The Wotton’s Society, Eton’s long-standing philosophy society, held its annual secretaries’ meeting last week, giving two Year 13 keepers a chance to present talks on areas of their own philosophical interest.

Hugo R W spoke first on the doctrine of Pantheism, the belief that “God is in all things, and all things are in God”. In the talk, he delineated his own theories as to why Spinoza’s Pantheistic account of God could rectify Christianity’s most pertinent philosophical challenges. He further reflected on the doctrine’s weaknesses, its early roots in Neo-Platonism, and its later adoption by 19th century German idealists. He ended the talk with a contemplation of how Pantheism might serve as a bridge between the modern tendency towards scientific empiricism and ancient theological tradition.

Alexander A then spoke on his own investigations into Schiller and Heidegger’s writings on aesthetics. Explaining the significance and precise meaning of German philosophical terminology, Alexander outlined the pair’s profound insights into the meaning and relationship of beauty and art throughout the ages. He even sought to answer the daunting question of “what is art?” and “how do we relate to it?”

The evening ended with a lively audience Q&A, where pupils were keen to test the mettle of these ideas for themselves.  The two distinct areas of expertise allowed for a thought-provoking foray into two very different branches of philosophy. Congratulations to the outgoing keepers!