. (NEW!)
Comments on these pages are
welcome, to firstname.lastname@example.org