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College Hall on Feb.2, 2021. Credit: Amy Guo

The Penn Debate Society and the Philomathean Society will host a debate about whether we should believe in the afterlife.

The debate will be held at Feb. 22 at 5:30 p.m. in Philomathean Hall, which is on the fourth floor of College Hall. A green Penn OpenPass will be required for in-person attendance, where refreshments will be provided, and a virtual option is also available if participants register via this link.

PDS president and College sophomore Andrew Vandenbussche and Philo Moderator and College junior Sarem Leghari explained the plans for the debate, saying that it will roughly follow the parliamentary style, with one side debating in favor of a motion and one side against it.

Two members of Philo — College sophomore Artur Vllahiu and College junior Joshua Rose — will compose the proposition team, arguing in favor of the motion “this house would prefer a world in which there was no belief in the afterlife," according to Vandenbussche.

The opposition team from PDS — Wharton and Engineering first year Sparsh Agarwal and Wharton first year Jack Klien — will be debating against that motion. Vandenbussche added that the debate will feature alternating speeches between the two teams, a brief Q&A session from the audience, and a final vote which will allow the audience to decide on the winner.

The PDS X Philo debate is an annual tradition for the clubs. Past topics have included the effectiveness of progressive stacking, hookup apps, and the permissibility of kink-shaming.

When choosing the current topic, Vandenbussche said that both PDS and Philo were hoping to do something more philosophical this year. 

“We were interested in this idea of answering a very large question about something we really don’t know much about," he said.

Both of the organizations have long histories at Penn. PDS was established in 1984, and competes in competitive debate circuits such as the American Parliamentary Debate Association and British Parliamentary. 

Philo is a student-run literary society founded in 1813, which seeks to “increase the learning of the members and the academic prestige of the University.” The society currently hosts events including professor teas, poetry reading, and dramatic performances.

More information about the event for those interested in attending can be found on the Facebook event page linked here.