My top 5 non-technical books on Philosophy:
1. Anger and Forgiveness by Martha Nussbaum
This book is absolutely fantastic: it deals with everyday familiar issues, such as anger, and forces the reader to look at the whole concept in an utterly new light, and, ultimately, challenges them to change their lives for the better.
2. The Philosopher and the Wolf by Mark Rowlands
This is an extremely moving memoir about a philosopher and his pet wolf, Brenin. Along the way Rowlands teaches us titbits of philosophy, and forces us to reflect on issues in animal ethics, and the nature of our own humanity and personhood.
3. The Path: A New Way to Think About Everything by Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh
This book is a guide to life, curtesy of Confucius, Mencius, Zhuangzi, Laozi, etc. However, just because the philosophy is old, doesn't means it is out-dated: each of them offers profound and usable wisdom for today.
4. At the Existentialist Café by Sarah Bakewell
Bakewell provides a lively and stimulating biography of the existentialist philosophers and their ideas. She has a gift for explaining their complex ideas, and knows exactly when to bring in an anecdote or two to lighten the tone! A vivid picture of early twentieth century Europe.
5. The Dream of Enlightenment by Anthony Gottlieb
The enlightenment is one of the most interesting periods in the history of philosophy, with a rapidly changing world confronting thinkers. Gottlieb's biography really does the characters justice.
What can teachers learn from ancient Chinese philosophy?
In this mini-series I focus on ancient Chinese philosophy. I was inspired to write these blogs after reading The Path by Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh. I hope that you find them interesting.
I have recently completed my MA in Political Philosophy. The title of my dissertation was "Can fair distribution of resources be enjoyed by successive generations without infringing upon individuals' personal freedom?". I argue that the propagation of extreme wealth or poverty in family lines is inherently undesirable and I look at means of ensuring that there is meaningful distributive equality for each subsequent generation without devaluing liberal rights. Two thinkers have attempted to marry the ideas of liberalism and fair distribution of resources: John Rawls and Michael Otsuka, but in very different ways. Rawls is a sort of liberal-egalitarian, and Otsuka is a left-libertarian. In my thesis I advocate that neither position is successful in its aim to decouple wealth and inheritance in a meaningful way.
I have drawn on my background in political philosophy to teach Enrichment courses to Sixth Form students.
2017- 2018 Being Liberal
2018 - 2019 Feminism & Multiculturalism
Assemblies on Political Philosophy
I have given three assemblies on aspects of Political Philosophy which is my particular passion:
The first was the focus of a blog 'Using an assembly-story to get students thinking about political leadership and mercy', as it was my first assembly, and I reflected on how to keep students engaged in such a technical and abstract talk. (Slides available here.)
The third was for Dunhurst, the Bedales Prep school, on thought experiments surrounding the concept of equality. This was a highly interactive assembly (or JAW as it is known) and was my favourite to give so far. I'm really looking forward to heading over there again at some point to do a follow-up session.
I believe that studying the philosophical side of science is crucial to students having a rounded conception of the sciences, and also that it is an interesting subject to study in its own right. With that in mind, the projects I am working on at the moment are:
Developing a MOOC on History and Philosophy of Science for GCSE/A-Level students which is strongly linked to the subject content they learn at GCSE, but situates it in a historical context, and asks students to think much more deeply about the epistemology of what they have studied.
Developing a set of resources for teaching Chemistry which encourage teachers to ask more philosophical questions in their lessons, and promote deeper thinking from students, on a rich, contextual level.
Taking an MSc in Philosophy, Science and Religion at Edinburgh University to develop my own subject knowledge.