Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Course to Teach University Students to Engage Philosophically with High Schoolers

The University of Pennsylvania is offering a course that will teach undergraduates how to teach philosophy to high school students. The course, “Public Philosophy & Civic Engagement,” is one of the university’s “Academically Based Community Service” courses. According to The Daily Pennsylvanian, the course will be taught by Michael Vazquez, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Philosophy who is also a member of the University of Pennsylvania’s Project for Philosophy for the Young. In his course, students will spend a part of each class figuring out how to distill complex philosophical ideas to high school students in an exciting way, and they will then go to teach philosophy in a Philadelphia high school once a week. According to the course syllabus, students will learn and teach topics from moral and political philosophy that relate to living in a democratic society, such as civic duties and obligations, patriotism, propaganda, and civil disobedience.  “We’re going to let the high school students dictate the sort of questions we want them to ask,” Vazquez said, adding that the Penn students will develop lesson plans that are shaped by high school students’ interests. By the end of the semester, Vazquez added, the high school students will write philosophical op-eds based on what they learned from the Penn students, and they will hopefully be able to publish these op-eds and present them at Penn.  In the Daily Pennsylvanian article, [More]

Why Aren’t Ethicists More Ethical?

By Michael J. Sigrist Eric Schwitzgebel, a philosopher at University of California, Riverside, and a prolific blogger, has stirred up some controversy by studying whether ethics professors are morally better than others. As you might imagine, this is not a straightforward task. How do you measure how moral someone is? Schwitzgebel looks at indicators that [More]

Free Philosophy Book for Swedish Students

All third-year high school students in Sweden can claim a free copy of Alternative facts: On Knowledge and Its Enemies, by Stockholm University philosophy professor Åsa Wikforss. The book (in Swedish: Alternativa fakta. Om kunskapen och dess fiender) was published in 2017, and addresses questions in epistemology with an eye towards critical thinking, knowledge resistance, the media, disinformation, and propaganda. The publisher, Fri Tanke, explains why it is offering students free copies of the book: Threats to knowledge are a growing problem in large parts of the world, even in Sweden. After the 2016 US presidential election, many caught the eye of how dangerous and effective it can be to use fake news and to highlight “alternative facts”. To base our perception of reality on facts is crucial and when knowledge is threatened it has consequences. We see how the measles spread again as a result of vaccine resistance, how climate deniers delay important efforts to counter global warming, and how the new technology is used to spread propaganda and undermine democratic society. The book, Alternative Facts, can be a tool for tackling development and helping students discern lies from truth.  The book is not party-political at all. It takes a stand for knowledge, facts and objective truth. It takes a stand against post-truth, ignorance, disinformation and propaganda. The initiative is funded by the publisher along with two of its executives, banker Sven Hagströmer [More]

The Importance of Gratitude

By Andrew Fiala Gratitude lubricates social relations. To say thanks is to express gladness. But gratitude is also a spiritual capacity that lightens and energizes. Some call it the wine of the soul. When we drink it, we want to share it with others. Social rituals revolve around thankfulness. We thank people throughout the day [More]

Coming in 2020: Gallery of Art and Philosophy

New Philosopher, a popular philosophy magazine based in Australia, is in the process of creating a new art space “devoted to the representation of philosophical ideas.” The magazine acquired a former Victorian Gothic church that housed an existing art gallery in Hobart, the capital city of Tasmania, Australia, and will be converting it into the Gallery of Art and Philosophy (GAAP). The gallery will be accepting submissions from artists “whose works fulfil the philosophical requirements of GAAP, which include such aspects as the study of reality, existence, and the search for wisdom,” according to New Philosopher. It will also display art by the artists featured in New Philosopher and its sister magazine, Womankind. GAAP will open sometime in 2020. More information here. The post Coming in 2020: Gallery of Art and Philosophy appeared first on Daily [More]

Philosophy and Skiing

A new project that combines documentary film-making, extreme skiing, and philosophy, has been seeing some success. The project is a short film called Comfort Zones. It was co-produced by Philip Ebert, a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Stirling, Scotland, and also one of the skiers featured in the film. The film also includes an interview with Laurie Paul, professor of philosophy and cognitive science at Yale University. The movie, released earlier this year, has been positively reviewed (for example) and featured in a number of film festivals. It is just over ten minutes long. You can check it out at the end of this post. I asked Dr. Ebert if he could say a little about the film. Here’s what he shared: In April 2018, I found myself wearing my ski outfit and clipped into my skis in the middle of my hometown’s shopping centre staring down a slowly approaching camera. This was, arguably, the only time when I would have preferred being in my office marking philosophy exams than being involved in a ski movie. The rest was a blast: over six beautiful days that winter we gathered footage for a Scottish ski movie with film-maker Stefan Morrocco. The initial script was simple: trace the progression from a resort skier to an off-piste “steep” skier, while also highlighting the beauty of the rarely skied Scottish mountains. Somehow, however, through our conversations driving to the mountains, the movie’s script started to change and we included more [More]

The Humanitarian Crisis of Deaths of Despair

Last April, Princeton University economists and married partners Anne Case and  Sir Angus Deaton delivered the Tanner Lectures on Human Values at Stanford University. The title of their talks, “Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism,” is also the provisional name of their forthcoming book, to be published in 2020. The couple’s research has focused on disturbing mortality data for [More]

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