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insight4me Philosophy: Soul-Mind-Body – Curriculum Insights – with University of East Anglia and The University of Sheffield

20th March 2019 @ 14:00 - 15:00




insight4me is a series of subject specific webinars for current Year 12/Year 13 students. The sessions support students’ current studies by giving an insight into particular curriculum areas whilst affording students the opportunity to talk to different universities and make informed comparisons about how Philosophy is taught.

In this insight4me Philosophy webinar for schools and colleges, two universities, including The University of Sheffield and University of East Anglia (UEA), will have roughly 30 minutes to deliver a punchy, topic based ‘micro’ talk. Within an overall session theme of Soul-Mind-Body, the universities have the freedom to choose their own topic, a topic that links to the A Level curriculum, and use the time to convey the key points of the discussion/debate for the Year 12/Year 13 students. Through the discussion, the universities are encouraged to provide an insight into the teaching and learning experience of this topic at university, and compare and contrast how other subject areas across the Philosophy spectrum might be treated. Students will gain an insight into how these subjects continue beyond the A-level curriculum.

By hearing from 2 unis, students will also appreciate how the further study of Philosophy can vary between institutions, contributing to the depth of their HE research and assisting informed decision making.

Full details of the universities and the topics are below:

  • University of East Anglia: Dr Davide Rizza will present The Soul and Its Twin in Oriental Wisdom (ḥikmat mashriqīya) Our ideas about the soul and its relation to the body and mind come from antiquity. They were extensively articulated by Plato and discussed in his school, the Academy. It is little known that some members of the Academy came from Persia and that Plato and his friends had a keen interest in Persian ideas concerning the purification of the soul. We shall trace this interest back to its Persian source in the religion of Zarathushtra — revolving around the relation of each soul to its Celestial Twin — and then pursue it forward in time to look at its recovery in the context of Islamic mysticism.
  • The University of Sheffield: Dr Luca Barlassina will present Mental Mechanisms: How Materialists Can Answer Descartes’ Challenge René Descartes (1596–1650) argued that everything in the universe (from particles to planets, from plants to the human body) admits of a mechanistic explanation, with one glaring exception: the human capacity for thought. According to him, such a capacity is in fact unbounded—it is always possible to produce novel thoughts—and no physical mechanism can account for this. On this basis, he concluded that our thoughts don’t depend on our physical make-up—e.g., on our brains—but are rather expression of the creative and free activity of an immaterial mind. In this talk, I will argue that materialists shouldn’t be worried by Descartes’ challenge. By drawing upon results from logic and cognitive science, I will in fact show that there is nothing problematic in the idea of unbounded physical mechanism.

Students will have the chance to question each speaker and/or offer their own ideas.

This will be a dynamic, fast paced event with the universities cycling between 3 different virtual rooms. The universities will decide how to manage the time but a rough guide would be a 10-12 minute talk followed by questions from the schools.

Suitable for: Year 12 and 13 students studying, or with a possible interest in studying, Philosophy/Religious Studies.

Preparation/Pre-Reading: Students may wish to consider the 3 topics and discuss some of the key elements in advance. Students can also think about questions they have about studying Philosophy at university level.

The IT Setup: The setup is similar to Skype, using a pc and webcam, although students take part as a group with the image projected on a whiteboard rather than as individuals in front of lots of pcs. Dedicated videoconferencing equipment is also compatible if available to the school. We will work with your IT department to ensure everything is set up and working prior to the event. The sessions are generally limited to 3 to 5 schools to maintain the interactive nature of the experience. In this event there will be three groups of schools taking part increasing the opportunity to participate.

Booking a Place: This is free for schools and colleges. If you have a group of students that you would like to take part in this event, please click here 

Subject to availability we will book a place for you.


20th March 2019
14:00 - 15:00
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