At New Student Convocation, A Celebration and Discussion of Philosophy

Freshmen and transfer students came together NYU’s Kimmel Hall in October to discuss and celebrate The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton. The book, required reading for Steinhardt’s New Student Seminar, traces the journeys and challenges that six philosophers faced in their lifetimes.

The program began with a conversation between Steinhardt Dean Mary Brabeck and Rene Arcilla, associate professor of educational philosophy in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences.Brabeck and Arcilla explored philosophy’s dark, probing, “dangerous” side and discussed the quest for meaning that philosophers and students have embark upon since time immemorial.

“Philosophy begins in wonder,” Arcilla said. “It can put us in touch with ourawe of being alive.” He noted also that Socrates threatens the status quo and urged students to challenge their deeply held beliefs and worldview.

Students in Steinhardt’s educational theater program closed the program with an interpretive drama which played homage to the voices of the philosophers they studied and showed how they influenced their daily lives as NYU students.