I haven't read all these posts in their entirety. And I don't know much about philosophy.
I am a teacher of middle school students (12-13 year olds). Most of the time it feels like we don't have enough time to teach the basics (math, eng, ss, sci). Foreign language is than highly recommended for most students. Sometimes kids don't have time for gym class (mine often have learning center in lieu of language or gym).
That being said..... we teach subjects by stacking information. The idea is to deconstruct a topic and break it into levels of understanding. Kids learn the basics one year and then add to the topic in following years.
What are the fundamental skills needed to begin the study of philosophy? Logic, cause and effect...? I really don't know. My guess is that a lot of these skills are being taught to students (with varying degrees of success) in the classes they have now. For example, a science lab involves the scientific procedures which seem to me to be good use of cause and effect, linear thinking, and other 'thinking' skills.
please don't read any of the replies.
none of the posts that I have replied to in the past two days even come close to the level of contribution you have made in these paragraphs.
i don't think i even have the credibility to even argue with this. everything i say would be rhetoric or wishful thinking in the face of this reply..
relating to your reply
I feel that students do learn "cause and effect, linear thinking, and other 'thinking' skills" through various classes, OF COURSE. I do not doubt that. but I feel as if these skills are not really being applied to real life situations and problems enough. that was my concern...
sure if students were told:
the bucket is 14 cubic centimeters, water is being poured in at 5 gallons/minute, how long would it take? Logic, linear thinking, look at example 3.8, done. but life's problems aren't like this, where there's values and problems given, and one equation that fits this perfectly that you can just "plug and chug"...
i'm also bringing into the question of what you said about basics
"Most of the time it feels like we don't have enough time to teach the basics (math, eng, ss, sci)."
perhaps we should re-think what "basics" is... if the TEACHERS, who actually knows this stuff, feel as if there are more things to drill into the heads than the children, how do you think the children feel about this pressure? is it healthy? is it working?
I guess it's working, from a teacher/professor's stand point; there's more and more university and college graduates every year, relative to the year before...
and i'm also bringing this about because, most universities are seeing the phenomenon of children not being "bright". I know you know since you are in the sphere of education, but others may not ; Harvard university actually sends out letters to their freshman students to slow down and enjoy life...(because some most intelligent and qualifying kids are failing to be insightful and creative.)
I, as a student, feel as if there are some redundancies in these "basic" classes that can be used to channel our time into something.... more tangible and constructive...
as of "stacking information," i was assuming this so called "philosophy class" would work sort of a "life skill" class, or a language class in high school where you just tell them what it is and that's all. Nothing serious, theoretical, and non-applicable to life (which is what i'm trying to avoid with this class)
i really don't know how this class will be structured. "What are the fundamental skills needed to begin the study of philosophy?"
I don't know, my guess is worse than yours would be.
but i think we need one. OR as i mention this for the first time,
teachers of every class actually makes their lecture based around life, only things that really help the children grow, weaving values, courage, ethics into every story they introduce...
but i remember high school vividly... teachers were fixated on saying facts and going on to meet the criteria required by state and neither parents have time to pack lunches so there's no hope there.
us students are being driven towards something the adults can't comprehend. school = success, that's how the adults today were brought up 50 years ago and it worked for them, why not their kids right? going to school used to mean guaranteed success, today, and so far in the near future, there isn't as much of success
as we'd like to think.
and to be a pessimist, i don't think it even worked back then after stating all of the above
... look what they have done to the world...
wasteland, species disappearing, weather, cars, skies... how OBVIOUS does our failures have to be??? (well we focus only on the success i guess; scientific method ftw)
wow, this was long for a reply that i started with, "i have nothing to say..."
maybe i should edit...