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Dr Royden Hunt

Royden HuntFrom 1995 to 2003, I was the Organising Lecturer in Philosophy-related Studies at the Centre for Lifelong Learning. The courses I organised included historical and analytical philosophy, Continental and Eastern philosophy, as well as many aspects of applied philosophy. From 2004 to the present I have continued at the Centre as Tutor in Humanities, including Philosophy. My doctorate was awarded earlier, for research and publications in the biological sciences.

Philosophical and theological studies in both the UK and abroad enabled me to research, lecture and publish work ranging across contemporary issues arising in the sciences, arts and humanities. My teaching uses this philosophical and wider background to cover important interdisciplinary topics which are relevant today. These include interaction between science and religion, as well as between the sciences, the arts and humanities.

I have cooperated with a number of artists in the UK and abroad and written articles for the catalogues of exhibitions of their work. There are a growing number of projects which bring together valuable insights from both arts and sciences, such as the Wellcome Foundation galleries in London. Such interdisciplinary projects also include the work of ‘artists in residence’ at university science departments and I have cooperated with several here in Cardiff.

Discussions with those involved in such interdisciplinary projects have enriched my seminars and courses at the Centre for Lifelong Learning. They have enabled me to give students valuable insights into the nature and philosophy of the sciences, humanities and the arts, including the processes of creativity and inspiration, their cultural significance and public engagement. These courses included the 2006-7 Saturday day schools Current Encounters in Science and the Arts. For my courses taught from 1996 to 2000 entitled ‘Science and Religion, Dialogue and Debate’ I received a John Templeton Foundation award ($15,000) which was one of only three made in Great Britain – the majority of awards being for work in the USA.

The course In Search of Human Nature (2002-4 and again 2008-10) was given in the form of both day schools and evening classes. These also used a philosophical and interdisciplinary approach to the subject and received consistently high enrolment and an enthusiastic reception by students. They particularly found that the class discussion in groups greatly helped their appreciation of the interconnected nature of the topics considered by the course and its application to their own personal experiences as well as to the problems in society today.

I am looking forward to teaching this course again in the autumn of 2011, as eight linked Saturday morning day schools. There has probably never been a time in which a deeper understanding of what it is to be human has become more necessary. There appears to be underway a revolution in the biological sciences, with rapid changes in our understanding of the genetics, development and evolution of all life forms, including the human. In today’s complex and globalised world, besieged by problems of many different kinds, we need therefore insights from a wide range of sources in order to arrive at adequate understanding, viable strategies, ethical decisions and remedial action.