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Philosophy Society talk on climate change by Professor David Webb

Upper School Philosophy students were delighted to welcome Professor David Webb from Staffordshire University to address them at the first Philosophy Society meeting of the year.

Head of Religion and Philosophy, Megan Fairley tells us more:- 

"Professor Webb elected to speak on one of the most pressing issues of the 21st Century: climate change, and what our response to it should be.

After a brief outline of the history of human attitudes to the environment – a term he later rejected as it suggests that nature is something ‘other’ that we have no part in – he used the work of Michel Serres to argue that we need to rethink our understanding of nature, and our understanding of the relationship between politics, society, nature and science.

Professor Webb stated that we are currently seeing the global reaction to our localised attitude to the Earth and that we ought to start seeing the Earth as ‘global partner’ with whom we can engage in a new ‘natural contract’, akin to the ‘social contract’ which philosophers such as Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau have claimed we make with each other in order to survive in society. Professor Webb ended his engaging lecture with a call for cultural change: for us to re-examine the humanities and the sciences as subsets of one another, rather than distinct fields of study, and to consider the way we connect and communicate with nature.

Form 6 & 7 students at Oakham can choose to study Philosophy as either a Pre-U or as part of the IB Diploma, and Professor Webb’s talk touched on many aspects of both courses from political and moral philosophy, to epistemology and metaphysics."

Olli (Clipsham F6) said, ‘Professor Webb offered some very intellectually stimulating views on climate change and society and I was particularly interested on his examination of how to talk about the environment’.

Saffie (Hambleton) adds, ‘It was a very interesting evening and I particularly enjoyed the fact that Professor Webb approached the topic from different angles so that we could discuss the key ideas with people from other courses. Our response to nature is a hugely relevant topic to today’s society and it was great to hear something so important related so clearly to what we study’. 

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