Displaying: 1-20 of 29 documents


introduction

1. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 4
Michael D. Burroughs

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articles

2. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 4
Nic R. Jones, Debi Talukdar, Sara Goering Orcid-ID

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There is a significant lack of diversity in philosophy, including an underrepresentation of women and people of color, and a dearth of philosophy programs that offer classes exploring philosophy outside the Western canon. This problem is further compounded by institutional racism, sexism, and ableism within philosophy pedagogy and practice and the perception that philosophy is an abstract subject suitable only for academically advanced students. If philosophy were made more accessible to a diverse group of students before they entered college, would it be possible to recruit more individuals from underrepresented groups into the field? In 2018, PLATO and the APA surveyed their members about their first exposure to philosophy. It was clear that early experiences—conversations with friends and family, books in grade school, and classes in high school—were pivotal moments that generated interest in philosophy. In this paper we describe some of these experiences and suggest that P4C programs, if done well, have the potential to help build a robust and inclusive K–12 to college philosophy pipeline by tapping into the natural interest children have in philosophical wondering.
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3. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 4
Sol Neely

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The Flying University, a prison education and reentry program that brings university students inside the prison for mutual and collaborative study, convenes with the assumed understanding that incarcerated peoples bear rich critical perspectives on the state of our communities as well as a philosophical potential to muster the resources necessary to heal communities in the wake of historical violence and transgenerational trauma. Rather than bringing incarcerated students into the purview of academic philosophy, the Flying University reverses these roles by recognizing that incarcerated peoples engage in daily philosophical scrutiny about a whole range of topics that traditional academic philosophy too often fails to comprehend with any depth. The Flying University enacts precollege philosophy as public practice by facilitating semester-long seminars that bring professional philosophers and university students into the prison—not so they can teach prisoners but listen to them. The guiding critical assumption of this practice follows Antonio Gramsci’s argument that what distinguishes “philosophers” from their opposite has less to do with intellectual activity and perspective and more to do with social status and credentials. A genuinely restorative philosophical praxis must solicit, within our community dialogues, the stories and voices of our incarcerated neighbors as “organic intellectuals.”
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4. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 4
John Torrey

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In this article, I provide an overview of the arguments for reparations for Black Americans, a topic that has gained significant steam in recent years, and offer a criticism of how reparations are commonly understood as financial compensation. I begin by providing the basic argument in support for reparations: Systemic racial injustices committed against Black Americans violated their rights; these violations should be considered an ongoing, enduring injustice; and such violations require restitution in the form of reparations. I argue that there are unforeseen problematic results of economic-repair-centered reparations programs, most concerning that the resources offered ignore the social or economic status of large portions of the Black communities they acknowledge harming. Offering two legislative attempts at reparations as examples, I argue that reparatory policies for Black Americans should utilize the framework of rectificatory justice in order to best attempt to set an unjust situation right.
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5. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 4
Senem Saner

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Philosophy for Children (P4C) practice and its distinctive method of cultivating communities of philosophical inquiry model two main functions of democratic civil society. Civil society makes explicit the implicit agreement of communal membership and common belonging and mediates the diverse interests and values of community members. An essential principle of civil society that underlies these two functions is that its members possess intrinsic and political equality, fostering a unique space for civic engagement and democratic will-formation. P4C programs enact these functions of civil society: as children encounter philosophical questions, speak their minds, listen to one another, disagree, and puzzle out the reasons for their disagreements, the main aim is that they engage in collaborative inquiry. I argue that free and open-access P4C programs at public libraries are microcosms of civil society in the serendipitous accidental coming together of strangers. These programs enact civil society insofar as they motivate and exercise civic virtues of collaboration and critical reflection by practicing community of inquiry through self-correcting dialogue.
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6. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 4
Jacqueline Mae Wallis, Orcid-ID Karen Detlefsen Orcid-ID

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In 2020, the University of Pennsylvania instituted a graduate certificate in public philosophy. In many ways, this certificate formalized and recognized the public engagement work that graduate students in the philosophy department and beyond had been involved with for some years. One element of the certificate, however, was pivotal in moving our work in public philosophy forward in important ways. This element is the research seminar in public philosophy. In this paper, we recount the motivation for the creation of the certificate and especially the motivation for the inclusion of the research seminar. We also explore ways in which such a certificate, along with the deliberately self-reflective work of the research seminar, might help us reimagine the nature and value of philosophy and its connection with human life and flourishing. We focus on metaphilosophical themes such as the very nature of philosophy and the philosopher as well as the importance of cultivating a new generation of academic philosophers committed to transcending the distinction between the academy and the public and, relatedly, between academic philosophy and public philosophy.
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book reviews

7. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 4
Johnathan Flowers Orcid-ID

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8. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 4
Rhiannon Love Orcid-ID

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9. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 4
Seth A. Jones

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introduction

10. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 3
Michael D. Burroughs

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articles

11. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 3
Cristina Cammarano Orcid-ID

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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.
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12. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 3
Erik Kenyon

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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.
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13. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 3
David J. Anderson, Patricia N. Holte, Joseph Maffly-Kipp, Daniel Conway, Claire Elise Katz Orcid-ID

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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.
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14. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 3
Asia Ferrin, Perry Zurn Orcid-ID

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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.
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15. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 2
Rika Tsuji Orcid-ID

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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.
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16. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 2
Erica Preston-Roedder Orcid-ID

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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.
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17. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 2
Bailie Peterson

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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.
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18. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 2
Ian Olasov

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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.
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19. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 2
Brian J. Collins

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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.
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20. Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice: Volume > 2
Rena Beatrice Goldstein Orcid-ID

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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.
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