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Year of the Bus marks World Philosophy Day

As part of the activities to mark the Year of the Bus, Transport for London (TfL) and The Philosophy Foundation are joining forces next week (Thursday 20 November) to celebrate UNESCO's World Philosophy Day with a series of philosophical enquiries aboard one of London's iconic New Routemaster buses.  

The Philosophy Bus will be stopping at four locations on Thursday 20 November and running the following philosophical enquiries at each stop:

  • 10:15 - 11:15 London Transport Museum (Covent Garden) - Environmental Ethics The environment is forefront in a lot of people's minds these days. What exactly is nature, what makes something natural or un-natural? How far should we go to protect nature? The enquiry will be joined by Justin Rowlatt, the BBC's Ethical Man; ·
  • 11:45 - 12:45 River Thames (Embankment) - Metaphysics Angie Hobbs, Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy at Sheffield University will lead a discussion on the nature of change and identity.  Given that the water constantly flows, is the Thames the same river it was a week ago?  Can you step into the same river twice? Can you step into the same river once?
  • 13:45 - 14:45 Tate Britain - Aesthetics What is beauty?  Is it in our mind, or in the object itself? Many people think that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the same people will argue about what they think is beautiful, others should think is beautiful;
  • 15:15 - 16:00 Speaker's Corner, Hyde Park - Philosophy's Two Great Questions Philosopher A.C. Grayling will be giving a talk and taking a Q&A session.  

Leon Daniels, TfL's Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: `Many great philosophical debates can be heard every day on board London's buses as they travel across the capital. This unique and free event is an opportunity to bring people together - aboard an iconic London bus - to discuss some of the questions that great philosophical minds have mulled over for centuries.`   Peter Worley, CEO and co-founder of The Philosophy Foundation, said: `Thinking skills developed through philosophy are foundational to learning - by doing philosophy regularly children develop good thinking habits, learn how to communicate their ideas effectively and listen with a critical, but open mind.`  

UNESCO's World Philosophy Day is a celebration of philosophy, and of its importance in education. Every World Philosophy Day the Philosophy Foundation brings philosophy to a wider audience and involves young people from their schools giving them a new experience of philosophy, and broadening their horizons.  

At each location the upper deck will be allotted for discussions between young people, aged between seven and twelve, whilst the lower decks will be for everyone else. Peter Worley will be running sessions for young children on the top deck and the bottom deck sessions will be run by a Philosophy Foundation Specialist philosophy teacher, or by a special guest. Tickets are free and can be reserved online at:  

Events and activities are being held throughout 2014 to celebrate TfL's Year of the Bus, in partnership with London Transport Museum and the capital's bus operators - specifically the role that London buses, bus drivers and the staff who support them play in keeping the capital moving.   The Year of the Bus marks a number of important anniversaries including 60 years since the creation of the original and iconic Routemaster, 75 years since the launch of its predecessor the RT-type bus, and 100 years since hundreds of London buses were sent to the Western Front to play a crucial role during the First World War.  

Other Year of the Bus partnerships have included a unique collaboration with the world-famous Fender Stratocaster guitar - also celebrating its 60th anniversary this year; the installation of an operational bus stop and shelter on Regent Street made entirely out of LEGO and a special Routemaster Google Doodle on the homepage. 

The Year of the Bus has also seen the first ever series of live music performances on board a New Routemaster bus as part of Oxjam, and 'bus stop top' exhibitions along the Strand from renowned photographers Juergen Teller and David LaChapelle.  

Visitors taking part in the second enquiry can get inspiration from the river and take a ride on TfL's River Bus services from Embankment Pier.

The Philosophy Foundation's aim is to improve thinking in education and help young people develop good thinking skills and habits that will impact in all areas of their lives.

By putting understanding back at the heart of education, The Philosophy Foundation works to develop children's autonomous learning and higher-order thinking skills, equipping them for the kind of life-long learning and thinking that are essential in the 21st Century. 

Its focus is on working in schools with a high proportion of disadvantaged pupils to re-enfranchise those that find themselves outside or at the peripheries of education and democratic society. The Foundation is unique in training Philosophy graduates to bring philosophy into schools from nursery up to 18 using a method of guided conversation that has been devised by co-founder and CEO Peter Worley, inspired by philosophical method. 

The Foundation also trains teachers in the transferable skills of Philosophy: thinking skills, questioning and enquiry. A philosophical enquiry is not a lecture or a talk, but an opportunity for attendees to think together around a topic: to think critically, creatively, to play with ideas and thoughts collaboratively. It is facilitated by a philosopher, whose job it is to keep the conversation philosophical, and perhaps introduce the group to ideas from the philosophical canon, depending on where the conversation goes.

Justin Rowlatt is a British news reporter and television presenter working for the BBC. He is one of the main presenters of Business Daily on the BBC World Service an on the Today programme.  As the BBC's Ethical Man he spent a year with his family trying to cut their carbon emissions and reporting on the exercise for Newsnight. 

Angie Hobbs is Professor of the Public Understanding of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield.  She was appointed the UK's first Senior Fellow in the Public Understanding of Philosophy in 2009 is an Honorary Patron of The Philosophy Foundation, Chair of the Institute of Art and Ideas Trust and one of the Town Philosophers for Malmesbury Philosophy Town.  She contributes regularly to radio and TV programmes (including 19 appearances on In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg), newspaper articles and philosophy websites; she lectures and gives talks around the world. 

Anthony Grayling MA, DPhil (Oxon) FRSL, FRSA is Master of the New College of the Humanities, and a Supernumerary Fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford.  Until 2011 he was Professor of Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London.  He has written and edited over thirty books on philosophy and other subjects; among his most recent are "The Good Book", "Ideas That Matter", "Liberty in the Age of Terror" and "To Set Prometheus Free". For several years he wrote the "Last Word" column for the Guardian newspaper and a column for the Times.  He is the chairman of the 2014 Man Booker Prize.

Peter Worley BA MA FRSA is co-founder and CEO of The Philosophy Foundation, President of SOPHIA, and an award-winning author of five books about doing philosophy in schools.  Peter is resident philosopher at 4 state primary schools in Lewisham, visiting philosopher at Wellington College and Eagle House School, and is a Visiting Research Associate at Kings College London's Philosophy Department.  He has delivered training for philosophy departments across the UK, including Edinburgh, Warwick, Oxford Brookes and Birmingham Universities.

For any queries relating to the Philosophy Foundation, the World Philosophy Day event or for speaker biographies please contact Emma Worley: or 020 8699 9314

The exact locations where the bus will be stopping are as follows-

  • London Transport Museum
  • Westbound on Victoria Embankment at Bus Stop Y 'Embankment Station'
  • Southbound on Millbank at Bus Stop R 'Tate Britain'/Millbank Millennium Pier
  • Northbound on Park Lane at Bus Stop W 'Marble Arch'


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