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07 February 2016

Special presentation to Collingham students

On Monday 1st February A level Philosophy and Religious Studies classes attended a talk at New College of the Humanities by AC Grayling, NCH’s founder. This was an event arranged especially for Collingham students, who greatly enjoyed the back-and-forth nature of the discussion with a leading public philosopher.

collingham presentation

In the course of a wide-ranging discussion, Professor Grayling touched on the question of what makes a good philosopher. He suggested that a tolerance for unanswered questions is something that pushes one in a certain direction in terms of one’s thinking. Moving to matters of ethics, Grayling argued that there is no ethical answer readily available to be picked up, and ethics is essentially a matter of mere choice. The students went on to engage him in discussion about the meaning of life in the light of all this, and debate con-tinued to be lively as we thought about what it means to know anything anyway.

AC Grayling remarked on how willing the group was to challenge and debate with him.

Michael Peat (Religious Studies and Philosophy)


A selection of the students’ comments can be found below:

“A unique kind of lecture in an inviting and warm environment” Ivan

“An informal but informational experience.” Isla

collingham presentation

Diana liked Grayling’s casual tossing out of philosophically provocative throwaway remarks.   “Stimulating discussion, good for understanding the value of debate among philosophers.”    “A good opportunity to be with a leading public philosopher of the day.”     “It affirmed the value of what we have been learning.” Zach.    

On the same evening a group of students attended a lecture by Richard Dawkins, also organised by NCH and entitled ‘Evolutionary Biology for Non-Scientists’. They were excited to have the opportunity after the lecture to meet Dawkins, whom they had long admired both for his seminal influence on his field and for his charismatic delivery.

Dr Margaret Smallman, Vice Principal



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