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Life Raft Debate

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• Is the world eternal? YES
• Do humans have contra-causal free will (i.e., can humans do otherwise)? NO
• Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? YES
• Do humans have souls? YES
• Are there natural rights? YES
• Is it morally permissible to eat meat? NO
• Is the unexamined life worth living? NO
• Is truth subjectivity? YES
• Is virtue necessary for happiness? YES
• Can a computer have a mind? YES
• Can humans know reality as it is in itself? YES
• Is hell other people? YES
• Can art be created accidentally? NO
• Can we change the past? NO
• Are numbers real? NO
• Is it always better to know the truth? YES

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The University of Montevallo has a “life raft” debate each year.  They imagine that a catastrophe has eliminated the entire population save the few hundred people in the audience and 6 professors.  There is room for only 1 professor on the life raft, so each has to make an argument for why their discipline in the most indispensable to human flourishing and so is the most deserving of the final seat on the raft.

“Every student getting a liberal arts degree worries at some point that their education might actually be useless.  That’s what makes the life raft idea a funny idea, and a serious one.  It is a forum for the students to say to their professors, ‘Make us believe in the value of what we are doing here.'”

Click here and move to 42:27 of the show for the segment.  Or here for the life raft debate homepage.

Thoughts on radio show?  Thoughts on which discipline is most deserving of the final seat in the raft?


  1. Bryce says:

    Sounds like a great idea, but it seems like it is done poorly. No real argument or discussion. Instead, we hear only silly antics for entertainment.


  2. Bryce says:

    But then I finished listening to it and was very impressed with the final speech and the final vote.


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