Lively debate and riveting interaction were enjoyed by all attendees at this year’s Trent Philosophy Society Student Symposium, featuring some of the very best student philosophy papers.
The Symposium, held on March 1 at Lady Eaton College, is a longstanding tradition of the Trent Philosophy Society, one of the oldest student groups on campus. It serves as a forum for students from any academic discipline to write, present and defend a philosophical paper on a topic of their choice. The papers, which were selected by faculty through a rigorous evaluation process, are as compelling as the students who present them. Moral character, objectivity in science, and justice and equality were prevalent themes of the event, examining a diverse range of topics including rape, addiction and the philosophy of science.
Dr. Kate Norlock, chair of Philosophy at Trent, believes the papers selected by the faculty clearly demonstrate the ways philosophy connects to lived experience and complexities of life. In addition to the valuable experience the students gain through participating in the professional conference setting of the Symposium, she feels the event also exemplifies student leadership, initiative and co-operation. Professor Norlock also credits the strong connection between faculty and students for the success of the event and the on-going academic development of the students.
“The goal is really for students to help each other, to show that philosophers of all ages take each other seriously and value academic and intellectual work. And as both Trent faculty and students know, that kind of peer "support-power" makes a difference in success,” Prof. Norlock said. “Because we know each other and talk to each other, our students have clear opportunities for demonstrating skills that will be valued in the future.”
Third year Philosophy student, Katie Goodman, is one of the student coordinators of the Symposium. She feels the event provides a strong voice for students and demonstrates what the Trent Department of Philosophy is all about.
“It is refreshing and rewarding to hear what the students at Trent really think,” said Ms. Goodman. “It is important that students take the initiative to make their best ideas public, as the students will be leaders of the next generation. Their initiative reflects positively on the Trent community, as the students show off the skills they have worked to develop during their time here at Trent.”