Category Archives: Pedagogy

Developing a New History of Philosophy

An immediate response to the title is: Do we need yet another history of philosophy?  Anyone vaguely familiar with their local library’s selections and new arrivals will have seen half a dozen such histories, ostensibly, at least.  For example, Anthony Kenny has recently put out a set of volumes, and there has even been the instantiation of a very ambitious attempt at a “History of Philosophy without Any Gaps” by Adamson.  Go beyond that, and there are more or less scholarly compilations by Bertrand Russell (much less), Frederick Copleston (more), and Will Durant (less).  Smaller chunks of history have been, in some respects, very competently done.  I stress the qualifier “in some respects,” a great example being A History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages by Etienne Gilson, which beautifully ties together a number of the ideas with theirs sources (and the relation of the ideas) and philosophers to their intellectual forbearers and inspirations.  However, that work fails as a history qua history.  Continue reading

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Filed under Education, History and Philosophy of Science, History of Philosophy, History of Science, Natural Philosophy, Pedagogy

The Value of Ayn Rand in an Introductory Philosophy Course

The discipline of philosophy is something to be held inviolate; the classroom likewise.  One might be inclined to ask, what is the function of teaching provocative material to an introductory level philosophy class?  There wouldn’t be, if the material didn’t have philosophical import.  If the material does have philosophical import, then why chose, at the very least, something that is provocative?  One important quality that philosophy is supposed to instill in intellectual thought, itself, is a dispassionate nature, whether in judgment or analysis.  Continue reading

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Reflection on a First-Year Professorship: An Experiment in Allowing Students to Choose Texts

This is the first of a number of reflections I hope to do on my first year as a professor of philosophy.  As of right now, I am through the first semester.  It’s been an interesting experience, to say the absolute least.  I don’t mean that simply in terms of outcomes of pedagogical experiments or common experiences of student discontent with grades, but also political and administrative stuff in addition. Continue reading

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Filed under Education, Pedagogy, Personal, Philosophy