Laidlaw Original Application Statements

Below are the supporting statements for my Laidlaw application roughly 18 months ago. My interests have moved away from philosophy of time, and the statements certainly don't represent me today. However, there are significant continuities in my priorities, and I stand by many of the things I said.

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Academic development

I am enthusiastic about the prospects of furthering my academic research skills through this project. I believe this project gives me the opportunity to develop my capacity to present academic work in a clear and concise manner, which will benefit me in future academic endeavours.

I have already experienced the nature of an extended project through completing the Level 3 Extended Project Qualification, and I appreciate the importance of this style of research. Therefore, I am eager to take part in this scholarship as a means to improve the standard of my more in-depth academic research; I appreciate and look forward to the challenge of learning further self-organisation, which comes with increased freedom, in completing academic work. This should stand me in good stead for my fourth-year dissertation but will also give me an insight into the working life of an academic researcher, which will help inform my future decisions relating to academia.

Buddhist philosophy is not in my degree, and I am excited to research arguments from Buddhist traditions relating to the experience of philosophy of time; for example, the Buddhist reconciling between “annihilationism” and “eternalism” relates directly to our experience of time. I feel passionately that the arguments of Indic philosophies are too often overlooked by analytic philosophers, and I believe this project can help me to develop my capacity to make use of Buddhist arguments without falling into the trap of making spurious parallels. This will help me to diversify my learning, while simultaneously improving my academic skills in philosophy.

Travelling to conferences, discussing with researchers, and reading to understand scholarly consensus in relation to my project will help me to consider a broad range of perspectives before reaching my own verdict.

Leadership development

I believe a leader should be an effective communicator, an innovative practitioner of their subject, and should strive to help others, all whilst taking reasonable risks to achieve their desired goal.

I think this scholarship provides me with the opportunity to develop my communication skills by encouraging me to compile research in a clear, and accessible format. I would especially like to present my research through the medium of film/video, which I think can help to improve the accessibility of philosophical academic research; this would lead others who are interested in philosophy to learn about it.

Another important quality of a leader is teamwork skills. The Laidlaw scholarship can develop these skills through collaboration with my supervisor to refine and take guidance on the project, and through taking part in the multiple leadership days and weekends.

A leader should take responsible risks to maximise the opportunities they are given, and to ensure there is continued innovation in their subject. This project can allow me to take risks in this way by conducting research into world philosophies that deviate from the conventional methods of research in the tradition of analytic philosophy.

I also think my leadership skills can be developed through the opportunity the scholarship to provides to travel. By travelling to conferences such as those organised by the International Association for the Philosophy of Time, I can learn networking skills, and gain new and unique perspectives to impart unto others.

Tom Burdge

Founder, Researcher and Podcast Host,

I am the founder of where I currently host podcasts with expert guests in Buddhist philosophical practice and theory. With this project, I am to contribute toward correcting the entrenched Eurocentric bias in philosophy by creating an inclusive space for learning about Buddhist philosophy. As a Laidlaw Scholar, I have researched on researched philosophy of time, Buddhist philosophy, and philosophy of language. My research output includes a paper entitled Meaning in Gibberish (forthcoming in Aporia). I have presented this paper and discussed related issues in talks and workshops at the University of St Andrews and the University of Edinburgh. Language learning holds a high in priority in my studies and research. I have studied some Pali (OCBS levels 1 and 2) and I read French fluently. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you have any interest in the following: Buddhism, Buddhist philosophy, Ambedkar studies, women and Buddhist philosophy, cross-cultural philosophy, critical theory, French philosophy, Laruelle’s non-philosophy, non-Buddhism, philosophy of nonsense, philosophy of death.