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World Philosophy Day

Published on 12/12/17

The whole Foundation celebrates UNESCO's World Philosophy Day

On Thursday 16 November the Stephen Perse Foundation marked UNESCO’s World Philosophy Day with an impressive array of events, some of which you may have read about in the Dame Bradbury’s and Junior School newsletters.

At the Senior School and 6th Form College our celebrations comprised of assemblies, lectures, philosophical debates and a whole school 'Kahoot!'. Professor Simon Blackburn (Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge) visited the Senior School to give two lectures. The first was to the Sixth Form RS & Philosophy students on ‘Truth, beauty and goodness’ and the second was on ‘Philosophical themes’ to Year 9. Below, Dan (U6) outlines the Sixth Form lecture:

"Professor Blackburn gave an enriching account of truth, beauty and goodness, and how these concepts can be explained through the meta-ethical approach of expressivism. Blackburn’s lecture developed our understanding of concepts we have been studying in class, such as emotivism and intuitionism, and gave an interesting opposing view to some of these arguments. After the lecture we had the unique opportunity to engage in a dialogue with Blackburn. This was an invaluable chance to find out more from a renowned philosopher and consolidate our ideas beyond reading his books and essays."

Year 9 students Connie and Izzy are members of the RS and Philosophy club “Thinking Allowed”. Below, they outline the Year 9 lecture:

World Philosophy Day"Professor Blackburn gave an inspiring and thought-provoking lecture on the main themes of philosophy, including the free will debate. This allowed us to gain insight into the interesting world of philosophical debate and discussion.

Whilst challenging our intellect with complex ideas, Professor Blackburn enabled us to develop a new way of thinking and introduced us to the importance of philosophical inquiry in everyday life. We realised we should not ignore philosophical questions, even though we may not have the answers; the lecture opened our eyes to higher levels of thinking and questioning. A particular highlight for us was the chance to ask questions of Professor Blackburn. Ordinarily, we only examine such issues with our friends, family and teachers and so discussing our views with an eminent philosopher was a real privilege."

The celebrations continued over lunch, where students were treated to a philosophical menu and engaged in debates prompted by questions such as ‘What is beauty?’ and ‘Can God create a rock that is too heavy for Him to lift?’.

World Philosophy Day MenuWorld Philosophy Day Lunch

The celebrations ended with a whole school Kahoot!, with questions such as ‘Who famously said ‘I think therefore I am’?’ and ‘What does the cosmological argument seek to prove?’.

It really encouraged everyone in the Foundation to ask deep questions about concepts that we would not normally challenge so directly. It was an enlightening day all round!