Part of my day job in education includes supporting students applying to Oxford and Cambridge universities. They’re both world-class, very competitive institutions. It’s a daunting task at the best of time and is perhaps toughest for the PPE applicants.
PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) is a demanding course that requires students to engage with three tough disciplines. Of the three, it is philosophy that typically presents the greatest challenge for applicants, as few of them have encountered it before. These students are used to plowing through content faster than their peers. …
In January 2019, a family in southern Spain was subject to a nightmare scenario. During a family walk near Malaga, two-year-old Julen Rosseló fell 71 meters down a 25cm-wide borehole. He didn’t survive, and it took thirteen days for rescuers to recover his body. Later it was revealed the borehole had been dug illegally.
At the time, my own daughter was the same age, which led me to follow the story with a growing sense of horror and disbelief that such things could be allowed to happen. It seems absurd that something so truly awful could happen to anyone, let…
I remember sitting in my grandfather’s car a few years ago in a gray car park. I was in the second year of my undergraduate philosophy degree, and we were discussing careers. As an engineer and a thoroughly practical man, he wasn’t convinced of the merits of my degree choice.
“But what can you do with philosophy, Gem?” he asked me. “What has philosophy ever achieved?”
I doubt meeting Professor Markus Gabriel would do much to change his impression of the subject.
What do you say to people whose beliefs fly the face of overwhelming evidence? Last week, Washington D.C erupted into violence as mobs of violent Trump supporters stormed the seat of the American government.
Ostensibly they did this because they believe the 2020 Presidential election was stolen.
On January 2nd, Ted Cruz and a number of other Republican Senators released a joint statement challenging the election result on the basis of ‘allegations of voter fraud, violations and lax enforcement of election law, and other voting irregularities’.
A teaching colleague I once worked with was known to turn up to lessons hungover. He didn’t do a great job of hiding it. Student’s essays would be unmarked for months on end, resources were minimal, and the course jumped around erratically.
The weird thing was, it didn’t seem to matter. I knew about it because I worked closely with him, teaching the same subject. Around college, he had a great reputation and his students were fiercely loyal to him because in the classroom, he was a great teacher.
It turns out, if you’re great at something, you can get…
In ten years of teaching philosophy and watching the internet grow exponentially, I’ve come to believe that finding good, accessible philosophy online is tough.
The basic reason why is because philosophy can mean two things. On the one hand, it refers to the academic discipline concerned with the fundamentals of reality, existence, and life. On the other hand, it refers to any general theory or attitude people use as a guide in life.
The specific tools, tricks and software I used to make a pro-looking book cover without spending a dollar
It is possible to create a great book cover without hiring a professional, free-software or dropping piles of cash.
One of the first “rules” we come across when looking to self-publish is that writers should never design their own covers. There are lots of good reasons for this, I can’t deny that, yet there are also a bunch of good reasons why a writer might decide to do it themselves.
For a start, some people like creative control over all elements of…
Communities tell us what they really believe through how they dispose of their dead.
When my cousin died a few years ago, we marked the occasion by singing Culture Club’s Karma Chameleon in the chapel of a local crematorium. It was perhaps the strangest and sweetest thing I’ve experienced at a funeral. The vicar played the song at the end of the service, using a cheap, tinny-sounding portable CD player. Out of nowhere, someone started singing along and within seconds, everyone had joined in. It was a joyous rendition, filled with love for a life lost too soon.
This insane arrangement has to end sometime
Prince Philip has died, and the UK is in the midst of eight days of national mourning.
It seems a good time to reflect on the monarchy. It’s sad that Philip died. Well, as sad as the death of any other 99-year-old man. Just about the only impact he had on my life, or anyone else I know, is through the outdoor pursuits of the Duke of Edinburgh Award taken by students in schools. It’s a nice initiative.
Free speech sits on the boundary where theory meets reality.
Too often philosophy and ethics focus on hypothetical problems at the expense of the issues that matter most to people. Free speech is a great example of this, sitting as it does on the fault line where moral theory meets the legalities of the real world.
Arguments around free speech exist like wildfire; not as a single cohesive debate, but as hundreds of individual clashes burning across society. Recently, the flames were fanned in the small, northern UK town of Batley. …
Writer and educator in law and philosophy. Also wrote a book.