Published on: 8 November 2013

Year 11 students Elliott Smith and Henry Cooney’s combined efforts won them the Year 11 category of the annual Western Australian Philosothon held at Hale School recently. Alex Lindsay finished second in the Year 8 age group in an evening of lively philosophical discussion.

Elliott said at its core, the philosothon was not a competition but an engaging opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with like-minded people on philosophical and global issues. “It engages students in the discussion of important philosophical topics in small groups called ‘communities of inquiry’, who work together to achieve a shared understanding of a given topic,” Elliott said.

This year’s Philosothon was the last chance for Elliott and Henry to compete. Both boys were part of a successful squad sent to the inaugural Australasian Philosothon, held in Sydney in 2010, which Christ Church won.

Elliott said this year, the Christ Church team was extremely fortunate to be guided by Jon Lamotte, a philosophy honours graduate from UWA, who was completing his teaching practicum with Head of Philosophy Dominic Hodnett during Term 3.

“Mr Lamotte organised boys, along with girls from MLC, to meet on a weekly basis to discuss the main ideas from the stimulus material provided for each of this year’s topics. The topics included: Will machines ever become human? Who pays for climate change? Should parents track their children via mobile phone applications? Is there an intrinsic morality of the free market?”

Mr Hodnett said Mr Lamotte was instrumental in furthering the boys understanding of these topics by identifying and explaining the key philosophical ideas and terms behind each one.

The Christ Church team for the WA Philosothon also included Alex Lindsay (Year 8), Tom Robins (Year 9) and Dalton Whittle (Year 10).