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Key concepts in philosophy

Key concepts are the big ideas and understandings that we hope will remain with our students long after they have left school.

Reality and illusion

  • What is, and what might be?
  • What is the relationship between appearance and reality?
  • Is there more to reality than what we experience?
  • Can there be truth in myths and legends?
  • Did Māui really pull Aotearoa out of the sea?

Truth, beauty, and justice

  • What is truth?
  • Do beauty and justice have a universal aspect, or are they different for every community?
  • What is justice in Aotearoa New Zealand?
  • Is the legal system interested in the truth?

Freedom and responsibility

  • Am I free to live in whatever way I wish? If not, how should I live?
  • Am I responsible for my actions?
  • Do I have any responsibility for historical decisions that have impacted negatively on the freedom of others?
  • What role does the Treaty of Waitangi have in defining our freedoms and responsibilities?

Value, goodness, and happiness

  • What makes something valuable?
  • Does anything have intrinsic value?
  • Should I aim to be good?
  • Are there different goods?
  • Is happiness the highest good?
  • What is happiness?
  • How do we know if we are happy?

Rationality and meaning

  • What is it to be rational?
  • Why not be irrational?
  • How do we know the meaning of words?
  • How can I tell you what I really mean?
  • Are rationality, thinking, and meaning equally relevant to all cultures? Why or why not?

Last updated October 6, 2011