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articles
1. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 3
Galen Barry Facts vs. Opinions: Helping Students Overcome the Distinction
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Many students struggle to enter moral debates in a productive way because they automatically think of moral claims as ‘just opinions’ and not something one could productively argue about. Underlying this response are various versions of a muddled distinction between ‘facts’ and ‘opinions.’ This paper outlines a way to help students overcome their use of this distinction, thereby clearing an obstacle to true moral debate. It explains why the fact-opinion distinction should simply be scrapped, rather than merely sharpened. It then proposes a different distinction well suited to replace it. Finally, it outlines an activity which can be used to teach the new distinction, as well as a number of benefits to attempting the whole replacement process.
2. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 3
C. D. Brewer Proof Golf: A Logic Game
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Here I describe a game that I use in my logic classes once we begin derivations. The game can help improve class dynamics, help struggling students recognizes they are not alone, open lines of communication between students, and help students of all levels prepare for exams. The game can provide struggling students with more practice with the fundamental rules of a logical system while also challenging students who excel at derivations. If students are struggling with particular rules or strategies in the system, the game can be tailored to address them. I explain how the game has evolved since I started using it, highlighting the pedagogical benefits of the changes I have made, and (in the appendix) I provide examples of the handouts I distribute and a “checklist” to use before, during, and after the game.
3. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 3
Thomas Metcalf The Case for Philosophy as a General-Education Requirement
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I argue that colleges should include philosophy courses as general-education requirements. I begin by explaining the prima facie case against general-education requirements and the need for philosophers to defend their courses’ place in the general-education curriculum. Next, I present two arguments for philosophy as a general-education requirement. The first is the Argument from Content: that philosophy courses’ content tends to match the intended nature and purposes of general-education courses. The second is the Argument from Outcomes: that even if philosophy courses didn’t match the intended purposes of general-education courses, they would still be appropriate as general-education requirements, because there is empirical evidence that philosophy courses produce valuable skills and knowledge in students.
4. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 3
Jeff Mitchell On the Invidious Distinction Between Weak and Strong Critical Thinking
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The distinction between weak and strong forms of critical thinking is a hallmark of Richard Paul’s pedagogy. He maintains that good reasoning entails a personal commitment to fair-mindedness. In this brief essay, I argue that Paul’s conception of fair-mindedness conflates cognitive empathy with empathetic concern and altruism. One’s understanding another’s perspective by no means entails approving of it, and one may seek to better grasp this standpoint for purely selfish reasons. Depending upon the circumstances, the other could be one’s competitor, enemy, mark, or even intended victim. This implies that while we may wish that the world were otherwise, even very bad people can be highly effective critical thinkers.
5. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 3
Jake Wright An Argument for Asynchronous Course Delivery in the Early Stages of the COVID-19 Pandemic
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I argue that campus closures and shifts to online instruction in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic created an obligation to offer courses asynchronously. This is because some students could not have reasonably foreseen circumstances making continued synchronous participation impossible. Offering synchronous participation options to students who could continue to participate thusly would have been unfair to students who could not participate synchronously. I also discuss why ex post facto consideration of this decision is warranted, noting that similar actions may be necessary in the future and that other tough pedagogical cases share important similarities with this case.
