Philosophy Conference 2016 | Preshil
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By April 18, 2016 Blogs, Secondary Campus News

Preshil’s 3rd annual Philosophy conference, ‘The Art of Happiness in the Age of Consumption’ brings together students, teachers, academics and interested members of the public, to examine the nature of the good life within the context of contemporary consumer society. This one day conference is a wonderful opportunity to hear from internationally recognised thinkers and to engage in debate and discussion regarding issues that are not only relevant to the VCE Philosophy curriculum, but to anyone seeking to understand what it means to live a good life in today’s world.

DETAILS: Sunday, 31st July at the Village Roadshow Theatrette, State Library of Victoria.
TIME: 9.00am – 4.30pm
TICKETS: Please purchase from TRYBOOKING here:
PRICE: Adults at student prices $40, Students $40, Discounts apply for groups of 10 or more.

SPEAKERS: Announcing Dr Caroline WestProfessor Kate SoperMichael Leunig, Dr Samuel Alexander and Antonia Case.

FACILITATORS: The Philosophy Club
The Philosophy Club is an enterprise dedicated to sharing the creative freedom and critical rigour of philosophy with young people.  Its facilitators are trained in the method of collaborative philosophical enquiry which emphasises curiosity, open-mindedness and inclusivity. The Philosophy Club works with schools to train teachers and to introduce philosophy into the curriculum.

PROGRAM: Please follow this link for up to date information about the Program, Speakers and Curriculum Links visit our BlogSpot here. You can also read about last years here.

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Dr Lenny Robinson-McCarthy, our Host, has taught Philosophy at Preshil since 2001 and is the school’s International Baccalaureate Diploma Coordinator. Since establishing the VCE Philosophy program at the school she has also worked with the VCAA in the areas of VCE Philosophy curriculum development and assessment and, together with Anna Symes, written Victoria’s first VCE Philosophy textbooks. Lenny is a qualified Philosophy for Children educator who, under the auspices of VAPS, has designed and run workshops in Community of Inquiry for both primary and secondary school teachers.

Dr Caroline West is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Sydney.  Her research and teaching interests include; metaphysics (especially personal identity); ethics; political philosophy and the psychology of well-being and happiness; applied ethics and feminist philosophy.

Dr West will be speaking on Money, Happiness and the Good Life
In modern society, success is often measured in terms of income and wealth. But does money really buy happiness? How much should we care about money in comparison with other goods? Drawing on philosophical and empirical research, this talk critically examines the complex and often surprising connections between money and happiness in order to challenge some popular (Mis)conceptions about the relationship between material success and the good life.

Professor Kate Soper is a British philosopher and translator.  She has lectured at the University of Sussex and the London Metropolitan University (formerly the University of North London), where she taught both philosophy and critical theory.  She is a regular contributor to a number of radical philosophy journals and has written extensively on politics, philosophy and feminist issues.  Her research interests include; consumption theory, environmental philosophy, aesthetics and feminism.  She is the author of What is Nature? Culture, Politics and the Non-Human and Troubled Pleasures: Writings on Politics, Gender and Hedonism, and has co-edited the books The Politics and Pleasures of Consuming Differently and Citizenship and Consumption

Professor Soper will be speaking on:
‘The global economic system depends on continuous growth, which in turn depends on an ever-expanding human consumption.  But all the evidence suggests that expansion of this kind cannot hope to counter global warming and resource attrition.  And, in any case, does shopping really offer us more choice, or improve our well-being ?  My talk will challenge the image of the ‘good life’ that advertisers are so keen to promote, and open up a different perspective on the quality of happiness, and how to achieve it.’

Michael Leunig is an Australian cartoonist, writer, painter and poet. His commentary on political, cultural and emotional life spans more than forty years and has often explored the idea of an innocent and sacred personal world. The fragile ecosystem of human nature and its relationship to the wider natural world is a related and recurrent theme.

His newspaper work appears regularly in the Melbourne Age and the Sydney Morning Herald. He describes his approach as regressive, humorous, messy, mystical, primal and vaudevillian – producing work which is open to many interpretations and has been widely adopted in education, music, theatre, psychotherapy and spiritual life.

Michael Leunig will be speaking on:
… his own experience of happiness and joy as natural conditions of life, which like other precious aspects of nature, may be under pressure from human population increase and rampant consumerism. In a culture characterised by the high velocity of stimulus and experience, Michael will speculate as to whether humanity pays dearly for its addiction to excitement by overreaching its natural limitations and squandering its already fragile reserves of sanity.

Dr Samuel Alexander is a Research Fellow with the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute and a lecturer with the Office for Environmental Programs, University of Melbourne, where he teaches a course entitled ‘Consumerism and the Growth Economy: Interdisciplinary Perspectives’ in the Masters of Environment.  He is also the co-director of the Simplicity Institute, an education and research centre devoted to exploring ways to move beyond a growth-oriented, consumer model of living.

His research interests include the limits to growth; post-growth and degrowth economics; sustainable consumption; the social implications of climate change and peak oil, and transitions strategies.  His recent books include Prosperous Descent: Crisis as Opportunity in the Age of Limits and Simple Living in History: Pioneers of the Deep Future.

Dr Alexander will be discussing questions and issues raised in his recent documentary film ‘A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity’

Antonia Case is the literary editor of New Philosopher magazine, the editor of Womankind magazine, and an award-winning writer and journalist. A former journalist for Fairfax, she is the winner of the 2013 Australasian Association of Philosophy Media Professionals’ Award for excellence in the presentation of philosophy in the media. Case holds an Honours degree in Economics from the University of Sydney.

Antonia Case will be speaking on:
The ideas behind the creation of print magazines New Philosopher and Womankind, which are philosophy, culture and art magazines for the general public. Covering topics such as consumerism, happiness, technology, and education, the magazines seek answers to the important questions in life such as, ‘What is a good and meaningful life?’ ‘And what makes a life worth living?’.


9.15    –  10.15 MICHAEL LEUNIG
10.30 –  11.30 DR CAROLINE WEST
11.30  –  11.45 SHORT BREAK
11.45  –  13.00 LUNCH (I)
13.00  –  13.40 ANTONIA CASE AND LUNCH (II)
13.45  –  15.00 DR SAMUEL ALEXANDER
15.00  –  15.30 AFTERNOON TEA
16.30 CLOSE