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Philosophy students ask the questions on Q&A

March 28, 2018

Senior College Philosophy students attended a special edition of ABC TV’s Q&A with moral and political philosopher Michael Sandel this week, with student Alex Stefas posing a question to the Harvard scholar.

Alex, a Year 12 IB Philosophy student, asked Sandel about the recent scandals surrounding privacy on social media.

“In the wake of the recent Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal, it seems that our right to privacy is again under threat. A core concern of your political philosophy has been a critique of market society and the growing trend of market thinking and values dominating every aspect of our lives. In the age of big data, where our movements and activities are increasingly commodified, what should be the role of the state to protect the individual from these market forces?” he asked.

“We need to have a big public debate about how to regulate these social media and data companies,” Sandel said. “But it has a darker side to it, as you bring out.”

The 10 students from Years 10 to 12, who were accompanied by philosophy teacher Dr Jonathan Hall, said the evening was a good addition to their school discussions.

Alex said, “It was super interesting seeing some of the concepts we learned about in class presented on Q&A.”

Sandal’s interactive manner that saw him pose questions directly to the audience “gave you more than one perspective,” Maya added. “There were other ideas I hadn’t considered that other people brought up.”

“I think [learning about philosophy] is definitely useful. If you’re thinking about whenever you have to write something where you’re backing up a claim … you need to think about it a bit more deeply and think about the different perspectives and take those into consideration.”