Volume 37, Issue 1, March 2014
How to Teach Modern Philosophy
This essay presents the challenges facing those preparing to teach the history of modern philosophy and proposes some solutions. I first discuss the goals for such a course, as well as the particular methodological challenges of teaching a history of modern philosophy course. Next a standard set of thinkers, readings, and themes is presented, followed by some alternatives. I then argue that one ought to diversify one’s syllabus beyond the canonical set of six or seven white men. As a first step toward that goal, I propose several ways to include women philosophers in the syllabus. I then lay out assignments and in-class activities that aid students toward the course goals. I conclude with a consideration of the challenges and rewards of teaching modern philosophy.