No certainty without enquiry: Meriden’s Philosopher-in-Residence asks students to think more deeply

21 February 2019

How do you know what’s real? What tests can we apply to truth? Can a law ever be just, yet unfair? These are some of the questions posed to students by Meriden’s 2019 Philosopher-in-Residence, Dr Tim Dean.

The eminent philosopher and science writer kicked off his inaugural lecture series with interactive sessions on truth, justice and ethics, major concepts that underpin ideas the girls are currently studying.

Mrs Priscilla Curran, Coordinator of Learning Link – Research and Critical Thinking, said Dr Dean’s workshops allowed students to apply important philosophical questions to their own lives and studies.

“The purpose of Meriden’s Philosopher-in-Residence is to promote a culture of philosophical enquiry and critical thinking throughout the school,” she said.

“This gives the girls an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of, and engagement with, syllabus concepts, but it also models the way in which they can think about the world with both reason and empathy –  an essential skill in their toolkit for life as community-minded citizens.”

The Philosopher-in-Residence post joins Meriden’s Physicist-in-Residence as a means of ensuring students have direct access to outstanding academics who are passionate about, and expert in, their disciplines. The initiative is part of Meriden’s Lateral Learning framework, which focuses on providing girls with skills that will equip them for a future of diverse possibilities. Lateral Learning is embedded into the everyday teaching of classes and Meriden’s resident Philosopher and Physicist build on the work done by the School’s dedicated teachers and Lateral Learning team, who focus on developing the girls in STEM, innovative technologies, research and critical thinking, speech and making global connections.

Meriden’s Philosopher-in-Residence, Dr Tim Dean, has a PhD from the University of New South Wales. His areas of expertise include the philosophy of biology, the philosophy of science and moral psychology. He is an Honorary Associate in the Philosophy department at the University of Sydney. In 2015, he won the Australasian Association of Philosophy Media Professionals' Award for his writing on philosophy in New Philosopher, Acuity Magazine, Cosmos and other publications. He is involved with the NSW and Australasian Philosothons and the NSW Philosophy in Schools Association.