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Teaching Philosophy

Volume 28, Issue 3, September 2005

Robert Boyd Skipper
Pages 261-276

Aliteracy in the Philosophy Classroom

For whatever reasons, students seem more resistant than ever before to reading. Educators have catered to this trend, introducing learning activities other than reading. I argue that, in philosophy at least, nothing can substitute for reading and discussion. I further argue that the best readings are famous, intellectually challenging, and substantial enough to reward the student with a memorable philosophical experience. I have noticed that students appreciate meaty, classical, philosophical works that challenge them, but are bored by dumbed-down textbooks or summaries. After considering some obvious objections, I relate two successful techniques I have used to raise the level of student engagement in class.

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