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Teaching Philosophy

Volume 40, Issue 2, June 2017

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Displaying: 1-6 of 6 documents


1. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 40 > Issue: 2
Melissa Jacquart, Jessey Wright, Teaching Philosophy Graduate Students about Effective Teaching
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The problem of inadequate professional training for graduate students in teaching and pedagogy has recently come into sharp relief. Providing teacher training for philosophy graduate students through for-credit courses has been recommended as a solution to this problem. This paper provides an overview of the problem, identifies several aims such a course should have, and provides a detailed overview of a course satisfying those aims. By providing a detailed outline of the course, this paper can act as a resource for faculty tasked with teaching such a course. Finally, we justify the pedagogical decisions made in the design of this course to prepare facilitators to more effectively teach it, to allow facilitators to make informed and intentional decisions when adapting the course to their program, and as a demonstration of what we take to be some of the best practices in teaching and pedagogy. That is, the design of the course is informed by the very material covered in the course.
2. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 40 > Issue: 2
Jeremiah Joven Joaquin, Robert James M. Boyles, Teaching Syllogistic Logic via a Retooled Venn Diagrammatical Technique
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In elementary logic textbooks, Venn diagrams are used to analyze and evaluate the validity of syllogistic arguments. Although the method of Venn diagrams is shown to be a powerful analytical tool in these textbooks, it still has limitations. On the one hand, such method fails to represent singular statements of the form, “a is F.” On the other hand, it also fails to represent identity statements of the form, “a is b.” Because of this, it also fails to give an account of the validity of some obviously valid arguments that contain these types of statements as constituents. In this paper, owing to the developments in the literature on Venn diagrams, we offer a way of supplementing the rules of the Venn diagram found in textbooks, and show how this retooled Venn diagram technique could account for the problem cases.
3. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 40 > Issue: 2
Aidan Kestigian, Blogging as Practice in Applied Philosophy
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In the past decade, several professors have advocated for the use of blogs in undergraduate courses in philosophy, arguing that blogs are beneficial for student learning, as blogs are forums for student collaboration and engagement with course material outside the classroom. In this paper I argue that blogging assignments can be beneficial for introductory-level undergraduate courses in philosophy for two reasons yet to be fully explored in the pedagogical literature. First, blogging assignments can act as low-stakes practice for paper writing. Second, blogging assignments give students the freedom to explore the relevance of course content to real world problems and academic fields other than philosophy. I then provide an example of a blogging assignment from a course in applied political philosophy that, I argue, achieves both of these goals.
4. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 40 > Issue: 2
W. John Koolage, Timothy Hansel, Reasoning, Science, and the Ghost Hunt
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This paper details how ghost hunting, as a set of learning activities, can be used to enhance critical thinking and philosophy of science classes. We describe in some detail our own work with ghost hunting, and reflect on both intended and unintended consequences of this pedagogical choice. This choice was partly motivated by students’ lack of familiarity with science and philosophic questions about it. We offer reflections on our three different implementations of the ghost hunting activities. In addition, we discuss the practical nuances of implementing these activities, as well the relation of ghost hunting to our course content, including informal fallacies and some models for scientific inference. We conclude that employing ghost hunting along-side traditional activities and content of critical thinking and philosophy of science offers a number of benefits, including being fun, increasing student attendance, enhancing student learning, and providing a platform for campus wide dialogues about philosophy.
5. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 40 > Issue: 2
David Sackris, Philosophy as a Conversation: Teaching Research Skills to Philosophy Students
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There is an array of resources on how to write a philosophy paper, both in print and online. However, the existing resources rarely discuss writing a research paper within the discipline of philosophy. What is typically missing from philosophical writing instruction is the point made by Richard Watson: a philosopher should seek to “enter the dialogue—the conversation—that is the lifeblood of philosophy.” Philosophical writing happens within a community, and what occurs in journals and monographs is the continuation of a conversation that has been going on for over 2000 years. Here I argue for the merits of encouraging students to think of philosophy scholarship as an ongoing conversation, as this will help them to discover significant problems to write on and form more manageable theses; I also describe specific methods for helping students to find scholarly conversations on topics that interest them and enter into that dialogue.
6. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 40 > Issue: 2
Steve Tammelleo, Care of Self as Resistance to Normalizing Effects of Student Evaluation of Teaching
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After a brief review of the literature on Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET), I employ a Foucauldian analysis to argue that student evaluations are forms of power that involve aspects of both discipline and governmentality. After examining how SETs are used to improve teaching, I identify some techniques that instructors use to respond to SET that undermine the legitimate interests of students or the educational institution. I endorse a hybrid model where a single global teaching question is used for summative purposes and fifteen or twenty additional questions are used for formative purposes. Finally, I argue that to resist the normalizing pressure of SET, instructors might, as Foucault suggested, return to the Hellenistic concept of the care of self. Through techniques of the care of self, it is my hope that instructors could cultivate a more robust subjectivity, a subjectivity less vulnerable to the normative power of student evaluations.