Category Archives: Education

Feynman on the Necessity of Philosophy for the Progress of Physics

Serendipity often leads to some of our most fruitful realizations, creative ideas, and understanding —and are even responsible for our most citation-worthy bits of supporting information.  Such is the case to be discussed here.  It so happened that, just after writing the blog in response to Neil deGrasse Tyson’s ignorant position on philosophy, I read Richard P. Feynman’s The Character of Physical Law to unwind.  The Nobel laureate was always notoriously, even devilishly, anti-philosophy. Continue reading

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Filed under Education, Philosophy, Physics, Popular Science, Science

Mathematics Education: What in the World Is the Point?

There seems to be some question, in the minds of some (many?), about the value of teaching mathematics in middle and high school, and even whether we should, as a society, continue to institute such education.  Being a science- and mathematics-trained philosopher (and, in some attenuated sense, an historian), I usually find myself defending the humanities against the pervading scientism of, “what’s the point of all these poems, stories, and philosophizing; what does it do, from a practical standpoint?”  When I hear the question, “why should we teach the general populace mathematics beyond elementary school?” I become thoroughly disconcerted —can’t we see the value in any intellectual activity?  I came across the TEDx video by John Bennett (below), in which he says, ‘I am a middle school and high school math teacher, but I have to tell you something: I don’t think what I teach is very important.  In fact, if it were up to me, I would no longer require math to be taught in middle school or high school.’ Continue reading

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Filed under Education, Mathematics

(Humorous) Anecdote from within the Walls of a Department of History and Philosophy of Science

One of the fascinating things about the discipline of history and philosophy of science is that, while it is, in some respects, truly an integrated discipline, there are other respects in which it is not.  In fact, I would call the process of integrating history of science and philosophy of science a kind of “tension,” which bears the seeds of incredible fruit and creativity.  I love this aspect of the discipline.  Continue reading

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Filed under Education, History and Philosophy of Science, Personal

Review of American Public University

Since, naturally, my experiences at American Public University (APU)[1] were limited, this review will be limited.  I do not claim it to be a sweeping, all-encompassing review of the institution.  I’ll begin by explaining the kinds of coursework I did at APU, what I intended to get out of it, and the general nature of my educational relationship with APU.  I will end with my assessment of the quality of the programs and school. Continue reading

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Filed under Education, Personal

Equal Opportunity via Philosophy

There is much talk about bringing equality to females and minorities, that is, providing equal footing and a fair chance to all.  I hear a number of claims about what the problems are, and some of these have studies to support them.  Many of them boggle my mind, because they don’t correspond to my personal experience, not that my experience is exhaustive by any means.  I have given a bit of thought to all of this, and I find it likely that there are many destabilizing factors that need accounting for, before the envisaged can be achieved.  To present my case and line of thought, maybe I can supply an anecdote, and provide some commentary, and go from there. Continue reading

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Filed under Education, Personal, Philosophy