Warming the Cockles of my Philosophical Heart

Fresher’s Week is a busy time for anybody involved in a society at university – even though the mayhem of being a fresher is far behind me and neither fresh nor a novelty, it’s our job to make the members of our society feel as welcome as possible without boring them to tears (or extracting them from their beds in the midst of a hangover.)

Along with a few members of the faculty, the committee and I organised a mixer for the new bunch of beady-eyed freshers taking their first steps into a Philosophy degree. Some were shy, some were excited – one guy introduced himself to me as ‘Fam’, because his actual name is too difficult to pronounce, apparently. Safe one Fam. The mixer lasted two hours, and was organised in a speed-dating fashion: everyone in the room had a different philosophical question and while half the room stayed seated at individual desks, the other half moved around and had five-minute sessions discussing each other’s questions.

The funny thing about studying for a philosophy degree at my university is that absolutely no background knowledge on philosophy is required. With that in mind, the philosophical questions the faculty posed weren’t focused on specific theories or thinkers, but more broad and accessible to people without a clue (read as: more interesting) and some of them were actually quite thought-provoking!

Is anything in the world more valuable than human life? 

Does the knowledge that the human race will one day be destroyed, and the world reduced to nothingness, render our entire existence pointless? 

Is it better to live miserably but morally, or happily but immorally? 

The reason I like these sorts of questions is because they’re so engaging. Even if you haven’t given them much thought, you’ve probably got some sort of an opinion, and don’t need an extensive knowledge of the history of philosophy to share it (even approaching the final year of my degree, I still wouldn’t class my own knowledge of philosophy as ‘extensive’.)

I suppose more than anything this is just a post to get you thinking, although I might share my views on these discussions at some point. I’m still very much in the process of settling back into the cosy uni bubble and I’m loving every minute so far. I honestly feel as though I have two homes now – so, so corny, but true!

Until next time,

Emma x

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