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1. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 1
Michael D. Burroughs Editor’s Introduction: Diverse Approaches to Dialogue in Public and Precollege Philosophy
2. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 1
Myisha Cherry Liberatory Dialogue
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I provide three types of dialogue found in everyday life. I then show how the latter dialogical model is ideal for public philosophical engagement. I refer to it as ‘liberatory dialogue’—a theoretical framework that shapes my public philosophy practice and provides invaluable benefits. In liberatory dialogue, characters are subjects, active, teachers and students, creative and critical, and collaborative. Influenced by the work of Paulo Freire, I argue that knowledge, mutual humanization, and liberation are some of the benefits that liberatory dialogue provides. I then highlight several ways in which I incorporate liberatory dialogue in my work as well as some of the challenges of doing so.
3. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 1
Kyle Robertson Inside Conversations: Ethics Bowl and Philosophical Dialogue in San Quentin
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The Ethics Bowl is a new debate format that is taking hold in high schools, colleges, and universities across the country. It emphasizes constructive, respectful dialogue about difficult contemporary problems in applied ethics. This paper argues that the Ethics Bowl is a particularly promising program for incarcerated students. Through a discussion of my experiences doing the Ethics Bowl with incarcerated students, a discussion of the transformative possibilities of philosophical dialogue, and an examination of other anti-recidivism programming, I argue that programs fostering philosophical reflection and dialogue, such as the Ethics Bowl, should play a key role in programming for education programs inside prisons.
4. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 1
Adam Briggle Dialogue and Next Generation Philosophy
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In the sixteenth-century book Utopia, Thomas More argues that philosophers can play an effective role in the public sphere. This article builds from More’s argument to develop a theory of public philosophy centered on dialogue or rhetoric. It contrasts this public philosophy with the disciplinary form of philosophy that emerged in the twentieth century. The discipline constitutes philosophers as experts and limits them to a dialogue only with their peers. By contrast, public philosophers can be in dialogue with anyone involved in a public issue. The article discusses some key challenges to doing public philosophy. It then gives an account of the methods and central features of field philosophy, one kind of public philosophy.
5. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 1
Barry Lam The Use of Narrative in Public Philosophy
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For the past two years on my podcast, Hi-Phi Nation, I have been experimenting with using storytelling to increase audience and engagement with contemporary academic philosophy. I offer this paper as a motivation and guide for philosophers interested in how to use storytelling to increase audience engagement in public-facing work. The key is to use the narrative structure to tie a philosophical issue to a character whose changes in fortune over time arise because of a conflict in philosophical ideas, the resolution of which requires the examination of those ideas.
6. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 1
Amy Reed-Sandoval Can Philosophy for Children Contribute to Decolonization?
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In this paper, I explore how Philosophy for Children (P4C) classes can contribute to decolonization efforts. I begin by describing what I mean by both “coloniality” and “decolonization.” Second, I provide a sketch of what P4C classes frequently entail and motivate the case for P4C as a “decolonizing methodology.” Third, I engage a series of decolonial critiques of P4C classes. Finally, I explore ways in which P4C can contribute to decolonization efforts if reformed in response to these critiques. Throughout this paper, I shall draw upon examples from my experiences teaching P4C at the Mexico-U.S. border and in Oaxaca.
7. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 1
Robyn Ilten-Gee, Larry Nucci From Peer Discourse to Critical Moral Perspectives: Teaching for Engaged Reasoning
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The social domain theory approach to moral education has focused on discourse between peers as a way of stimulating complex reasoning and fostering a critical moral orientation towards the norms of society. In this paper, we use the work of Anthony Laden and Mikhail Bakhtin to further refine our goals for using dialogue in the classroom. For Laden, “reasoning” is not simply thinking, but a social, dialogical activity. For Mikhail Bakhtin, “dialogue” is not simply talk, but the foundation of relationship and fundamental to becoming open to change. We argue that high-level reasoning in peer discourse is not an adequate end-goal for moral education—we must consider the intentions behind the discourse (e.g., deliberation, debate), and a young person’s willingness to change his or her beliefs. We point to contemporary examples of young people engaging in this kind of heteroglossic, engaged reasoning through media and civic action.
8. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 1
Kristopher G. Phillips The Kids are Alright: Philosophical Dialogue and the Utah Lyceum
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This paper serves as a call to philosophers both to create more precollege philosophy programs, and to push back against the instrumentalization of the value of philosophy. I do not intend to defend the intrinsic value of philosophy in this paper, though in an indirect way I will offer a defense of the value of precollege philosophy. I discuss the history, theory and practice behind the Utah Lyceum, a precollege philosophy summer camp program I helped create in rural Utah. I argue that philosophy summer camps such as the Lyceum are in a unique position to push back against the increasing vocationalization of education by building a curriculum on what I call “reasonableness.” In short, reasonableness is a form of rationality that necessarily includes a social component. Focusing on this social aspect, I distinguish three levels at which philosophical dialogue occurs: interpersonally, intratextually, and intertextually. I argue that by employing this distinction we can facilitate better philosophical dialogue and better aid our students in becoming reasonable.
9. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 2
Rika Tsuji Revisiting the Community of Philosophical Inquiry through the Lens of Arendt and Butler
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The purpose of this paper is to reimagine philosophy programs in schools, such as philosophy for/with children, through a critical analysis of the work of Hannah Arendt and Judith Butler, especially in light of their understanding of the space of appearance and plurality. ​Drawing on a critical reading of Hannah Arendt along with Butler’s critique, I argue that during the enactment of the community of philosophical inquiry (CPI), the classroom becomes a space of appearance through the collective willingness of those present to be exposed to and recognize unknown others and matters in the condition of plurality. I begin by summarizing Arendt’s notions of the space of appearance and plurality. Next, I introduce Butler’s critique and reading of Arendt to focus on sociopolitical aspects of the space of appearance. Finally, I synthesize both Arendt’s and Butler’s analyses to show the phenomenological and sociopolitical aspects of the CPI.
10. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 2
Bailie Peterson Can Summer Philosophy Programs Help Close the Achievement Gap?
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While summer break presents educational and recreational opportunities for some students, students from depressed socioeconomic groups may face significant obstacles in the summer, including learning loss. In general, these students also lack access to a wide range of intrinsic and instrumental benefits attached to the study of philosophy. While there are currently existing philosophy programs, this contribution highlights the connections between summer experiences and the overall achievement gap, while identifying specific practices shown to yield successful summer programs. Philosophy provides an impressive set of benefits, including academic skills and opportunities for personal growth and development. Incorporating best practices while focusing on the methods and content of philosophy should, therefore, yield particularly rewarding programs. Due to these benefits, summer philosophy programs should be researched, developed, and expanded.
11. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 2
Erica Preston-Roedder What Can Philosophy Learn from Improvisational Theater?
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Can we learn about philosophical practice, and philosophical teaching, by examining an apparently very different discipline—improvisational theater? The short answer: yes! In particular, a consideration of improvisational theater reveals four values—play/playfulness, physicality, ensemble, and inclusivity—all of which have a role in philosophical practice and pedagogy. First, we can think of philosophy as a form of intellectual play, where theatrical techniques demonstrate that play can deepen the focus of our students. Second, philosophical teaching can be done in ways that productively utilize physicality in order to maintain focus or allow students to express their ideas through their bodies. Third, philosophical practice, and teaching, should aim to establish ensemble, which can be understood as a social configuration which establishes equality in terms of mutual dependence and responsiveness. Finally, inclusivity in the philosophical classroom can be heightened through the use of appropriately adapted improvisational techniques. In addition to laying the conceptual groundwork to understand the connection between improvisational theater and philosophy, this essay includes a number of specific exercises for instructors who wish to introduce these techniques to the classroom.
12. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 2
Ian Olasov Philosophy for Characters
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Public philosophers have tended to think of their audience as the public, or perhaps a public or counterpublic. In my work on the Ask a Philosopher booth, however, it’s been helpful to think of our audience as made up of a handful of characters—types defined by the way in which they engage (or decline to engage) with the booth. I describe the characters I’ve encountered at the booth: orbiters, appreciaters, readers, monologuists, freethinkers, scholars, and peers. By reflecting on these characters and their needs, we can both imagine other forms of public philosophy that might better serve them, and better articulate the values that inhere in public philosophy projects like the Ask a Philosopher booth. I conclude with a brief case for the philosophy of public philosophy.
13. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 2
Rena Beatrice Goldstein You Are Only as Good as You Are Behind Closed Doors: The Stability of Virtuous Dispositions
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Virtues are standardly characterized as stable dispositions. A stable disposition implies that the virtuous actor must be disposed to act well in any domain required of them. For example, a politician is not virtuous if s/he is friendly in debate with an opponent, but hostile at home with a partner or children. Some recent virtue theoretic accounts focus on specific domains in which virtues can be exercised. I call these domain-variant accounts of virtue. This paper examines two such accounts: Randall Curren and Charles Dorn’s (2018) discussion of virtue in the civic sphere, and Michael Brady’s (2018) account of virtues of vulnerability. I argue that being consistent with the standard characterization of virtue requires generalizing beyond a domain. I suggest four actions the authors could take to preserve their accounts while remaining consistent with the standard characterization. I also discuss how virtue education could be enhanced by domain-variant accounts.
14. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 2
Brian J. Collins The Broad Nature and Importance of Public Philosophy
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Many professional philosophers are hesitant about “public philosophy”—unsure about what it is and how it’s done, and downright pessimistic about whether it is an important and valuable philosophical practice. In response to this hesitancy and in support of public philosophy, I argue that most of these philosophers already find at least one form of public philosophy important and valuable for the discipline and profession: teaching. I offer and defend a broad conception of public philosophy in order support this controversial claim. I continue by briefly offering some reasons to think that public philosophy is of value for society generally (i.e., “the public”), and argue that we, as a profession, need to fully recognize our standing commitment to public-facing philosophical work; and to engage in serious discussion and debate to better examine the various types of public philosophy, clarify the broad range of public-facing activities, and encourage/reward further public work of value.
15. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 2
Jane Gatley, Elliott Woodhouse, Joshua Forstenzer Youth Philosophy Conferences and the Development of Adolescent Social Skills: A Case Study
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In this paper we present an empirical case study into the effects of attending a philosophy conference on social skill development in 15- to 18-year-old students. We focus on the impact that the conference had on their communication skills, sociability, cooperation and teamwork skills, self-confidence, determination, social responsibility, and empathy. These are social skills previously studied in 2017 by Siddiqui et al. who found student development in these areas as a result of Philosophy for Children (P4C) sessions in primary schools. In this paper, we ask whether our conference—Pursuit of Knowledge—brought about comparable results. Overall, attendees reported that they felt that the conference had improved their communication skills, sociability, cooperation and teamwork, self-confidence, determination, social responsibility and empathy. We conclude that further research into the potential of models of philosophy akin to the model employed by the conference should be conducted. We discuss the potential of this model as a means of educating for social skills.
16. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 3
Asia Ferrin, Perry Zurn Facilitating Curiosity and Mindfulness in the Classroom: A Sociopolitical Approach
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As an outgrowth of experiential and critical pedagogies, and in response to growing rates of student anxiety and depression, educators in recent years have made increasing efforts to facilitate curiosity and mindfulness in the classroom. In Section I, we describe the rationale and function of these initiatives, focusing on the Right Question Institute and mindfulness curricula. Although we admire much about these programs, here we explore ways to complicate and deepen them through a more socially grounded and ethically informed theoretical framework. In Section II, we provide that framework by sketching a sociopolitical account of curiosity and of mindfulness. We propose a curiosity mindful of social location and a mindfulness curious about political structures and historical contexts. In Section III, we then offer concrete suggestions for modifying the curricula of the Right Question Institute and various mindfulness programs. We show how a more nuanced understanding of curiosity and mindfulness strengthens these program offerings. Ultimately, facilitating mindful curiosity and curious mindfulness, we argue, helps educators a) provide more robust learning environments, b) address growing mental health challenges, and c) support global citizenship in the classroom and beyond.
17. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 3
Michael D. Burroughs Editor’s Introduction
18. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 3
Erik Kenyon Philosophy for All in Augustine’s Dialogues
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The philosophy for children (P4C) and public philosophy movements seek to extend philosophy to traditionally marginalized groups. Yet public perceptions of philosophy as an elite activity provide an obstacle to this work. Such perceptions rest, in part, on further assumptions about what philosophy is and how it is conducted. To address these concerns, I look to the early philosophical dialogues of Augustine of Hippo (Contra Academicos, De beata vita, De ordine, Soliloquia), which present an experimental philosophical community composed of teenagers, illiterate adults, and Augustine’s own mother. I begin with the question, “who can do philosophy?” and walk through the dialogues’ discussion of race, gender, educational background, age, and class. I then turn to teaching techniques on display in the dialogues’ discussions, which flesh out what philosophical study looks like for nonelite students. I close by using my own experience of teaching nonelite students to reflect on how Augustine’s experimental philosophical community can help reframe thinking about P4C and public philosophy today.
19. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 3
Cristina Cammarano On Philosophizing as Education
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In my article I offer an argument in favor of philosophy as a practical activity that is intrinsically educative. In responding to the crisis of our discipline, I make a case for a beneficial relationship between philosophy and the community, especially from the point of view of the discipline itself. I propose that the practicality of philosophy needs to be experienced in concrete activities involving others, therefore recasting the relation of theory to practice in the modality of translation as a never-completed task to take on. I suggest that philosophizing could be characterized by a position of vulnerability, which complicates notions of inside/outside, belonging, home, and dialogue. I offer examples drawn from my experience of integrating philosophical discussion with children (inspired by P4C pedagogy) in my college courses to suggest that philosophizing with others in varied contexts should be an integral part of education. By emphasizing the benefits accruing to undergraduate students and to the discipline itself from the practice, I do not intend to downplay or marginalize the voices and experiences of the children and teachers who are such an essential part of the practice. Rather than being a zero-sum game, the engagement of philosophy with the world expands and lifts the experience of everybody involved.
20. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 3
David J. Anderson, Patricia N. Holte, Joseph Maffly-Kipp, Daniel Conway, Claire Elise Katz The Development of Intellectual Humility as an Impact of a Week-Long Philosophy Summer Camp for Teens and Tweens: Preliminary Results
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This paper examines the impact of a week-long philosophy summer camp on middle and high school-age youth with specific attention paid to the development of intellectual humility in the campers. In June 2016 a university in Texas hosted its first philosophy summer camp for youth who had just completed sixth through twelfth grades. Basing our camp on the pedagogical model of the Philosophy for Children program, our aim was specifically to develop a community of inquiry among the campers, providing them with a safe intellectual space to be introduced to philosophy and philosophical discussion. In 2017 we launched a formal longitudinal study to determine what impact a week-long philosophy summer camp would have on teens and tweens. Examining quantitative and qualitative data collected from 2016–2020, we found that the camp has had a significant impact on the teenagers who have attended. In particular, we found that intellectual humility increased over the duration of their camp experience and that this increase correlates with an increased affinity for philosophy and philosophical discussion.