published on October 1, 2015
J. Alden Stout, Chris Weigel
Psychological Influences on Philosophical Questions
Implications for Pedagogy
Discoveries in social psychology pose important questions for philosophical pedagogy. For example, social psychologists have identified several error-producing biases that are commonly impediments to critical thinking. Recent evidence suggests that the most effective way of improving students’ critical thinking is to address these biases explicitly and metacognitively. Biases that produce errors in thinking are not the only psychological features relevant to philosophical pedagogy. Additionally, experimental philosophers have applied the methods of social psychology to uncover various influences on philosophical intuitions. This research may naturally lead an instructor to wonder if research in experimental philosophy ought to change our teaching methods. We argue that the discoveries of experimental philosophy need not change pedagogies that use a Socratic methodology. We provide paradigmatic examples of pedagogical techniques that justify different approaches that include the insights of social psychology and meet generally accepted outcomes for introductory philosophy courses.