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Faculty of Divinity


Guidance for teachers

Challenge rating


Video overview

Tianyi Zhang draws on the Islamic Philosophy of Avicenna to ask whether philosophy can teach us about God.

Curriculum links

Relevant to locally agreed syllabuses for philosophy and religious education and some GCSE/ A level exam boards. This video would be relevant to lessons about philosophy and the nature of God. Suitable as an enrichment activity at Key Stage 4 and 5.

Suggested questions and activities

  • Encourage students to try Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna)’s Flying Man experiment for themselves.

Imagine that you do not grow up gradually, but are created all at once as a complete and grown-up human being, so that you can think normally, but you don't have any prior knowledge or memory. And you are suspended in the air, but you cannot feel the air. You see nothing, hear nothing, and your limbs do not touch each other. That is to say, although all of your brain functions are normal, you are deprived of all objects of knowledge. There is absolutely nothing for you to sense, imagine, remember or understand. Presumably, you also don't know any language. Under such conditions, can you still confirm the existence of yourself?

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