Meriden’s 2018/19 Philosothon team has reaped the rewards of honing their critical thinking skills. The students demonstrated their abilities to examine complex ethical quandaries at the Australasian Philosothon in Canberra, where Jacinta Rees, Year 8, and Liyang Yu, Year 10, won first and second places, respectively, in their age groups.
The Meriden team included Wanning Cai, Adele Dang, Ananya Deshpande, Jemima Loane, Vernica Mehta, Jacinta Rees, Juna Suh and Liyang Yu. The girls were invited to partake in this event after placing second in the NSW Philosothon in 2018.
An essential component of a Philosothon is the “Community of Inquiry”. In Community of Inquiry discussions, students develop their own questions based on a range of stimuli and then seek to engage in a meaningful and respectful exchange of ideas in order to form a conclusion based on solid reasoning. Some questions the Meriden team considered this year included: “Is free will an illusion? If we do have free will, to what extent are our actions truly free?” and “What makes a society fair? Can equality and freedom coexist?”
Jacinta Rees said attending the national Philosothon was an enjoyable experience.
“It was fun to meet new people from all over Australia and to hear different viewpoints on the discussion topics,” Jacinta said.
“The event encourages critical thinking and forces you to logically back up your position on each topic. We are also required to learn how to have civilised discussions where we listen to, and acknowledge, others’ opinions, even when they are different to our own.”
Liyang Yu said the Philosothon laid the foundation for young people to become leaders and socially responsible adults.
“I believe philosophy is one of the core areas an informed citizen needs to be aware of; it offers a rich history of thought on birth and death and everything in between,” Liyang said.
“I believe being exposed to philosophy will make us kinder and more engaged citizens through the discipline’s focus on considered discussion and intellectual humility and in the way it challenges us to think critically about issues but communicate in a respectful manner. These skills are important to young people who want their voices to be heard out in the world.”
The School is proud of the Philosothon team which spent months training diligently for the national event. The students demonstrated that they will be moving through the world with care, thinking deeply about ideas and issues and treating others with empathy and respect.