Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Input Sought on New Questions for Upcoming PhilPapers Survey of Philosophers

A draft of the follow-up to the 2009 Philpapers survey of philosophical positions held by academic philosophers on various topics includes about 70 new questions. The survey’s creators, David Bourget (Western University) and David Chalmers (NYU), are seeking input from members of the profession about the new questions. (Previously.) The new survey will include the original 30 questions, plus 10 new ones that will be asked of all respondents, and 60 new ones that will each be asked of 25% of the respondents. So each respondent will be asked to answer around 55 questions. They will also be given the option to answer more, up to the total of around 100 questions. Here are the original 30 questions: A priori knowledge: yes or no? Abstract objects: Platonism or nominalism? Aesthetic value: objective or subjective? Analytic-synthetic distinction: yes or no? Epistemic justification: internalism or externalism? External world: idealism, skepticism, or non-skeptical realism? Free will: compatibilism, libertarianism, or no free will? God: theism or atheism? Knowledge: empiricism or rationalism? Knowledge claims: contextualism, relativism, or invariantism? Laws of nature: Humean or non-Humean? Logic: classical or non-classical? Mental content: internalism or externalism? Meta-ethics: moral realism or moral anti-realism? Metaphilosophy: naturalism or non-naturalism? Mind: physicalism or non-physicalism? Moral judgment: cognitivism or non-cognitivism? Moral motivation: internalism [More]

Teaching Students How To Ask Philosophical Questions

“Question asking… is a skill all-too-often undervalued in philosophy pedagogy and philosophy pedagogy research” So writes Stephen Bloch-Schulman (Elon) in a recent post at the Blog of the American Philosophical Association, in which he reports on video-conference he held on the teaching of philosophical question-asking. Observations from the video-conference include: “How important teaching a single distinction is and how it can, if infused into subsequent dialogue, lead to sharper questions.” “Categorizing types of questions is a useful way to help students get a handle on what can feel to them like an amorphous knack that some people have and others lack” “One particularly useful strategy asked students to think from others’ perspectives to try to voice what others might ask in a particular circumstance.” Professor Bloch-Schulman writes that, “In the end, there was little consensus about whether and to what extent we can teach, and ought to teach and grade, question-asking as a skill.” Given the centrality of question-asking to philosophy, the relative neglect of this subject in the study of philosophical teaching is surprising. It would be useful to hear from those who have experience with or thoughts about teaching students to ask philosophical questions. What makes for a better or worse philosophical question and how do you convey this to your students? What assignments or exercises do you have students [More]

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