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Freedom: Year 12 Politics and Philosophy taster day

Wed 22 June 2016

09:30 - 15:30

partner University of Reading, suitable Year 12, type Subject Taster

partner University of Reading, suitable Year 12, type Subject Taster

University of Reading, Whiteknights Campus

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This is an opportunity for sixth-formers to sample university teaching on Philosophy and Politics/International Relations. There will be three lectures, the last of which will be followed by a seminar on the same topic. There will also be an opportunity to meet and talk with lecturers and current students at the University.

The lectures will introduce key topics in an accessible way, giving a taste of both the style of teaching and the kinds of topics that are studied as part of Philosophy and/or Politics degrees. The seminar will follow up on the Politics lecture, and give pupils a chance to discuss the issues guided current staff and students. Seminar teaching is an important part of university teaching, especially in discursive/argumentative disciplines such as Philosophy and Politics.

What is it to be free?

Existentialists like Sartre and Camus maintain that our freedom is such that we create our values, and that adherence to these self-created values gives meaning to our lives. This lecture argues that we do not have the power to create values at will, and that a good life is largely constituted by success in pursuit of objectively valuable goals. This is all consistent with our freedom.

Free and Equal?

This lecture discusses the different views of the connection or conflict between freedom and equality. It looks at Nozick's "liberty upsets patterns" claim, Marx/Cohen arguments that freedom requires equality, and Kant's argument that its not freedom that we ought to defend but equal freedom.

Democracy, Sovereignty, and the European Union

What is sovereignty, and what is its link to democracy? Do the people of a multi-national state like the UK necessarily lose sovereignty if they are part of a larger multi-state body like the European Union? This lecture will examine the idea of sovereign power, and the way in democracies it is thought to rest, ultimately, with all citizens. The question is then posed as to whether sovereignty is lost if the pool of voters is increased to include multiple states, or if it could be maintained if democratic accountability can be maintained in the larger Union.

This event is free of charge but places are limited so we advise early booking. We accept bookings from school groups ( with or without teachers) and individuals.  Please complete the relevant application below:

School groups please email