P4C Thought Experiment: The Us

This week, a stimulus that seeks to go beyond the rough-and-tumble partisanship of election debates to a more profound approach to thinking about a just society. The stimulus and enquiry plan is attached as a PDF here, and there’s an audio version of the stimulus here:
It’s called “The Us”, and is an adaptation of John Rawls’s thought experiment, “The Veil of Ignorance”. Participants try to forget everything they know about themselves – gender, parents occupation, school, ability – and imagine what society the would choose as an “us” – a thinking person, but one who does not know who they are going to be.
The name “Us” for one of these pre-embodied souls was suggested by a pupil at St John’s College School, Cambridge, where I tried this out yesterday. We had a very interesting session focusing on “Which school system would they choose, if they didn’t know which school they would end up in?”, a question suggested by correspondent Claire Walsh. Some of the children said things like, “My us thinks…,” and it was interesting to see them distance themselves from their own, very positive, experiences of private education and think from a different perspective to a variety of conclusions.

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