Teaching As If Our Students Were Not Future Philosophers

Teaching As If Our Students Were Not Future Philosophers


Since most of our undergraduate students are planning to go to graduate school in philosophy and become professional philosophers, it makes sense that the undergraduate philosophy curriculum is typically filled with courses that prepare them for that future. Their courses should introduce them to the way that contemporary professional philosophers understand their field, teaching them the theories, jargon, technicalities, distinctions, subdisciplinary boundaries, and so on, so that they will be able to join the specialized conversations of academic philosophy.

But, imagine for a moment that most of our undergraduates—even most of philosophy majors—were not going to have careers as philosophers. Would it still make sense to teach them as we do?

(art: “Richard Scarry’s 21st Century Busy Town Jobs” by Ruben Bolling)

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