At 58, I was a mature student, coming from a 30yr career in business and finance. I was a little apprehensive how I might be received. As it turned out, I just could not have found a more welcoming, stimulating, rewarding set of fellow students – and, for that matter, faculty. One reason for this is the sheer diversity of the LSE post-grad community. In a sense, everyone is a minority and that drives inclusiveness. Furthermore, this diversity means a broad array of perspectives. As a philosophy student, I found myself in seminars discussing population ethics with other students from Germany and Italy, where populations are in decline, as well as from countries like China and India that have had to grapple with expanding populations and the aftermath of controversial policies to contain them. We debated topics from the most abstract philosophy (the joys of trolleyology et al) to race and gender, immigration, euthanasia, the funding of higher education and the equitable distribution of wealth. I know that some older student candidates may be concerned that their views will be unacceptable – that they will be “de-platformed”. I never experienced anything like this. Quite the contrary: in the LSE Philosophy department, you can say pretty much whatever you want – just as long as you’re prepared to defend it with rigorous, analytical argument. That is both the opportunity and the challenge. What an experience! The only drawback was that my wife got so fed-up with me debating philosophy that she banned the subject at the dinner table.
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