Mattheus von Guttenberg, 21, reasoned his way to victory Friday in a lively philosophy debate at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla. He played the role of John Locke, an English philosopher known as the “Father of Liberalism.”
His foe was fellow student Phil Grech, 29, who posed as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, champion of Romanticism and author of the Discourse on the Origin and Basis of Inequality.
A third student, Steven Vitale, 22, interrupted the debate several times, telling the crowd that life is “nasty, brutish and short,” a clear sign that he was playing English philosopher Thomas Hobbes.
Grech, as Rousseau, slammed a mobile phone to the ground at one point, saying he was rejecting technology and modern ways. But it was von Guttenberg whose arguments swayed the crowd and earned the most votes.
Dr. Hugh Marlowe, who teaches philosophy and other classes at Flagler College, organized the debate among the three students, all of them juniors.
See additional photos here.
Note: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Grech was portraying Henry David Thoreau, not Jean-Jacques Rousseau. H/T to an alert reader who pointed out the mistake.