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41. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 2
Audrey L. Anton Teaching Plato’s Cave through Your Students’ Past Experiences
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Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is both a staple in the philosopher’s diet and the lesson that is often difficult to digest. In this paper, I describe one way to teach the Sun, Line, and Cave analogies in reference to students’ personal past experiences. After first learning about Plato’s metaphysics and epistemology through reading Republic VI-VII, students are asked to reflect upon a time in their lives when they emerged from a particular “cave of ignorance.” In reflecting on this experience, students are encouraged to consider how each aspect of the line analogy might be represented in their own experience. Students also consider the epistemological experience turning towards that which is more real. In so doing, students gain a deeper understanding of these lessons by connecting new, abstract, and difficult information (Plato’s Theory of Forms) to information that is so familiar, it is remembered and not merely imagined. Putting Plato’s theories into the context of their own learning experiences facilitates students’ comprehension of the different levels of being and cognition, their interrelation, and the psychological process of increasing understanding.
42. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 2
Glenn Rawson Critical Thinking in Higher Education, and Following the Arguments with Plato's Socrates
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In spite of his reputations as an impractical skeptic or dogmatic idealist, Plato’s Socrates is often an impressive example of a critical thinker, and we can use Plato’s dialogues to promote such skills in the college classroom. This essay summarizes recent institutional motivations for promoting critical thinking in a student-centered, active-learning pedagogy; compares Plato’s core model of education and fundamental rationale for it; shares an essay–presentation–discussion assignment that serves those modern and ancient goals; and discusses how this flexible type of assignment is especially well suited for Plato’s dialogues, serving students and teachers in a Socratic manner. The first two sections thus situate Plato’s dialogues in relation to the heart of critical thinking in higher education generally. The later sections and Appendix explain a way to “follow the arguments” with Socrates that’s informed both by recent best practices and by much of what we see in Plato’s dialogues.
43. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 2
Carla A. H. Johnson Finding Philosophy in Plato’s Apology
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Students in introductory philosophy courses bring with them varied preconceptions about philosophy and its place in their education and their lives. Rather than assuming we all agree on what it is we are doing when we do philosophy, it can be effective to problematize the discussion from the start. Plato’s Apology of Socrates is a useful tool for this. While interpreted by some philosophers as not particularly philosophical, recent approaches by Sellars and Peterson suggest that the Apology is rich with philosophy. Here Plato’s Socrates reveals much about himself and his own understanding of the love of wisdom. By engaging in a process of mutual disclosure and active discovery of what matters to Socrates, we give students an excellent opportunity to find philosophy for themselves. As a result, students not only retain an understanding of key themes from Plato but also develop skills and attitudes well-suited to life-long philosophical engagement.
44. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 2
Patrick Lee Miller Leaving Plato’s Cave
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In Republic, Plato presents a pedagogy whose crucial component is the conversion of the student’s soul. This is clearest in the Allegory of the Cave, where the prisoner (the student) begins her liberation (her education) by turning herself away from the images on the wall. Conversion is not something we professors typically seek to provoke in a philosophy course, even when we teach Plato. But if this were our goal, what could we do to achieve it within the limits of the modern university? I present one such effort, a paper that uses the Allegory to focus on two questions: who are you (your self), and how did you become that way (your education)? After presenting both the prompt and its rationale, I summarize six student submissions and discuss how I evaluated them. I conclude by considering the risks and possibilities of addressing the whole soul and not simply the intellect.
45. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 2
José A. Haro Teaching the Trial and Death of Socrates
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This paper discusses an assignment used to teach the trial and death of Socrates that asks each student to give a tour for someone of personal significance (a partner, family member, friend, loved one, etc.) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to view and discuss two pieces of art about Socrates. The overall aim of the task is for the students to engage the texts and conceptual material and emulate philosophical practice outside of class and in public. The paper focuses on preparing the students to partake in such an endeavor, laying out a historically contextual approach to the study of Socrates, the varied texts that are used, as well as the general pedagogical framework employed. More importantly, the paper explores how one might adapt the assignment to their particular classroom.
46. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 2
Robin Weiss Definitions vs. Ideals: Beyond the Standard Interpretation of the Forms
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Traditional pedagogical approaches to the Platonic forms pose problems that can be best addressed by presenting students two rival interpretations: one that understands the forms in terms of definitions, and another in terms of ideals. The second, if not the first interpretation, models, for students of even a relativistic stripe, how one can conceive the existence of thought-objects about which no consensus exists. It also serves to illustrate how knowledge of such thought-objects may be attained nonetheless. This approach is to be preferred, therefore, to traditional approaches that tend to reinforce, rather than counteract, relativism in students.
47. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 2
Rebecca G. Scott Learning to Love Wisdom: Teaching Plato's Symposium to Introductory Students
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In this essay, I examine how Plato’s Symposium can be helpful for teachers who are interested in encouraging introductory students to develop a sense of wonder in their early encounters with philosophical texts. Plato’s work is helpful, I argue, in two ways. First, as teachers of philosophy, the Symposium contains important pedagogical lessons for us about the roles of creativity and affectivity in philosophical pedagogy. Second, the dialogue lends itself well to the pedagogical methods that Plato’s work recommends. That is, the Symposium invites students to engage with it in ways that involve them as affective and creative learners. I begin by providing the theoretical basis for my pedagogical approach, which is inspired by phenomenology. Next, I offer my interpretation of the Symposium, indicating what we can learn from the text about how to teach philosophy. And finally, I describe three classroom activities based on Plato’s text that are aimed at accomplishing the pedagogical ends I have outlined.
48. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 3
Notes on Contributors
49. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 3
Kelly A. Burns Annotated Bibliography of Resources for Inclusive Pedagogy
50. American Association of Philosophy Teachers Studies in Pedagogy: Volume > 3
Danielle Lake, Hannah Swanson, Paula Collier Dialogue, Integration, and Action: Empowering Students, Empowering Community
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Hoping to expand upon public philosophy endeavors within higher education, the following captures the story behind the course Dialogue, Integration, and Action. The course has yielded a number of innovative pedagogical tools and engagement strategies likely to be of value to philosophy instructors seeking to explore a more participatory, experiential educational approach. As a transdisciplinary, community-engaged philosophy class, it engages students in the theories and practices of deliberative democracy and activism, encouraging the development of dialogic skills for their personal, professional, and civic lives. By documenting the community-instructor-student collaborative design of the university course; the feminist pragmatist philosophic commitments underlying its design; the community-led and student-facilitated dialogue and the subsequent public report, as well as the impact of this work on the students, the community partner, and the instructor, the article highlights the benefits and the challenges of undergraduate philosophic engagement that emerges from and responds to place-based needs.