A day exploring Philosophy at Cambridge University

Three year 12 students interested in studying a Philosophy degree were nominated to attend a Philosophy enrichment day at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.

On the morning of Monday 25th March, Ayesha, Katy and I made the rather long trip up to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge for a philosophy masterclass. After a scenic, if not slightly hectic, train journey through the mysterious area of “North of London” and a brisk walk from the station, we arrived to tea and biscuits at McCrum Lecture Theatre.

Though the day also featured a tour of the college on a lovely spring day and a presentation on Oxbridge UCAS applications, the focus laid with three engaging, hour-long lectures given by professors of philosophy – including the department head at Corpus Christi.

The first talk was an accessible look at why taking the time to examine even seemingly stupid and probably false claims – namely that the Earth is flat – can result in important and interesting discussions about how we develop and support our beliefs.

The next served as a fascinating, though quite dense, introduction to the philosophy of numbers – and the basic contradictions encountered when trying to define them. Reminiscent of recent TOK lessons, this lecture made us think hard about proving knowledge.

Our final head-scratching session revolved, again, around questioning basic intuitions: why death is harmful. Here the lecturer led us through some classical philosophy and its modern responses, using thought-experiments to captivate the whole room in discussion.

Overall, we found the day was really helpful, giving insight as to the breadth found studying philosophy post-IB, and aiding us to think more critically in future lessons.

By Harry, Year 12