It’s been quite a while since I last ran our philosophy club. Current global events have curtailed normal operations of our clubs and societies over the past year but this term I experimented with special weekend gatherings for the boarders called ‘Philosophy Nights’.
The idea was to introduce the basic ideas of philosophy and the rules of engagement. I lead with the Socratic method in that I would question the students’ views, to prod and probe them into thinking deeper about their opinions on the big questions that face us.
Philosophy is ‘the love of wisdom’ and deals with questions that don’t always have a direct or clear cut answer. It exposes our lazy thinking and assumptions, posing the question ‘why?’ rather than the ‘how?’ of science.
We discussed, among other topics, the essence of the self – what makes us, us; what would happen if we found life beyond the Earth; is there a God; are there such things as ghosts; do we have free will; is war inevitable and is it sometimes right to break the law?
Having well-formed thought-through opinions that can be expressed clearly is a valuable thing to have. Perhaps one day soon we can once again open the doors of Fyling Hall’s Philosophical Society to more members and more questions.
I feel like becoming familiar with philosophy early on in life might prevent some deeper existential crises when you’re a teenager/young adult… which sometimes spiral down into severe mental health issues. Perhaps teaching philosophy is a good way to teach how to cope with these ‘unanswered questions’ in a healthy way. That’s a very very good idea!