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The School was delighted to welcome the world-renowned philosopher and author, Professor A.C. Grayling, Master of the New College of the Humanities to address the Purvis Society on the topic of the value of the humanities. A large audience of Scholars, students and staff were invited by Professor Grayling to imagine a world with no humanities. Such a world, he argued, lacking history, philosophy and literature, would be devoid of guidance from the past for the future, incapable of removing the spectacles of assumption and unable to enjoy the broad horizons on human nature afforded by reflective reading.

Remarking on the brevity of life, Professor Grayling enjoined his audience to ‘turn 300 months into 3000’, enriching and deepening the experience of life by discovering the world as a theatre of meaning. Nor is the value of the humanities confined to those who opt to study these subjects formally; scientists too can profit from the opportunity they afford to develop a generous and sympathetic understanding of the variety of human nature. To study the humanities is to join the ‘great conversation of mankind’, an invitation which Professor Grayling’s audience was warmly disposed to accept.