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articles
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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
5. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 2
Matthew Carlson This Is Epistemology: An Introduction, by J. Adam Carter and Clayton Littlejohn
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6. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 2
Gong Chen Applying Critical Thinking to Modern Media: Effective Reasoning about Claims in the New Media Landscape, by Lewis Vaughn
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7. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 2
Robert S. Colter Reading Plato’s Dialogues to Enhance Learning and Inquiry: Exploring Socrates’ Use of Protreptic for Student Engagement, by Mason Marshall
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8. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 2
John Kinsey Marx and Digital Machines: Alienation, Technology, Capitalism, by Mike Healy
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9. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 2
Stephen M. Nelson A Guide to Good Reasoning: Cultivating Intellectual Virtues, 2nd ed.. by David Carl Wilson; Introduction to Philosophy: Logic, edited by Benjamin Martin; A Concise Introduction to Logic, by Craig DeLancey
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10. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 2
Anne-Marie Schultz Philosophers in the Classroom: Essays on Teaching, edited by Steven M. Cahn, Alexandra Bradner, and Andrew P. Mills
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11. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 2
Brendan Shea Bots and Beasts: What Makes Machines, Animals, and People Smart, by Paul Thagard
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articles
12. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 1
Dominik Balg Who Is Who?: Testimonial Injustice and Digital Learning in the Philosophy Classroom
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In this paper, I argue that there are significant instances of educational injustice in the context of philosophy teaching that can be effectively reduced by an increased implementation of digital technologies. More specifically, I show that there are good reasons to believe that testimonial injustices constitute serious instances of educational injustice that will frequently occur in philosophy classes. Using digital tools to anonymize student contributions opens up a promising way of dealing with these injustices. If convincing, my arguments give reason to perceive epistemic injustices in educational settings as a serious threat to educational justice and to reconsider the implications of increased digitalization for issues of educational justice.
13. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 1
Dennis Earl Two Years of Specifications Grading in Philosophy
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Points-based grading, though now traditional, faces powerful critiques: Such grading creates a low road to passing, it undermines motivation, it wastes time, and it causes stress. It creates an illusion of mathematical precision. It is unfriendly to necessary conditions for satisfactory performance. This paper defends the alternative of specifications grading. Specifications grading grades only on whether work meets a set of expectations for satisfactory performance, with the expectations set at a high but reachable level. With a high bar also comes opportunities to revise unsatisfactory work. I summarize arguments from the literature in support of the system, but I also give account of my two-year experiment in philosophy courses with specifications grading. Compared with points-based grading, specifications grading appears to motivate students better and helps them learn more. I consider objections from both traditionalists and so-called ‘ungraders.’ The former hope to secure the benefits of specifications grading while still keeping points. The latter favor eliminating grading altogether.
14. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 1
William Goodwin Creating Reflective Engagement: Philosophy of Science for Science Majors
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This paper describes an approach to teaching the philosophy of science to science students that was developed in a context where the course is a lower-level requirement for all natural science majors. This audience made it appropriate to reconsider standard approaches to the field and resulted in an innovative pedagogical strategy subsequently used, in modified form, in more traditional philosophical contexts. This paper describes the pedagogical approach, explains reasons for it, motivates more specific ways of enacting it, and assess its value, not only for science students, but for philosophy majors as well.
15. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 1
Theresa Helke Making Philosophy of Language Classes Relevant and Inclusive
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In this article, I present a philosophy-of-language assignment which emerges as the hero in a fable with the following trio of villains: Abstractness, Parroting, and Boredom. Building on Penny Weiss’s “Making History of Ideas Classes Relevant” (Teaching Philosophy 25[2] [June 2002]: 123–30; https://doi.org/10.5840/teachphil200225225), and serving students taking an introductory course which covers (at least) Western theories of meaning, the “You are there” essay conquers Abstractness by requiring students to make a connection between the material and their lives, rendering theories relevant. It conquers Parroting by requiring them to apply theories to new examples. And it conquers Boredom by producing papers whose originality can not only surprise but also remind the instructor reading them how meaningful the original theories are. In addition, I present a way to adapt the Weiss framework such that it’s (more) inclusive, and discuss my experience piloting and negotiating the assignment. As appendices, I include materials which an instructor can use to scaffold the assignment. Note that beyond dispatching Abstractness, Parroting, and Boredom, the assignment invites collaborative/cooperative learning, fosters learner autonomy, and lends itself to online course delivery.
book reviews
16. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 1
Bryce Gessell Professions in Ethical Focus: An Anthology, 2nd edition Edited by Fritz Allhoff, Jonathan Milgrim, and Anand J. Vaidya
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17. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 1
Douglas Giles Beyond Philosophy, by Nancy Tuana and Charles E. Scott
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18. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 1
Jacquelyn Ann Kegley Animal Ethics: A Contemporary Introduction, by Bob Fischer
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19. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 1
Steven Kelts How Humans Judge Machines, by Cesar A. Hidalgo, Diana Orghian, Jordi Albo Canals, Filipa De Almeida, and Natalia Martin
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20. Teaching Philosophy: Volume > 45 > Issue: 1
John Kinsey Propositions for Non-Fascist Living: Tentative and Urgent. Edited by Maria Hlavajova and Wietske Maas
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