Masterclass Webinar - Thursday 19th November 2020

United Kingdom

A level Philosophy Ethics and Religion years 12 and 13

2019-20 programme

What to Expect on the Day

Subject-specific events with experts are highly effective in terms of impact on pupil outcomes. Attend this A level RS webinar day with distinguished academics to inspire and enthuse, as well as boost grades. Whether you’re looking to freshen up student directed learning or to equip students with the skills and knowledge to excel, the Academy Conferences webinar is designed for you.

During the day students will be able to contribute and provide feedback, and there is also an opportunity for Q and A with all our speakers. Full notes supplied so that you leave feeling supported and inspired.


Join us on Snapchat – aconferences – for your daily philosophical thought of the day, plus access to free resources.

Self Death and Afterlife

9.40 - 10.20 Julie Arliss

How do ideas about “who I am?” relate to the big question of what happens when we die? This lecture will give students a map of how these ideas, and the language used to speak of them, has changed through history. It will show how they have influenced, and been influenced by, changing philosophical ideas. What is it to be a person? Does life have meaning and purpose? Discussion will include evaluation of modern positions including materialism, dual aspect monism and process thought.

Introduction to Aquinas and Natural Law

10.20 - 11.00 Andrew Pinsent

This session will cover the basics for outstanding performance at A level including the origins of Natural Law, the central place given to reason, primary and secondary precepts, the principle of double effect and real and apparent goods.

10 minute Q & A

11.00 - 11.10 Julie Arliss and Dr Andrew Pinsent

Faith and Reason

11.10 – 11.50 Tom Greggs

All the arguments for the existence of God and all attempts at theological speech to some degree fall down to one question: how do faith and reason relate to each other? This lecture not only traces the usual (and sometimes unnuanced) accounts of complimentarity and fideism, but also challenges the paradigm, modelling multiple ways in which faith and reason might relate through discussion of the relative weight placed on each. Offering a paradigmatic framework for the relation of faith and reason, this lecture offers important insights not only for the philosophy of religion but also for modern theology.

10 minute Q & A

11.50 - 12.00 Professor Tom Greggs

The Amazing Philosothon Competition!

12.00 – 12.30 Mark Smith

Introducing the Covid-safe Philosothon Competition. WIN £500 (to be shared by you (the teacher) with the school.) Get a really lively Philosophical competition with deep conversation going in your school. Mark will show you how, with all you need to get started provided FOC. Enter to win a chance to join the International Philosothon!

Introducing the Learning Lab for A level

13.30 – 13.45 Julie Arliss

On Not Being an Ostrich

13.45 - 14.30 Daphne Hampson

In 1615 Cardinal Roberto Bellarmine, who had played a leading role in the trial of Galileo, wrote that it was as erroneous to assert that the earth revolved around the sun as to claim that Jesus was not born of a virgin. How do we separate truth from fiction? What has induced human beings to make the kinds of theological assertions that they have? They may fit ill with a changed world. I shall consider the creation story, virgin birth, miracles, the question of the ‘uniqueness’ of Christ, and ‘resurrection’. What is a ‘true metaphor’? What can we hold to be indeed true, and how should we express it in this day and age? For being a spiritual person or holding to the conviction that there is that which is God must challenge many of our contemporaries and lead to a wider and more inclusive view as to what is the nature of reality.

10 minute Q & A

14.30 - 14.40 Professor Daphne Hampson

The Attributes of God - Defending the New Testament view of God

14.40 - 15.20 Professor Keith Ward

In Western thought, there are four main views of God:

  • Classical – God is eternal, simple, and immutable (Aristotle/Aquinas).
  • Process – Events are free and creative; God attracts them to good outcomes, but they may resist (Whitehead).
  • Biblical – God is maximally good, knowing and powerful, but maybe not technically omniscient and omnipotent.
  • New Testament – God becomes incarnate and all things are united in Christ, so God suffers and changes and includes the cosmos. This talk defends the ‘New Testament’ view. But is it really in the New Testament? It is for you to decide!

