Public Philosophy and OutreachCategory
Philosophy departments face many challenges. Philosophy is perceived by some as “less practical” and so less choiceworthy a course of study. Most entering students have not taken philosophy courses and do not come to college thinking about studying philosophy. Philosophy is unfamiliar, its critical element can scare away some students, and it has a reputation among ..
There are different strains of public philosophy, one of which is bringing philosophy to bear on social and personal issues. The idea is that philosophers, qua philosophers, have something distinctive and helpful to contribute to public discourse. W.V.O. Quine, writing in 1979 in the Long Island newspaper, Newsday, seems to disagree:
The student who majors in phi..
Which philosophy books would you recommend for a high school library? That is the question currently being asked by Hallie Liberto (Connecticut), on behalf of her mom:
My mom is currently choosing books for the philosophy section of the high school library at the Overseas School of Colombo. She wants some recommendations—books that would be particularly good fo..
The following is a guest post* by Ben Baker, Louise Daoust, and Rob Willison (University of Pennsylvania) on a recent attempt at publicly engaged philosophy at the University Pennsylvania—one that others might be interested in trying out elsewhere.
How did the United States go from a country that incarcerated roughly 500,000 citizens in 1980 to one that incarcerates roughly 2.3 million today? Civil unrest and rising crime were used to focus public debate on ideals of law and order. Those ideals were then employed to justify a criminal-justice system that, given social conditions, runs counter to race-neutral, ..
Does your institution offer in-person philosophy courses for the public? The Sydney School of Continental Philosophy (School of the Arts & Media, UNSW Australia) and The Melbourne School of Continental Philosophy (University of Melbourne) do. Courses are run during school breaks and in the evenings, are relatively inexpensive, have no prerequisites and no assessment..
The following is a guest post* by Robert Kirkman, associate professor in the School of Public Policy at Georgia Tech and director of its Center for Ethics and Technology, in which he takes up the problem of academic philosophy’s seeming irrelevance to others both inside and outside of academia.
Can We Save Philosophy?
by Robert Kirkman
I write this from the ..
The inaugural issue of Journal of Philosophy in Schools (JPS) is now online. It is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal, based in Australia, which will appear twice a year. Its aim is “to encourage academic reflection and research into the growing field of philosophy in schools with the intention of making such information widely available through the use of an open..
During its last fundraiser, Philosophy Talk, the weekly radio show hosted by Stanford University’s John Perry and Kenneth Taylor, failed to make it more than 4% of the way to its $150,000 goal, according to The Stanford Daily. (more…)
Si-Won Song, a student about to graduate from the University of Puget Sound, has created a series of digital artworks based on well-known philosophical thought experiments. Song, a philosophy major (with minors in studio art and Japanese) first got the idea from reading about Frank Jackson’s thought experiment, Mary’s Room, in Professor Justin Tiehen’s philosophy of..
The University of Oregon Department of Philosophy has “Community Philosophy Institutes” on various topics, and one of its current projects is “Homelessness and Home.” Organized by Professor Naomi Zack, who is also teaching a course on the subject, Homelessness and Home aims to “support creative, intellectual, and practical address of the problems of homelessness. Th..
The following is a guest post* by Adam Briggle and Robert Frodeman, both professors of Philosophy at the University of North Texas and co-authors of Socrates Tenured: The Institutions of 21st Century Philosophy. This essay originally appeared in The Guardian and is reposted here with permission of the authors.
Jason Brennan (Georgetown) thinks that facts about public ignorance haven’t been sufficiently appreciated by political philosophers and political theorists. Such facts should temper our enthusiasm for democracy and make us more sympathetic to epistocracy (rule by the knowledgeable). The self-described “bleeding heart libertarian” recently published a book, Against D..
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Philosophical Association (APA) are collaborating for two events at the APA’s upcoming Eastern Division Meeting next month in Washington, DC. The first is a plenary address by the chairman of the NEH, William “Bro” Adams, at noon on January 7th. Following that, there will be a session “Philosophy for t..
A pair of philosophers teamed up with a beautiful food website and a fancy coffee shop to bring some experimental philosophy to the people.
Shen-yi Liao (Leeds, soon Puget Sound) and Aaron Meskin (Leeds) served members of the public coffee at Laynes Espresso to investigate whether first-hand experience is required to judge something’s taste and whether knowledge ..
Philosophy professors generally like to assign papers to students. The format of a paper allows the student to exercise certain skills of careful exposition and argumentation in ways that quizzes and timed exams don’t. Massive open online courses (MOOCs) often do not include graded work—and certainly not graded papers. The massiveness and openness (inexpensivenes..
Alice Dreger, a professor in medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern, sat in on her son’s sex-ed class at East Lansing High School and live-tweeted commentary about it to the world. The tweets were simultaneously disturbing and hilarious.
The kid has invited me to his health class on sex ed to see how bad it is, so I’m going. But hands over my mouth m..
The Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization, PLATO, “advocates and supports introducing philosophy to children and youth through programs,
resource-sharing, and the development of a national network in pre-college philosophy.” They’ve recently posted an interview, conveniently organized by topic, with Texas A&M philosophy professor Claire Katz and English PhD..
Local school teachers, professors and students of philosophy at the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP), and several community organizations have teamed up for a bilingual project called Philosophy for Children in the Borderlands: (more…)
Christia Mercer (Columbia) reports on her experiences teaching philosophy to inmates as part of the new Justice-in-Education Initiative, sponsored by Columbia University’s Center for Justice, and calls for greater attention to the educational needs of prisoners, in an op-ed in The Washington Post. She writes:
My incarcerated students differ radically from the one..
This year’s World Philosophy Day is one month away, on November 20th. From the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) website:
In establishing World Philosophy Day in 2005, the General Conference highlighted the importance of this discipline, especially for young people, underlining that “philosophy is a discipline that encourage..
Scientists came to realise the media had an important role to play in communicating science. The media could not only inform the public of new discoveries, but it could educate them about the scientific method, and it could boost the visibility, esteem and trust of science as an institution. Then came the advent of “science communication” as a profession unto itself..
Does Philosophy Matter?
by Walter Sinnott-Armstrong
Philosophers love to complain about bad reasoning. How can those other people commit such silly fallacies? Don’t they see how..
Making the rounds yesterday was the dress. Take a look, and figure out which two colors it is:
Some people see the dress as white and gold, others see it as blue and black. Which do you see it as?
A few weeks ago, George Yancy (Emory) published an essay in The New York Times philosophy column, The Stone, called “Dear White America.” In it, he calls for white Americans to acknowledge their racism and their complicity with racist institutions. Yancy asks his readers to “listen with love” to what he has to say. But he knows that what he is saying is bound to pro..
A study from 2010 cites Philosophy for Children among “teaching approaches that help build resilience to extremism among young people.” The study, commissioned by the UK government,
presents the findings from a large-scale, in-depth research study into teaching methods—knowledge, skills, teaching practices and behaviours—that help to build resilience to extre..
Popular essays, fictions, aphorisms, dialogues, autobiographical reflections and personal letters have historically played a central role in philosophy. So also have public acts of direct confrontation with the structures of one’s society: Socrates’ trial and acceptance of the hemlock; Confucius’ inspiring personal correctness. It was really only with the generation..
The American Philosophical Association’s Committee on Public Philosophy is seeking nominations for the best opinion pieces or editorials published by philosophers in 2013.
We will honor up to five standout pieces that successfully blend philosophical argumentation with an op-ed writing style. Winning submissions will call public attention, either directly or indi..