To whom, or what, are you grateful when you say thank you?

By our Guest Blogger: Mark Vernon. Author of The Big Questions: God

I remember once hearing an atheist describe how they were ‘grateful that an indifferent universe conspired to give me life.’ I knew what he meant. But it raises a big question: grateful to what or whom?


Posted by Marc Peter on 13th May 2012 at 12:00am

Category: Guest Blogger

Believers should be glad that proofs for God don’t work

The so-called proofs for the existence of God are widely thought to fail.

Philosophers point out that there is no need for an ‘unmoved mover’, to use Aristotle’s phrase, because modern physics teaches us that motion is natural to matter, not stasis. Alternatively, the ontological argument comes to look like a conjuring trick with words: it is no more the case that God needs to exist because God’s imagined greatness demands it, than it is the case that a perfect island needs to exist because it is described as perfect. Both might be fantasy.

By our Guest Blogger: Mark VernonThe Big Questions: God

Posted by on 21st April 2012 at 12:00am

Category: Guest Blogger

Tags: God, philosophy, Belief

What is Religion


Mark Vernon on religion

One day, a philosopher was asked to define religion. His answer needed to be definitive, precise – the kind of formula that would satisfy lawyers, or the atheists of his day who sought a clear target at which to aim their critique.

The philosopher was a wise soul and so immediately begged for some time. That period elapsed, and he appeared again. But he didn’t have an answer. Instead, he asked for more time. That period passed too, and he asked for more. And then more. And more.

The people became irritated, annoyed. “If you can’t find an answer,” they muttered impatiently, “then why keep on asking?” “But don’t you see?” he replied, and wandered off alone.

This parable, or one a bit like it, is told by the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. It’s one way of saying that doubt is at the heart of the phenomenon we call religion, not certainty.

Posted by Philosophy Foundation Admin on 9th April 2012 at 12:00am

Category: Guest Blogger

Tags: Mark Vernon, Religion, philosophy

Good Thinking vs the Right Answer

Necker Cube

Here’s a question for you. Imagine a teacher asks this question: “what does 2 + 2 equal?” and child A responds with, “four, because its my lucky number,” but child B counts along the number line but makes a small error and says, “five.” Which would you consider to be the better answer and why? I was leading a staff meeting where a debate ensued following this question about the importance of understanding when giving the right answer...

Posted by Philosophy Foundation Admin on 9th March 2012 at 12:00am

Category: Education

Tags: Socrates, philosophy, good thinking, SATs, testing

Philosophy with Children on the Philosophy Now Radio Show

Pencil Person

Primary school philosophy live on the Philosophy Now radio show, with children from All Saints School, Blackheath, Years 4-6 (ages 8-10). Run by Peter Worley, interviewed by Grant Bartley from Philosophy Now.

Available to listen to here: Philosophy with Children

This paper was written to aid our trainees, but also give insight into some of our techniques for doing P4C.

Posted by Philosophy Foundation Admin on 12th February 2012 at 12:00am

Category: Philosophy, P4C

Tags: P4C, philosophy in schools, philosophy for children, philosophy now, Peter Worley