A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to go for the second year in a row to Stowe with Mr Dunne, Head of Theology & Philosophy, to compete in their annual Philosothon. We won as a school last year and were hoping to do the same again. If you think that competitive philosophy sounds odd, you’re definitely not wrong. When we arrived, we headed straight into discussion groups about moral luck, the validity of external memory, concept representation and recognition, and the conflict between the virtues of rationality and democracy.
The wonderful thing about the Philosothon is that it values moving the conversation forward. Although it can sometimes seem forced to always ask ‘but what do you think’, it does involve everyone in the conversation and prevents people going head-to-head in exclusive and unwinnable arguments. Conclusions are difficult to reach, especially in philosophy, and the process of getting to them is made so much easier without people who only want to listen to what they are saying.
Even in a school where we do so much debating - we have at least two debates a week for all year groups and take part in maybe a dozen competitions a year – and are encouraged to fight for our strong opinions in Div, the Philosothon provides a useful reminder to step back from your opinions and seriously consider what other people are saying. These are really valuable skills and I’m glad we have such an engaging opportunity in which to learn them.
The people I met at the competition were fascinating and very clever and I certainly hope to see them again at the next competition. Of course it was wonderful to take home the cup for the second year in a row, particularly with several more schools competing this year.
20th October 2020
In the final instalment of our focus on Wordsworth, in this 250th anniversary year of his birth, we reveal a previously undiscovered treasure within the school's collection.
13th October 2020
The texts pupils study in Div, English and other lessons provide springboards for discussion about a range of topics. Ensuring there is content that is both diverse and international in outlook encourages depth of study and understanding.
9th October 2020
As the school considers how it celebrates the diversity of its community, Black History Month provides an opportunity to focus on how pupils are learning about different voices and cultures, and their inseparability from our "own" histories and experiences.
29th September 2020
To mark the 250th anniversary of the poet's birth, Fellows' Librarian Richard Foster explains the importance of one of the school's latest acquisitions.
19th September 2020
Science School has a diverse collection of fascinating objects, from an 18th-century microscope, fossils and taxidermy birds, to apparatus used to teach physics in the early 20th century. Twenty-four of the most interesting and unusual objects from the collection are now online.
26th June 2020
There is always something to celebrate at Winchester College and the last couple of years have been particularly full of significant anniversaries - the opening of the boarding houses and the conversion of Commoners into classrooms - and this summer sees the 150th anniversary of the opening of Moberly Library.