Harvard lecture series inspires senior’s discussion forum

Senior+George+Rao+hosted+his+first+philosophy+meeting+on+Thursday+and+Friday%2C+Jan.+24+and+25%2C+2019.+He+hopes+to+continue+these+thought+provoking+forums+throughout+the+year+with+these+being+the+first+of+many.

Melody Tavallaee

Senior George Rao hosted his first philosophy meeting on Thursday and Friday, Jan. 24 and 25, 2019. He hopes to continue these thought provoking forums throughout the year with these being the first of many.

An Ivy League lecture series inspired a conversation on philosophy and morals in the lecture hall on Thursday and Friday as senior George Rao launched what he hopes is a thought provoking discussion forum.

I wanted to give kids a chance to see what a college classroom actually feels like, a discussion based classroom, ”

— sponsor Kristin Lynch

“I’ve always had an interest in philosophy and this event is all about moral and political philosophy and getting Liberty students interested in debating and discussing these topics. It’s all run through a Harvard lecture series called ‘Justice’ and it’s done by a professor called Michael Sandel,” senior George Rao said. “All of the Harvard Justice lecture videos are posted online, and what we’ll do in the event is we’ll play the videos and whenever Professor Sandel asks a question, we’ll pause the video and get Liberty students to respond and discuss.”

Beyond learning more about philosophy, the sessions are designed to simulate what a college level class feels like, ideally helping students grow educationally.

“I wanted to give kids a chance to see what a college classroom actually feels like, a discussion based classroom,” sponsor Kristin Lynch said. “That was a lecture that involved a lot of classroom communication, so teaching them how to stand and speak in front of others, and also just able to debate with one another academically.”

The discussions encouraged students to challenge their morals to better understand the concepts of philosophy.

I learned that it is much harder to determine what is moral and what is immoral with our governments idea of natural rights,”

— senior Sam Roten

“We talked about different moral dilemmas,” Lynch said. “They are dilemmas that you can face through problems like ‘The Trolley Problem’, which is where you’re on a trolley car and you have to choose to continue on your track and kill five or turn the trolley until one. Then there’s different scenarios are added on to it, but essentially, it’s to get people to question their morals.”


The sessions pushed students to think about deeper concepts and situations than they typically would on a day to day basis.

“I learned that it is much harder to determine what is moral and what is immoral with our governments idea of natural rights. In each of the situations presented it was easy to see the points made by each side and each question presented itself with more difficulty to resolve,” senior Sam Roten said. “I benefited from the discussions because it allowed me to view situations from many different perspectives and gain a better understanding of how our government views the importance and difficulties associated with morality and natural rights.”

I would also like to get more students and teachers involved, since I believe philosophy can apply to a wide range of school subjects, from government to history or even English,”

— senior George Rao

Along with helping students grow within the classroom environment, Lynch hopes the sessions will enriching students as citizens in the real world.

“It just gets conversations happening about what type of classes are going to be most beneficial for them in college,” Lynch said. “Also just working on community having those conversations learning how to disagree but disagree in the right way.”

Rao anticipates to continue hosting these sessions throughout the year to spread the knowledge throughout the campus.

“Since ‘Justice’ contains at least fifteen sessions worth of material, my primary goal is to continue hosting these discussion forums to cover more interesting topics and introduce Liberty students to more complex philosophical ideas,” Rao said. “I would also like to get more students and teachers involved, since I believe philosophy can apply to a wide range of school subjects, from government to history or even English.”