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.
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.
8th June 2020
English don, Richard Stillman reflects on the protests sweeping the United States and United Kingdom, what we might do to educate ourselves, and how this might help make a difference.
1st June 2020
In our latest Thought for the Week, Dr Jamie Barron notes that the COVID-19 crisis has brought scientists into the spotlight, but that science by its nature sits uncomfortably with the world of the sound-bite.
21st May 2020
Looking ahead to the next Treasury exhibition, Dr Griffin considers the work of Sir Thomas Browne (OW), a physician renowned for his close observation of nature.
11th May 2020
As he sets off on his own creative sabbatical, Malcolm recommends exploring one's own creativity, and spending time in nature, as a balm for life, beyond the present circumstances.
10th May 2020
In this article, Mr Ben Gould, Economics don explores how the pandemic might impact economic recovery.