The University of Aberdeen Philosophy Department aims to involve broader audiences in the collaborative methodology of philosophical inquiry in order to allow the proven benefits of pursuing philosophical reflection to reach beyond academic circles. Click on the tabs below to learn more about the current initiatives pursued by the department.
Please contact Dr Federico Luzzi with any queries about our Outreach programme initiatives.
- Aberdeen Philosophy in Education Group (APEG)
The Aberdeen Philosophy in Education Group (APEG) trains volunteer Philosophy students to facilitate classroom discussion of philosophical questions among pupils in primary and secondary schools. It is the only programme of this kind in Scotland.
Research shows that pupils who take part in group discussion of philosophical questions improve their IQ, their self-confidence and their listening and concentration skills.
Since launching in October 2014, several dozen Philosophy students have undergone APEG’s 8-week training programme. Students began facilitating discussions in classes at Robert Gordon’s College secondary school and St Peter’s primary school in March 2015.
APEG is directed by Dr Federico Luzzi and is generously supported by the Royal Institute of Philosophy.
‘I am really happy to have the opportunity to work with APEG and to be able to present philosophy to a younger generation who would otherwise not have the chance to experience it first hand until an advanced stage of learning.’ Paul Ferrier, 3rd year Philosophy student
‘I think APEG is a great idea to get students engaged with philosophy in a different way than the usual philosophy degree would. It has allowed me to feel much more involved in the philosophy department as well as with students from other years of study who I otherwise wouldn't have met.’ Miriam Harrold, 3rd year student
‘APEG has been one of—if not the—most satisfying and enriching experiences of my University education. As a philosophy student one is used to a number of questions such as "is there any point to philosophy?" Well, through Apeg we are promoting critical thinking and reasoning in young people and transforming university students into balanced and confident public speakers.’ Tom Flint, 2nd year student
'Having philosophy students coming in has been a fantastic experience for the students at Robert Gordon's College. They have had their assumptions revealed and challenged through stimulating thought problems, Socratic questioning and vigorous discussion. I hope this programme will continue as it is mutually beneficial to both the RGC students and those who come to teach them.' Kenneth Primrose, RMPS Head Teacher, Robert Gordon's College
The first students trained by the Aberdeen Philosophy in Education Group (APEG) began their classroom experience in March 2015, working with S5 pupils in Robert Gordon's College.
APEG trains volunteer Philosophy students to facilitate classroom discussion of philosophical questions among pupils in primary and secondary schools. It is the only programme of this kind in Scotland.
Since launching in October 2014, 21 students have undergone APEG’s 8-week training programme.
Tom Flint, a second-year MA Mental Philosophy student, and the first APEG-trained student to work with pupils, said: 'APEG has been one of if not the most satisfying and enriching experiences of my University education. Through APEG we are promoting critical thinking and reasoning in young people and transforming university students into balanced and confident public speakers.'
'Having philosophy students coming in has been a fantastic experience for the students at Robert Gordon's College.' said Kenny Primrose, Head of Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies at Robert Gordon's College. 'They have had their assumptions revealed and challenged through stimulating thought problems, Socratic questioning and vigorous discussion. I hope this programme will continue as it is mutually beneficial to both the RGC students and those who come to teach them.'
APEG is directed by Dr Federico Luzzi.
- Philosophy with Children CPD-accredited teacher training course
Dr Federico Luzzi runs the established Philosophy with Children CPD teacher training course for primary and secondary school teachers interested in understanding how discussion of philosophical questions can be usefully integrated in their teaching curriculum. This course, which runs biannually, has trained over 100 teachers since its launch in Nov 2012.
Feedback from teachers who took this course:
‘Thoroughly enjoyed the day. Relevant with practical advice and guidelines that can be taken back to school and implemented.’
‘A thoroughly enjoyable and productive in-service, great to be surrounded by positivity.’
‘I thought the whole day was incredibly informative and helpful and can see this really working well with my class. I feel that this approach will hugely benefit them across the curriculum.’
‘Thank you for a most informative and practical CPD. A session that inspired and sparked thoughts – very keen to start using and enabling children to be thinkers!’
‘Outstanding in-service day.’
‘Thought it was fantastic!’
‘I found the entire structure to be very useful and easy to follow. It was well thought out and delivered.’
