Decimus Society President: Mr Niall Lambkin
The Decimus Society is a forum for philosophical discussion and debate open by invitation to sixth formers. Parents, members of staff and interested members of the public are also very welcome to attend. Meetings are held in the Archive Room, Oswestry School.
There is no simple answer to the question "What is Philosophy?" and more than two and a half thousand years of philosophising has failed to reach a definitive or satisfactory answer. Nevertheless, Philosophy remains the most compelling of all academic disciplines because, despite our inability to define its field, we are drawn seductively into its arms by its abstract and ultimate character.
Please look around below for some papers discussed by previous meetings of the Decimus Society, or click on the read more button for a full introduction to the society.
Raskolnikov did not commit a crime; he is sure of this, there is no doubt in his mind. The circumstances of the act were bloody and unnaturally violent. At his feet lay the cloven, bloody bodies of the old pawnbroker and her pitiful sister, and in his hand he held the blood-drenched hatchet and watched the women’s lifeblood spread darkly across the floorboards of the miserably shabby apartment.
There is one area of human affairs where you would expect to find an enormous expenditure of energy being focussed on everything that is excellent about the human species; that is, an enormous expenditure of energy focussed on the understanding of Science and Art.
If Philosophy is to be of use (which in this modern philistine time means ‘practical use’) then the pursuit of wisdom must be seen to have tranformative power. From a political point of view transformative power can be a dangerous thing in the wrong hands and of course ‘wrong hands’ is defined as those belonging to individuals or groups who disagree with received wisdom - the latter being what governments dictate.
We as a civilization have a bloody history of war. Some of the most infamous being the First and Second World Wars, and the most recent being the war in Kosavo and the 'war on terrorism'.
1. How and for what purposes, if at all, war should be conducted has been considered in many traditions of thought throughout the ages. In the West, just war thinking has been heavily influenced by Christian teachings. Perhaps the single most important work in this classical tradition is St Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologicae, which has bequeathed to contemporary thought a remarkably robust philosophical structure with which to conceptualise 'just war'.
By N.F. Lambkin
Appearance and Reality, Error and Truth
Try to imagine the following: in a remote valley deep in the remoteness of remote Germania, there stands a building of unpalatable Gothic design – a building which emphasises, in a pre-Romantic fashion, all the heavy and crude boorishness associated by the Romans with the Goths.
Materialists present us with the rather stark picture of the human individual as a manifestation of purely ordered structure. It is fashionable to assert that the human individual is (as we have heard) an ordinary object - an object made of flesh and blood - made of essentially the same atomic material as other natural objects such as trees and oceans.
It was a philosopher named Nietzsche (1844-1900) who first coined the phrase, 'God is dead'. This statement was a very controversial one to make at the time and would remain to be a very controversial and blasphemous contention to many today.
In the middle of the eighteenth century, the Scottish philosopher David Hume wrote: ‘Beauty is no quality in things themselves: It exists merely in the mind which contemplates them.’
I suggest that a truly post-modernist mind - that is, a mind which wholly embraces the 'vision' of post-modernism - must be a rather dark and despairing place; an impossible place perhaps insofar as it strives to accept conditions which run contrary to the aspiration of achieving knowledge and truth.
In some not too distant future a war has been fought between human beings and the intelligent machines they created. The machines have won and now Earth is shrouded in perpetual darkness, the sun having been deliberately cut off by the humans in a vain effort to starve the machines of inexhaustible energy.
The appreciation of Art, and beauty in general, is all about the making of, debate about, and arguments for & against, various aesthetic judgments.
Flesh, Being Civilised and the Hierarchy of Experience
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- Flesh, Being Civilised and the Hierarchy of Experience
Abstract Intelligent Design has attracted both its supporters and denigrators. Behe's Darwin's Black Box has been a secular best seller.
"If the Nuremberg laws were applied today, then every post-war American president would have to be hanged."So observes Noam Chomsky, professor of Linguistics at M.I.T. and radical critic of American - and by implication European - domestic and foreign policy.
There was a point at which this universe burst into existence in a paroxysm of energy and over a period of billions of years cooled and condensed into its present form. In its present form it contains, in this region of space/time at least, a planet upon which lives and breathes at least one species of creature that conducts its activities in complex cultural dances and does so in a manner that is not easily described by the science it has developed to explain its physical existence and surroundings.