Philosophy in the City (‘PinC’) is an award-winning outreach project, run entirely by student volunteers from the University of Sheffield’s Philosophy department. PinC’s aim is to promote opportunities for people of any age or background to engage with Philosophy, whether this be the discussion of philosophical issues or in the form of academic study. We want to make Philosophy, a subject that is of use and value to both the individual and society, more accessible to those in the local community, given that it is all too commonly reserved for the privileged few.

We have a number of different projects to get involved with whether you are a student yourself, a teacher or just someone who lives in Sheffield – there is something for everyone! If getting involved with PinC is something you are interested in please get in contact by e-mail at pinc.shef@gmail.com

PinC’s Ethos and Constitution

PinC’s Ethos is to improve the opportunities available to those within the local community to engage with Philosophy. This is important for many reasons, a key one being that it helps to nurture clear, critical and creative thinking, which are skills useful for everyone.

There are three aspects to PinC that are designed to be opportunity-enhancing:

Teaching people from all backgrounds how to think critically and argue for their opinion in a clear and convincing way. Philosophy is the best tool for giving anyone the skills needed to think critically, clearly and creatively. This is so important not only academically but also in day to day life – it can aid anything from the writing of a coherent A-level essay to the deciding of which news report to believe.

We believe PinC helps children to value their education. We believe that our classroom workshops and our one-to-one mentoring encourage students to take full advantage of their current education, by aiding their academic progress as well as their ability to think deeply and critically. This is by far the most important goal of PinC.

Encouraging higher education for all. For school children, it is inspiring to engage in conversation with university students who have not only been through primary and secondary school themselves but have gone on to study at degree level. By creating this strong link between the schools in which we teach and the University of Sheffield, we aim to help every student understand that it is possible for them to continue their studies beyond school.

Also, the University of Sheffield’s Philosophy Department will consider accepting school students who may not have sufficiently high A-level marks (or have A-levels at all) but who have taken part in this programme, thus allowing us to offer a very concrete goal for those with a keen interest in philosophy.

More generally PinC is aimed at making Philosophy more accessible as a matter of social justice. The originator of PinC – Alexis Artaurd De La Ferriere – says PinC is to give an alternative to ‘a system where abstract knowledge is reserved for a certain community: where you have to go to certain schools to get it and live in certain neighbourhoods, and where it is assumed that lower-income communities only need to learn skills’. PinC tries to encourage all members of society to think more thoroughly, critically and creatively.

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