Is Nature Beautiful?

This week’s question is, “Is nature beautiful?”

As an opening stimulus, ask the question, play the sound only from this video. Invite the group to write their responses on individual whiteboards each time – yes, no, it depends on…, a word – preferably with a reason. Hear a few explanations each time.

1.    Is this beautiful?
2.    If I tell you this is this the sound of water trickling through the levels of a sewage processing station, is it beautiful?
3.    If I tell you this is the sound of a mountain stream tumbling over rocks, is it beautiful?
4.    Is it beautiful now? (Show the video)

You can now explore, “If something is natural, does that make it more beautiful?” The tension here is that the physical stimulus of the sound remained the same throughout – so why did some responses change? Does the beauty only happen when you think about the sound? Or is the beauty in the sound itself?

Then there’s the bigger question, “Is nature beautiful?” Borderline examples are interesting here, such as a lion catching and eating a gazelle. 

For a more thorough explanation of the theme, see the attached session, “Beauty and the Botanist” by Grace Lockrobin of Thinking Space, one of the tutors for our online philosophy classes.

Free Adults Philosophy Book Club – The Life Inside by Andy West

Monday 28th March 7.30 p.m
For the return of the Philosophy Book Club for adults, I’m delighted to say that we are going to be joined by the author himself! It’s a free event and a remarkable, engaging book. 
Andy West teaches philosophy in prisons; his father, uncle and brother all spent time in prison, so Andy is not “just visiting”. He has conversations with people inside about their lives, discusses their ideas and feelings and listens as the men and women he works with explore new ways to think about their situation. Could we ever be good if we never felt shame? What makes a person worthy of forgiveness? 

Visit to book your free ticket at the event.

vPlus Festival

I am delighted to be supporting Potential Plus UK as a session host at their fundraising vPlus Festival. Potential Plus is a charity I used to trustee for, which supports children who are in some aspect or other bright beyond their years, and their families. See the programme on for mine and many more exciting sessions, competitions and challenges from 16th to 23rd February. 

Best wishes,


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