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Philosophy in School!

 
 
Reply Sat 7 Jun, 2008 10:13 pm
Should there be philosophy courses in high school? Does it seem ethical? :confused:
Lets pretend that there would be enough students interested unless you think otherwise, like me.Wink

Philosophy allows for intellect instead of the gathering of knowledge which I see students lacking. All I hear my classmates talking about is a reflection of the MSN conversation they had yesterday, or that game that just came out on xbox. So I believe that innovative advancement could potentially slow down. English class, to me isn't really good enough. It deals more with formal logic which always ends up dealing with books that have been analysed for the past 100 years anyways. We need debates and informal reasoning, its much more fun than memorizing formulas or reading books that I could read on my own time at home.
Highschool is an opportunity for teens to be all together in a classroom, there isn't any other place where that happens, so why no take the opportunity for us to argue our opinions and gain eachother's insight while coalesced.
Does philosophy class seem ethical to you?
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GoshisDead
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2008 12:48 am
@Holiday20310401,
Some high schools have philosophy courses, of course, most do not. The main reason I would assume that high schools avoid formal philosophy is that it is not practical or trade driven. The trend in modern education, especially in America, is towards vocational teaching. The core college prep curriculum is still maintained but non core classes are less and less abstract and/or artistic.

Many here would probably argue that philosophy is more of a science than an art, and really it is neither, however most people in education functionally perceive it as an art, inasmuch as it is deemed esoteric, undefinable, and most of all impractical. This being said, I would love to send my kids to a school where Philosophy was a core curriculum class. Its practicality lies not in its ability to measure, define, interpret, or prove; its practicality is contained in its own process. Philosophy, when taught and practiced well trains a mind much in the way exercise trains the body. If a teacher would like a student to think for him/herself, find new and creative ways to solve problems teach her philosophy.

At the peril of ranting, the third reason philosophy is probably not taught in high school is because unlike sciences humanities and vocational classes there is no definitive right and wrong when it comes to testing. In a different vein, unlike the arts, formal philosophy cannot be judged on pure aesthetic theory. Thus the evaluative testing/performances required by state and federal law become very difficult, especially if philosophy is taught right by the teacher and practiced right by the student.
urangutan
 
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Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2008 06:05 am
@GoshisDead,
Nice one GoshisDead. Are you saying in the term 'teach her philosophy', teach the teacher or the pupil.

I don't know Holiday. I don't feel that learning philosophy is reading Plato or Socrates and understanding it. I don't imagine that any of them were great philosophers at sixteen and being philosophical is more of an awakening than being indoctrinated.

I imagine that it would be wiser to teach children philosophically rather than teach them philosophy. It could be applied to a broader spectrum of education.
Khethil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 8 Jun, 2008 06:36 am
@urangutan,
There's a practical side to philosophy that can benefit just about anyone. I think its a great idea. Presented properly, it can have tremendous benefits for young adults and the adult society they'll ultimately comprise.
Critz
 
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Reply Thu 31 Jul, 2008 01:50 pm
@Khethil,
To work on what was being said above- in this wonderfully politically correct world of ours, when there is highschool philosophy class, it is NOTHING like what im assuming you wan't it to be. In Catholic school, for example, you would study and memorize 10 reasons why god exists (no, im not making that up)- little room for debate, and the rest of the course proceeds much the same way. In public school, however, philosophy was little more then a more specialized history course, where only the concrete was taught (irony?) such as the life of famous philosophers, dates, and very brief overviews of individual beliefs.
Aswell, marking the course would (I'de assume) be hell on earth. Would the mark be based in participation and the logic you use in essays? Unless teachers have something concrete to stick too, the marking scheme would probably be highly reliant on favoritism and the loudest arguer. And concrete is hardley something that should ever be used to describe philosophy today.
Deftil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Aug, 2008 05:05 am
@Holiday20310401,
I definitely feel that some general, at least survey-like philosophy courses should be taught at the high school level.

Thinking philosophically can be a fun and useful skill to have. When I was younger, I thought I was interested in philosophy, but my interests in it quickly fell by the wayside because they weren't nurtured in school. I kind of feel like that is a shame.

Somewhat specifically, I find that philosophical thought and a knowledge of the history of philosophical thought can be particularly useful in regards to political thought, something I think all citizens should do at least some of. To be blunt, I feel that a lot of Americans are politically ignorant, and this can be attributed in part to the fact that they haven't been properly acquainted with philosophical thinking.