‘The course was very practical and equipped us with real strategies to use in the classroom.’
‘Very interesting course. It’s the first I have thoroughly enjoyed in a long time. Didn’t look at my watch once – thank you.’
‘Great CPD event, well worth the money, lots of ideas to take back to the school.’
- Royal Institute of Philosophy Public Lecture
The annual Public Lecture takes place at the Belmont Filmhouse and is accompanied by a film screening. The event is generously sponsored by the Royal Institute of Philosophy
2022 Professor John Danaher, ‘Will the Rise of Artificial Intelligence Change Our Moral Culture?’
2019 Professor Helen Frowe, ‘Confederates, Rhodes and Honour: Obligations to Remove Cultural Artifacts’. Film: ‘The Silence of Others’
2018 Prof David Papineau, ‘Team Reasoning’. Film: ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (1960)
2017 Elizabeth Barnes, ‘Disability and the Good Life’. Film: ‘Me Before You’
2016 Laurie Paul, ‘Transformative Experience’. Film: ‘What We Do in the Shadows’
2015 Phillip Ebert, Guy Robertson and Simon Robertson, ‘Mountaineering and Risk’. Film: ‘Touching the Void’
2014 Roy Cook, ‘Where Does Scott Pilgrim Live? Fictional Truth and Metafiction’ Film: ‘Scott Pilgrim Vs The World’
2013 Jennifer Saul, ‘Implicit Bias Against Women’. Film: ‘Legally Blonde’
2012 David Chalmers, ‘The Matrix as Metaphysics’. Film: ‘The Matrix’
- Public Engagement
The following public engagement events have been recently led or organised by members of staff of the Philosophy Department:
Spinoza on human life and society (Beth Lord), Royal Institute of Philosophy public lecture, Oxford, February 2019
Understanding the self: a functional psychology perspective (Sheila Cunnigham) 26 May 2019, part of Stephan Torre’s What’s So Special About First-Person Thought? Leverhulme-funded project.
‘Implicit Bias in the Classroom and Beyond’ (Federico Luzzi), PhilosophyCafe, Portlethen Academy, 6 December 2019
Robots Who Know Themselves (Mark Sprevak), May Festival, 25 May 2018
Doing Science with Metaphors (Ulrich Stegmann), May Festival, 27 May 2018
Hay of Seaton Memorial Talk - Spinoza (Beth Lord), May Festival, 27 May 2018
'Should Female Footballers Play with Male Footballers?' (Federico Luzzi), PhilosophyCafé, Mearns Academy, Laurencekirk, 22 June 2018
- Royal Institute of Philosophy ‘Philosophy in Schools’ programme
The department has been taking part in the Royal Institute of Philosophy ‘Philosophy in Schools’ programme since 2011.
See the Royal Institute of Philosophy webpage for further details about this programme.
- Past Initiatives
In 2014 Dr Federico Luzzi was invited to speak at the Scottish Parliament on the value of philosophy as part of the ‘Time for Reflection’ series. Click here to view his speech.
Philosophy in Schools
Collaborations between the Philosophy Department and partner schools have standardly taken the form of weekly engagement with one class over a period of 12 weeks. These collaborations took place with
- St Peter’s Primary School: One P5 class (2012), one P3 class (2013) and one P7 class (2015)
- Sunnybank Primary school: One P4/P5 class (2013).
- Robert Gordon’s College (Royal Institute of Philosophy scheme): various S4/S5 classes (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
- Albyn School (Royal Institute of Philosophy Scheme): S4/S5 classes (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
In 2012 Dr Federico Luzzi and Dr Aidan McGlynn secured funding to produce and develop The 10-Minute Puzzle, a podcast series dedicated to central problems of contemporary philosophy. Twelve episodes were produced and the series was well-received.
Between 2012 and 2014, Dr Federico Luzzi developed the Philosophers on Film series of interviews with visiting speakers.
Social responsibility: HM Prison Aberdeen and AberdeenFoyer Lifeshapers
In 2012 and 2013, the department collaborated with HM Prison Aberdeen in the delivery of two 6-week Philosophy course.
In 2012 and 2013. The department collaborated with AberdeenFoyer to offer unemployed and homeless youths three 6-week Philosophy courses as part of their Lifeshapers programme.