In Conversation - questions and answers

Which key figure of the enlightenment said: "Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers"?

Yes, this was a trick question! Often (mis)attributed to Voltaire, the source of this aphorism is actually Pierre Marc Gaston duc de LĂ©vis.

Were you paying attention? What did the Dean say about Voltaire travelling to Australia?

The Dean noted Voltaire's belief that "once people have succeeded in making their way into this southern world, then we shall understand even better the variety of nature: everything will increase the sphere of our ideas and reduce the sphere of our prejudices".

Can you translate the following from Voltaire's 1765 essay "Questions sur les miracles"? "…qui est en droit de vous rendre absurde est en droit de vous rendre injuste"?

There are several possible translations, but the most common is: "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities".

Which of the following works by Voltaire, particularly pertinent at this moment in time, is the Dean of Arts delivering in this year’s Melbourne Masterclass series '10 Great Books'?

a) The White Bull (1773)
b) Candide, or All for the Best (1759)
c) Letters Concerning the English Nation (1733)

Answer is c) Letters Concerning the English Nation (1733)

What degree was the first offered by the University of Melbourne?

The Bachelor of Arts! During the early years of the University the full academic program was encompassed within the Bachelor of Arts.

True or False? The Faculty of Arts will teach over 11,000 students in its courses in 2019, including 7,500 domestic students and 3,500 international students from around the world.


What skills are among the top five most consistently in demand from organisations and employers?

Consistently mentioned skills include:

  • Critical and creative thinking - people who can use creativity, imagination, reasoning, data analysis and past experience to identify and solve problems effectively
  • Communication and persuasion - people who can communicate effectively, speak clearly, write concisely and convince others to follow a course of action or agree to a commitment
  • Collaboration and teamwork - people who can work with others reliably and respectfully, can manage conflict, listen actively, hear concerns and build relationships to get work done
  • Adaptability and flexibility - people who can readily adapt to changing circumstances and new expectations and can plan and manage multiple and varying tasks
  • Organisation and time management - people who can plan, prioritise and manage competing tasks, accommodate additional unexpected work and deliver on time

How might you, as a member of our Arts community, work with us to realise our vision for 'outward looking' opportunities for students?

We welcome community support that provides career advice, mentoring, work placements, volunteering opportunities and financial assistance for scholarships and travel for our students. Please contact us if you would like to discuss any of these!

The Bachelor of Arts offers majors in over 30 areas of specialisation, including which of the following:

a) Ancient World Studies, Arabic, Criminology
b) Indonesian, Media and Communications, Politics
c) History, Psychology, Sociology
d) All of the above

Answer: d) All of the above

What will you remember about our focus on the humanities this evening?

We hope that you gained a sense of the exciting work being done by staff, students, graduates and friends of the Arts Faculty at Melbourne; and also a sense that the humanities are an effective resource of hope and inspiration as we work together to prepare our students to face all the challenges and opportunities of "being human" now and into the future.