I'm reminded of the proverb "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."
Instead of just giving them knowledge, which is useful, but most of which they will forget, we could also give them the ability to think and learn for themselves, which is a skill that they can benefit from throughout their lifetime.

Do you think many Americans would have concerns about high school philosophy classes possibly fostering atheism or agnosticism in children, and therefore oppose it? I mean so many people have a problem with evolution being taught in school, I have to wonder.
Victor Eremita
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Aug, 2008 05:28 am
@Deftil,
It's probably not safe to discuss theological questions in high school; besides that, survey courses in metaphysics, epistemology, and history of philosophy are good non-politically charged topics.

My city's school board has an agreement with one of the universities. Grade 11 or 12 students can take Philosophy 12 and learn metaphysics, epistemology, and the history of philosophy from Plato to Derrida. When they pass the final exam, they earn transfer credit for 1st year philosophy. (this was probably the selling point for keeners to get ahead in their studies lol)

They didn't have this when I was in high school. Oh well, good for the students anyways.
Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2008 08:26 am
@Victor Eremita,
A basic logic course should be taught in high school along with a survey course that pertains to the history of philosophy. The class would pretty much be structured like this: here are a bunch of philosophers that lived during these dates. Here is what they had to say. There is no reason why this could not work in a pre-college school setting.

Ethics is another subject that could be taught to advanced high school juniors and seniors. Hell, everyone should be trained to look at many different perspectives ethically. Maybe people's interpersonal relationships would improve as a result.
urangutan
 
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Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2008 08:57 am
@Theaetetus,
I somehow think that many of you are missing the point of an education. To start teaching higher school students philosophy, is a waste of taxpayer dollars. Most students do not go on with an education for the myriad of reasons that exist, of which less that do, will continue the line of study that you so wish to enrich them with and your only point of salvation is that an even less percent will ever read again but they can be counted on, to look at the work that they do read in a different light. Ever tried fishing off a bridge that spans a great flowing river.

In New Zealand they are farming Tuna that they catch in nets then travel across the sea to the farming grounds and every now and again they have to enter the netted area to release sharks that have entered and are feeding on the prey. You have children in the farm for anything up to twelve or thirteen years, why wait till the end to enlighten them, when you can show them the path to enlightenment the whole time.
Theaetetus
 
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Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2008 09:14 am
@urangutan,
Its no more a waste of tax payers money teaching survey to philosophy courses to the students than literature, history, psychology, or any of the other arts or social sciences. Hell the argument could also be made that the same things are taught in cycles thus wasting tax payer money. The way math is taught best demonstrates this. Rather than learning 6x = 42 alongside 6 x 7 = ? students are taught the only thing that is important is the answer. Thus, students hit algebra and they are totally lost. The have no clue because the logic that they are trained with no longer makes sense.

The point is that school raises a bunch of easy to train for menial task automatons. They reason being is that most people are ok with underfunding education so that is all the system is really capable of doing. Of course, giving more money to bureaucrats that have no idea how to educate people to fix the system will only make it worse.
urangutan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2008 09:54 am
@Theaetetus,
Great Theaetetus but you are making my arguement more than than you think. Algebra is a problem because they are taught wrong from the start. If you think about what I am saying, it isn't to arrest the concept of teaching philosophy to high school students but to teach the children from the start in a more appropriate manner. Teach them so that algebra is not so difficult to grasp, science is not a scary monster, etc...etc... and you will find that philosophically, students will be better pupils. From this it would not matter what you offered in curriculum, the students would not have a fear or any missconceptions about thinking that it is a bludge subect that "jocks" think they will breaze.

All I see you arguing is just another limit placed on real education that must begin long before high school comes to a close.
Theaetetus
 
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Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2008 10:20 am
@urangutan,
urangutan wrote:
Great Theaetetus but you are making my arguement more than than you think. Algebra is a problem because they are taught wrong from the start. If you think about what I am saying, it isn't to arrest the concept of teaching philosophy to high school students but to teach the children from the start in a more appropriate manner. Teach them so that algebra is not so difficult to grasp, science is not a scary monster, etc...etc... and you will find that philosophically, students will be better pupils. From this it would not matter what you offered in curriculum, the students would not have a fear or any missconceptions about thinking that it is a bludge subect that "jocks" think they will breaze.

All I see you arguing is just another limit placed on real education that must begin long before high school comes to a close.


I see what you are saying now. I totally agree that we should start student young. Much like how the founding fathers are often introduced to American children with role playing etc, so could Socrates, Plato, etc.

