The end of last term saw the conclusion of an eight-week programme for Sixth Form Philosophy students delivered remotely by Professor Ned Hall, the Chair of Philosophy at Harvard University, on philosophical logic and ‘The Art of the Argument’.
This exciting project made Philosophy students Harvard Undergraduates (albeit for one module) with access to the Harvard system, and all of the lectures, readings and questions that lie therein. Students learned how to critically examine the logical structure of day-to-day news stories and media, and how to map arguments effectively. They were encouraged to really think about the views that we each held, and to challenge the reasoning behind our own opinions. Jessie and Phoebe gave us the lowdown on the project:
‘Learning to separate rhetoric and logic was not only useful from a philosophical point of view, and invaluable for those of us going on to study the subject at higher education, but many of us felt afterwards that our own argumentative skills had improved, much to our parents’ chagrin! Alongside fruitful, challenging and engaging discussions about all things logical, we would leave each session with our ‘brains aching’ from our attempts at tackling several brutal logic puzzles involving lying knaves, truth-telling knights and other figures of logical mastery. Although facing these puzzles seemed daunting at first, we came to relish the academic challenge and immense satisfaction of logic. We ended our journey with Professor Hall by participating in our very own ‘Logic-palooza’ whereby we each had the chance to create our own logic puzzle using the skills and tricks that we had been taught along the way and to attempt to tackle the puzzles our peers had produced.’
The girls were struck by Professor Hall’s generosity, enthusiasm and flare for the subject, and every student finished the project with a growing passion for philosophy and language of logic.