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Idea: The aim of the session is to try to provide an account of the conditions under which it can be said that we know something. A secondary, and more philosophical, aim of the session is to identify any children who think that providing an account of knowledge is harder than it might at first seem. This session is very improvisatory so w...

Ages: Ages 11-14 (KS3), Ages 7-11 (KS2)

Subjects: Epistemology

Themes: Perceiving, Knowledge, Induction, Evidence

Knowledge vs Beauty

Please refer to attached images (downloadable at bottom of this page) Looking Is this a colourful picture? Why is he naked? Is his body more like the rock to his left or the triangle to his right? How many objects are in this picture? What is the oldest thing in the picture? What is the youngest thing in the picture? Thin...

Ages: Ages 16-18 (KS5), Ages 14-16 (KS4), Ages 11-14 (KS3)

Subjects: Aesthetics

Themes: Knowledge, Beauty, Art

Larry David and the Glasses

Designed by Steven Campbell-Harris Starter Activity Play the following clip (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=T2yCmW0ARs0) up to 2:16 into the video. Stop the clip and ask the Task Question: should Larry pay for the glasses? Task questions: Who is responsible for the glasses? Whose fault is it that the glasses are broken? ...

Ages: Ages 16-18 (KS5), Ages 14-16 (KS4), Ages 11-14 (KS3)

Subjects: Ethics

Themes: Responsibility, Obligations, Fairness

Magic Beans

We are going to be talking about magic today. To start with, can you think of the most amazing magic trick you’ve seen? (what was amazing about it?) ‘Break the circle’ on magic   We’re now going to look at a story which may or may not have some magic in it. Stimulus One frosty weekend a scien...

Ages: Ages 16-18 (KS5), Ages 14-16 (KS4), Ages 11-14 (KS3), Ages 7-11 (KS2), Ages 5-7 (KS1)

Subjects: Epistemology

Themes: Knowledge


Stimulus Four hundred years ago, there was a town in Germany called Munster. In it, a new group of men were elected leaders. These men were very different from the ones who had governed the town before. They had been talking and planning amongst themselves and decided they would do things in a new way. One of the things they decided was tha...

Ages: Ages 16-18 (KS5), Ages 14-16 (KS4), Ages 11-14 (KS3)

Subjects: RE

Nobody's Home (The Cyclops)

Philosophy On first glance, this story appears to be the least yielding when it comes to finding philosophy for discussion. But take a closer look and the philosophy starts to materialise from nothing. I say 'materialise from nothing' because I have found the most successful philosophical discussion emerging from this session to be ab...

Ages: Ages 16-18 (KS5), Ages 14-16 (KS4), Ages 11-14 (KS3)

Subjects: Metaphysics

Themes: Sense and reference, Non-existent entities, Existence, Categories

Nomological Dangler

Nomological Dangler Some poems run out nicely And follow a simple pattern But others, they seem to stick out slightly With a little extra bit to them What sort of poem are you? Are you easy to predict? Or do you like to... Suddenly-do Things that don’t restric Your sideless imagination The random little sparkler That ma...

Ages: Ages 14-16 (KS4), Ages 11-14 (KS3), Ages 7-11 (KS2)

Subjects: English

Themes: Self, Personal identity, Identity, Existence, Choice


* This session uses a Pollock picture. There is one downloadable at the bottom or find your own image that would work! Looking Are there any objects in this painting? Are there emotions in this painting? Is there anything in this painting? Thinking Starter Question: Does this painting make sense? Q...

Ages: Ages 16-18 (KS5), Ages 14-16 (KS4), Ages 11-14 (KS3), Ages 7-11 (KS2)

Subjects: Aesthetics

Themes: Sense and reference, Logic, Language, Art

Of The Standard of Taste

Preparation: You will need up to eight portrait pictures (e.g. 2 Ruben's portraits, a Titian and a Memling for the first part and a Rubens, a Picasso, a grotesque and an abstract for the second) A couple of music stands to prop the pictures up. Stimulus Part 1 For the first activity, put up the four portraits. The task is to ...

Ages: Ages 11-14 (KS3), Ages 7-11 (KS2)

Subjects: Aesthetics

Themes: Value, Subjectivity, Beauty, Art

Olympics enquiry

Play this video to the class, first providing the following context: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9e6Cfq_YchM This is a clip of the 100m men’s final at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. The two fastest sprinters were Carl Lewis, an American sprinter, and his longtime rival, Canadian Ben Johnson [point out which lanes Johnson and Lewis are ...

Ages: Ages 14-16 (KS4), Ages 11-14 (KS3)

Subjects: Ethics