10 minute Q & A

15.20 - 15.30 Professor Keith Ward

Making Essay Writing Work for YOU

15.30 – 16.00 Peter Baron

Using the examples of utilitarianism and natural law, Peter Baron will show how to build structure and argument into an essay to maximise marks for both AO1 (Knowledge and Understanding) and AO2 (Analysis and Evaluation) skills). He will be using practical examples of both good and bad essay-writing technique to establish a clearer understanding of what to look for as we both teach and assess essay-writing skills.

Julie Arliss

Julie Arliss

Julie Arliss is a well-known experienced teacher and author. She works closely with exam boards and is perfectly placed to support students in preparation for A level examinations. She is an experienced examiner. Julie has an international reputation for inspiring academic excellence and encouraging students to push the boundaries of knowledge.

Professor Daphne Hampson

Professor Daphne Hampson

Associate, Theology and Religion, Oxford University.

Daphne Hampson trained in Theology at Harvard and is Professor Emerita of Divinity at the University of St Andrews, an Associate of the Department of Theology and Religion at Oxford University, and a Life Member at Clare Hall, Cambridge. She has published widely on Post- Christian thought with an emphasis on feminist criticism, combining her commitment to theological realism with an ethical critique of Christian mythology. Her latest work focuses on the role of religion in contemporary Western society, the underrepresented field of Lutheran thought, and an exposition on the work of Kierkegaard.

Prof Keith Ward

Professor Keith Ward

Emeritus Regius Professor of Divinity, Oxford University.

Professor Keith Ward is a leading philosopher of religion and much in demand on the international academic scene. Liberation Theology and Marx feature in his book, ‘A Guide for the Perplexed’ and more fully in ‘In Defence of the Soul’ both of which are accessible to students. A Former President of the World Congress of Faiths and member of The Board of Social Responsibility for the Church of England; Professor Ward has also written a 5 volume work on ‘Comparative Theology’, which is about inter-faith relations. Professor Ward has recorded programmes for Al Jazeera TV and recently for the Egyptian Arabic TV channel. He is a former Chair of the Governors of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and on the Academic Committee of the Islamic Centre at Oxford.

Dr Andrew Pinsent – Oxford

Dr Andrew Pinsent – Oxford

Dr Pinsent is an international speaker, in great demand across the globe. He is a polymath with doctorates in both physics and philosophy. There are few better placed to discuss matters of science and philosophy. He is a former particle physicist at CERN and a named author on thirty-one papers of the DELPHI experiment. He is a member of the United Kingdom Institute of Physics. Dr Pinsent also has a second doctorate in philosophy and is currently the Research Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion, a Research Fellow of Harris-Manchester College and a member of the Faculty of Theology and Religion at Oxford University.

Professor Tom Greggs

Professor Tom Greggs

Marischal Chair, University of Aberdeen.

Tom Greggs holds the Marischal Chair, (actually a physical chair established in 1616) at the University of Aberdeen. He previously held a chair at the University of Chester. He has also taught at the University of Cambridge. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Scotland, and is an Honorary Professor of Theology at St Mellitus College, London. He has been a visiting research fellow at St John’s College, Durham, and College of Arts and Sciences International Visiting Scholar and Visiting Professor at the University of Virginia.

He is the author of five major books and is currently the recipient of a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship. He is in high demand as a speaker and well known for his engaging wit.

Peter Baron

Peter Baron read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford before completing his M Litt. He is a popular and energetic speaker who has worked for many years with A level students both in schools and as a personal tutor. He is chief editor and principle author of philosophical investigations, a popular online community for philosophy which is an excellent resource for students. He also runs his own publishing house and is the author of a number of popular books. He is an educational consultant for Critical Thinking and has worked closely with Academy Conferences for many years.

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