Every once in a while a student will make some remark about philosophy (or about reading or writing philosophy, or about a philosophy course) that perfectly captures an aspect of it in an interesting or new or funny way. Sometimes these are in the form of complaints that their professors take as compliments, e.g., “this course makes my brain hurt.” Sometimes they ar..
Clifford argued that we are morally responsible not merely for what we do and say, but also for what we believe… When we show ourselves to be uncritical and careless with own our beliefs, we implicitly invite others to do the same. And, perhaps more obviously, we invite others to fool us. We encourage dishonesty and deception. Each time we believe something that ..
“Service learning” is a combination of learning and community service. Students partake in activities to directly or indirectly help members of their community in ways that reinforce or enhance what they’re learning in the classroom. (more…)
Nick Byrd, a philosophy PhD student at Florida State University, has created a shorthand that he uses for commenting on his students’ papers. He describes it as having the virtues of the “grading shortcuts” method advocated by Rebecca Schuman and the more extensive approach advocated by Marcus Arvan. (more…)
“It’s in the syllabus,” we tell our students—so often there should be a t-shirt. Oh wait, there is. But perhaps we could make that information easier to spot? ChiaHua Lin, a PhD student in philosophy at the University of South Carolina, tries to do so by creating infographic supplements to her course syllabi. They highlight some of the important information about ..
A philosopher writes in seeking advice on starting a new program at his college:
I teach at a Catholic small liberal arts college. My department teaches philosophy in the core and offers a minor. I’m thinking of pushing for an integrated major common to many colleges and universities called PPE (Philosophy, Politics, and Economics). I need to gather evidence, tes..
The world is awash in bullshit. Politicians are unconstrained by facts. Science is conducted by press release. So-called higher education often rewards bullshit over analytic thought. Startup culture has elevated bullshit to high art. Advertisers wink conspiratorially and invite us to join them in seeing through all the bullshit, then take advantage of our lowered g..
A new school term will be starting soon. Perhaps it is a good time to share with students the following account of their obligations to their professors:
The first obligation, particularly operative during the first weeks of a new semester, is a moderately good will toward the teacher, a trust, a confidence that is willing to admit to oneself that the teacher has..
Can you get your students to sing about philosophy? Sara Bernstein, associate professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, can. With a little incentive, her students at Notre Dame (and before that, at Duke) have belted out some surprisingly sophisticated philosophical covers of popular songs. (more…)
The following is a guest post* by Holly Lawford-Smith, lecturer in philosophy at the University of Sheffield (and soon-to-be senior lecturer in philosophy at the University of Melbourne), on teaching about altruism. (more…)
Are you organizing a philosophy program for undergraduates for the Summer of 2017? If so, please share information—dates, location, theme, website or email contact, etc.—in the comments here. (more…)
This post continues our series soliciting suggestions for reading materials and lessons for various philosophical subfields in light of Donald Trump’s victory in the recent election. (more…)
We continue our series of suggestions for reading materials and lessons for various philosophical subfields in light of Donald Trump’s victory in the recent election with philosophy of religion. (more…)
Last week we began soliciting suggestions for reading materials and lessons for various philosophical subfields in light of Donald Trump’s victory in the recent election. So far, we have threads running on epistemology, philosophy of language, and critical reasoning / informal logic. Today we’ll continue the series by asking for suggestions for political philosophy…
Continuing in our series of posts about changes to teaching materials and lessons for particular philosophical fields in light of the 2016 U.S. election (see previous installments on epistemology and philosophy of language), today’s post will be on courses variously described as “critical reasoning,” “critical thinking,” and “informal logic.” (more…)
Yesterday I published the first in a series of posts about subfield-specific changes to philosophy curriculum in light of the 2016 U.S. election. That post is soliciting suggestions for readings, lessons, and teaching strategies for epistemology courses—keep them coming. (more…)
The shock of the 2016 presidential election is still being felt keenly by educators, many of whom see in its victor, Donald Trump, the embodiment of so much of what we aim to overcome: ignorance, incompetence, carelessness, and a lack of concern for the truth. (more…)
Many graduate programs in philosophy provide funding for their students in exchange for their labor as teaching assistants (TAs). The job of a TA varies across institutions and courses, but typically involves grading assignments, running weekly discussion sections of a larger course, and providing guidance to students. (more…)
Philosophy departments face increasing pressure to demonstrate their value to their universities. One type of response is to attempt to increase enrollment in philosophy courses. There are various ways to do this. One way is to offer courses that apply philosophy to matters of personal or social concern. The result is a familiar variety of courses in applied ethics,..
Bob Fischer is an assistant professor of philosophy at Texas State University. In a brief conversation over the summer, he shared with me an observation about a problem teaching philosophy to college students and I thought, “no, that can’t be correct.” But he was right, and he was doing something about it. In the following guest post, he explains the problem and how..
What if I told you there was an easy, scientifically-proven, five-minute method for improving your teaching? Just five-minutes, and your teaching ratings go up. No, I’m not talking about giving your students candy when you have them fill out the course evaluation forms. I’m talking about an actual improvement in learning outcomes, based on real science. How much wou..
Do you use games as a teaching tool in your philosophy course? And if so, which games, and to teach what? The questions were prompted by a friend drawing attention to “The Hobbes Game” by John Immerwahr (in the Fall 1976 issue of Teaching Philosophy). He lays out the game in the first few pages of the article, reproduced below. See the full article for a discussion..
Many universities start their fall semesters around now, so it’s a good a time—though not as good a time as last week—to ask: “what do you like to do on your first day of philosophy class?” (more…)
Questions about right and wrong action, what kinds of things are of value, and what kinds of persons we should be—i.e., ethics—arise in nearly every area of scholarly inquiry. This provides opportunities for philosophy departments to play a role at their universities outside their traditional courses. (more…)
A student in the University of London’s distance undergraduate international program who is majoring in philosophy is seeking advice on how to get help with her studies. She writes: (more…)
Landon Hendrick is a PhD student at the University of Nebraska who is also a high school philosophy teacher at Vanguard Classical School in Colorado. He is looking for some help meeting the specific challenges of designing a logic and critical thinking course in which the materials “are all appropriate for the audience, both in terms of content and in terms of..
Newflash: teaching students logic improves their logical reasoning skills—at least according to some new research. You may be thinking, “duh,” but that would be a mistake. After all, “teach” isn’t a success term. And as it turns out, “there is little evidence that studying logic itself improves one’s logical thinking.” (more…)