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Unconventional teaching ideas that work: Teaching Experimental Philosophy to Undergraduate students (Helen De Cruz)

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I've been teaching a course on experimental philosophy to third-year undergraduates at Oxford Brookes University. The course is a mix of teaching the basics about statistical thinking and using statistical methods, and an introduction to experimental philosophy as an approach to answer philosophical queestions. Of all the courses I am teaching, this one has the most positive teaching evaluations, and also is the course that students put most effort in (as several students told me, they worked very hard on this course).  How the course is set up I teach this in weekly sessions for 2.5 hours in a seminar room with computers.  The course alternates between discussions about recent papers in experimental philosophy and practical sessions. The discussion sessions are in a seminar format. We look at recent works in experimental philosophy, such as Markus Kneer and Edouard Machery's recent paper on moral luck. We also discuss papers on what experimental philosophy is, such as Regina Rini's and Antti Kauppinen's work. I start each session by briefly walking students through the experimental setup of these papers, and the broader philosophical implications (because, not everyone does the reading although my sense is students have at least skimmed these papers). We then discuss whether the papers under consideration successfully establish what they set out to do. I also let students individually, or in groups, think about alternative ways to test the same claim (e.g., folk views on moral luck, whether being a utilitarian makes you morally better).  The aim of these theoretical sessions is to give students a good sense of how experimental philosophy works and what its limitations are. Usually, the discussions are engaged and occasionally students come up with wonderful ideas.  The practical sessions I start with a one-hour introduction (I know this is long, but it really does take some time, at least for me) to explain a particular. . .

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News source: The Philosophers' Cocoon

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