book reviews
6. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 3
Patrick D. Anderson Rick and Morty and Philosophy: In the Beginning Was the Squanch. Edited by Lester C. Abesamis and Wayne Yuen
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7. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 3
Errol Ball Philosophy of Science: The Key Thinkers, second edition. Edited by James Robert Brown
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8. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 3
Teresa Baron Stem Cells: A Very Short Introduction, 2nd edition. By Jonathan Slack
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9. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 3
Patrick Brissey Doing Practical Ethics. By Ian Stoner and Jason Swartwood
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10. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 3
Brett A. Fulkerson-Smith The Excellent Mind: Intellectual Virtues for Everyday Life. By Nathan L. King
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11. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 3
Andy Hakim Syllabus: The Remarkable, Unremarkable Document That Changes Everything. By William Germano and Kit Nicholls
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12. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 3
Fraser Landry Higher Expectations: Can Colleges Teach Students What They Need to Know in the 21st Century? By Derek Bok
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13. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 3
Daniel Massey The Craft of College Teaching: A Practical Guide. By Robin DiYanni and Anton Borst
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14. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 3
Senem Saner From Marx to Hegel and Back: Capitalism, Critique, and Utopia. Edited by Victoria Fareld and Hannes Kuch
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15. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 3
Bart Schultz Gareth B. Matthews, The Child’s Philosopher. Edited by Maughn Rollins Gregory and Megan Jane Laverty
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articles
16. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 2
Christopher Cowley Teaching Medical Ethics through Medical Law
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Medical ethics is normally taught in a combination of three ways: through discussions of normative theories and principles; through for-and-against debating of topics; or through case studies (narrative ethics). I want to argue that a fourth approach might be better, and should be used more: teaching medical ethics through medical law. Medical law is already deeply imbued with ethical concepts, principles and reasons, and allows the discussion of ethics through the “back door,” as it were. The two greatest advantages of the law are (i) its familiar authority, especially among the disengaged medical students who have little interest or respect for the subject of ethics; and (ii) its focus on the reality of the people and the tragedies discussed (as opposed to the abstractness of a lot of ethical discussion). Finally, I argue that medical law, unlike ethics, allows more efficient and more detailed MCQ assessment.
17. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 2
Robert Schroer Teaching Students Some Cognitive Science to Evaluate Weird Perceptual Experiences: Some Advantages of the “We See What Our Evolutionary Ancestors Needed to See” Approach
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How can we use what cognitive science has taught us about perception to improve the critical thinking skills of our students? What, for instance, does it tell us about subjects who think they’ve seen Bigfoot, ghosts, and other “weird things”? I explore two approaches for giving students some empirically based tools for examining cases like these. The first, which I call the “we see what we want to see” approach, focuses the idea that beliefs and desires can shape our visual experiences. This approach, however, encourages students to view subjects who report weird experiences as being cognitively irresponsible and worthy of derision. The second approach, which I call the “we see what our evolutionary ancestors needed to see” approach, asserts these experiences are the result of evolutionarily designed perceptual mechanisms that specialize in representing human-like qualities. Fortunately, the second approach does not create the same problematic attitude in students as the first.
18. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 2
Penny Weiss Bodies of Knowledge: A (Feminist) Epistemology Exercise
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I developed a first-day exercise for my interdisciplinary “Feminist Epistemology” class that calms students’ fears about what they imagine will be the unduly abstract (and perhaps burdensomely political) course content, and engages them in easy but revealing conversation about knowledge. Individually and then together, we explore metaphors and proverbs about knowing body parts and bodily images of knowledge that have the potential to teach us something about knowledge itself. From “the nose knows” to having “seminal ideas” to being a “birdbrain,” expressions reveal how we conceive of knowledge, how we value it, what threatens and safeguards it, and how it relates to identity.
19. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 2
Katharine Wolfe Reclaiming Reasoning: A Cooperative Approach to Critical Thinking
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This article traces my own pedagogical journey to find strategies for teaching critical thinking that emphasize intellectual cooperation, empathy, and argument repair, a journey that found me frequently turning to sources outside of philosophy, including work in intergroup dialogue and pedagogical work in rhetoric and composition. Theoretically, the article showcases Maureen Linker’s notion of ‘cooperative reasoning’ (2015), sets it against the ‘adversary paradigm’ Janice Moulton critiques, and illustrates how Peter Elbow’s challenges to critical thinking as a ‘doubting game’ resonate with Linker’s work. Practically, it illustrates the structure and the role of peer-to-peer dialogues in my own reasoning classroom, an enactment of a cooperative, belief-based approach to reasoning inspired by Linker and Elbow alike, while also learning from the methodologies of intergroup dialogue.
book reviews
20. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 2
Matthew Carlson This Is Epistemology: An Introduction, by J. Adam Carter and Clayton Littlejohn
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