This is the major problem with the fine arts and social sciences. They are introduce far too late in an academic setting for the intrinsic desire to learn a child possesses to trigger.
urangutan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2008 10:24 am
@Theaetetus,
Yes and it is the mindset that gets developed first, so we cannot afford to waste time in early years trying to program thought in the minds of the children but encourging it instead.

Sorry I needed to add, that it isn't the role of Plato or Socrates or any other philosopher to be added to the curriculum, just simply add the formation of ideas. Don't make the mistake of finding another program that follows through with Descartes in their fourth year of school. It isn't about introducing them to such works but being able to explain to them in their terms, what such people like Aristotle expressed to you.
0 Replies
 
clearthought
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2008 10:36 am
@Holiday20310401,
There definitely should be philosophy courses in high school. They can be applied to everyday life (e.g. rhetoric and logic) as well as advanced understanding. If we can have classes on sports medicine and the anatomy of crayfish, why not one of the largest fields of human knowledge: philosophy? In addition, I find it amazing that we don't have mandatory politics or civics courses so people actually know how their government works and what they can do.
urangutan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2008 11:05 am
@clearthought,
No offence Clearthought, it is still a case of the blind leading the blind. They should be applied to almost everyday school life from the begining. What you are promoting is nothing more than an elitism with thought, where it should be an elitism in thought.
Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2008 11:19 am
@urangutan,
Not too long ago, civics was required to graduate high school for many people. Most people like myself took it in 9th grade and it taught the concepts behind government and citizenship. No Child Left Behind killed the requirement.
de Silentio
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2008 12:04 pm
@clearthought,
clearthought wrote:
If we can have classes on sports medicine and the anatomy of crayfish, why not one of the largest fields of human knowledge: philosophy?


The long and short of it is that most High School students are not ready for the higher level thinking that Philosophy proper requires. Trust me, I've done philosophy lectures and exercises in multiple High School classrooms.

Every year I do a lecture and/or exercise on Plato in a World History class. The first year I did it, I was surprised by the number of students who just didn't care what I had to say. The next few years I tried to make my time with them more interesting, but overall they still didn't care.

Apparently Platonic Forms has nothing to do with Friday night's football game. Seriously though, it's hard for a High School student to relate to philosophical ideas because their frame of mind isn't geared in that direction yet. Most students don't realize the joys of knowledge until College.
Theaetetus
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2008 12:35 pm
@de Silentio,
de Silentio wrote:
The long and short of it is that most High School students are not ready for the higher level thinking that Philosophy proper requires. Trust me, I've done philosophy lectures and exercises in multiple High School classrooms.


The only reason for this is because students are trained to be little more than automatons. If they were taught the basics as younger children they would be prepared for the higher level of thinking necessary.

de Silentio wrote:

Every year I do a lecture and/or exercise on Plato in a World History class. The first year I did it, I was surprised by the number of students who just didn't care what I had to say. The next few years I tried to make my time with them more interesting, but overall they still didn't care.


That is because students are trained to not care what teachers have to say. The tests are more important as they count for something. They are trained accountability matters not their attention and interesting.

de Silentio wrote:

Apparently Platonic Forms has nothing to do with Friday night's football game. Seriously though, it's hard for a High School student to relate to philosophical ideas because their frame of mind isn't geared in that direction yet. Most students don't realize the joys of knowledge until College.


If a child's intrinsic desire to learn was taken advantage of, more students may actually care more about Platonic Forms than a football game. Most children are pushed towards sports at a young age, thus their lifelong love of spending large amounts of time absorbing commercials during sporting events.
0 Replies
 
Holiday20310401
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2008 03:50 pm
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus wrote:
Not too long ago, civics was required to graduate high school for many people. Most people like myself took it in 9th grade and it taught the concepts behind government and citizenship. No Child Left Behind killed the requirement.


Actually, where I live, we require a 3 month civics course in grade ten. It wasn't much though. In fact it was more of a laugh. Students didn't know who the prime minister was.:eek: Laughing

Everybody knew Bush though. :rolleyes:

And I agree that because the mindset is made early in the student's life that such social sciences and 'practical' courses should be taught early. Though I still have no clue what I want to do when I grow up.
clearthought
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2008 05:03 pm
@urangutan,
urangutan wrote:
No offence Clearthought, it is still a case of the blind leading the blind. They should be applied to almost everyday school life from the begining. What you are promoting is nothing more than an elitism with thought, where it should be an elitism in thought.


Hmm? Are you preposing we teach this subject matter before high school? Explain.
 

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