Gifted and Talented Conference

May 18, 2016 at 9:23 AM

With thanks to Year 11 student reporter, Natalya Trombitas

If my body can exist without my ‘mind’, can my ‘mind’ exist without my body?

A group of students from Year 11 were fortunate to attend a Senior Gifted Programme Conference held at Saint Cuthbert’s School last Thursday. The day was filled with five sessions, all of them investigating different philosophical ideas. 

The first session by Julie Arliss looked at the different foundations of knowledge. Philosophers each had different beliefs as to what these foundations were. The three foundations included Empiricism (the view that all knowledge comes from truths obtained from experience), Rationalism (the view that knowledge is ideas that happen before experience) and Coherentism (the belief that knowledge has no foundation). 

Jeffery Hodges, started his presentation with the question ‘What do I believe?’ This was a particularly interesting session that viewed self-image and beliefs in depth. These ideas give true explanation to the quote, ‘Your body can withstand anything. It’s your mind that you have to convince.’ To say the least, this session was possibly the most inspirational.

The next two sessions were presented by Julie Arliss, the first focussing on whether the self exists. Some philosophers believed that the self was an illusion, which then initiated the question of what exactly maintained the illusion, if it was one. This also raised the questions, ‘if my body can exist without my ‘mind’ can my ‘mind’ exist without my body?’ and ‘where do I go when I am asleep?’ Her final session focused on the idea of moral value and how it could be influenced by emotions even though it is founded on facts. We also learnt the golden rule of moral value: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’

‘The existence of God can be known’ was the debate that brought the conference to a close and it was fascinating to hear the viewpoints of other students on the subject.

Overall, it was a wonderful experience that each of us thoroughly enjoyed because it opened our minds and made us explore complex ideas that related back to a philosophical context.

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