Teaching Philosophy

Volume 43, Issue 4, December 2020

Joel Owen
Pages 431-453

Teaching Ancient Practical Ethics and Philosophy as a Way of Life

In this article, I describe an approach to teaching ancient practical ethics that encourages learners to engage actively with the ideas under consideration. Students are encouraged to apply a range of practical exercises to their own lives and to reflect both independently and in collaboration with others on how the experience impacts their understanding of the theories upon which such exercises are built. I describe how such an approach is both in keeping with the methods advocated by the philosophers of ancient Greece and Rome, and also well supported by a wide range of contemporary educational research. I suggest that such active learning strategies encourage students towards a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the philosophical theories under consideration. Practical recommendations for incorporating such an approach into the teaching of applied philosophy are given. I finish by considering the impact such an approach may have on student motivation.