Monday, October 20, 2014 Using Civic Engagement in Philosophy Classes Resources for Using Civic Engagement in Philosophy Classes, launched with a grant from the American Philosophical Association, provides tools for faculty and students to implement activist or service projects in philosophy classes. 

It includes assignment guidelines, many sample projects, student testimonials, and data supporting use of civic engagement in philosophy classes. 

Founders Ramona Ilea, Susan Hawthorne, and Monica Janzen, of Pacific University Oregon, St. Catherine University, and Hennepin Technical College, respectively, support a model of student-initiated civic engagement that encourages student agency, development of skills for citizenship, and insight into the practice and importance of philosophical reasoning. 

Why try it in your classes? In the words of one student,  
“This [project] enabled me to become impassioned in a new way, and express my realizations, insights, in a different way than an academic exercise usually allows…This forum forced me to make connections I may not have necessarily made. And I am very pleased with the outcome.”

Monday, October 6, 2014

New in Teaching Philosophy: 'Team teaching the theism-atheism debate'


Wesley D. Cray, Steven G. Brown

Team-Teaching the Atheism-Theism Debate
In this paper, we discuss a team-taught, debate-style Philosophy of Religion course we designed and taught at The Ohio State University. Rather than tackling the breadth of topics traditionally subsumed under the umbrella of Philosophy of Religion, this course focused exclusively on the nuances of the atheism-theism debate, with the instructors openly identifying as atheist or theist, respectively. After discussing the motivations for designing and teaching such a course, we go on to detail its content and structure. We then examine various challenges and hurdles we faced, as well as some benefits we encountered along the way. Next, we discuss some informal data collected from the students enrolled in the course, some of which suggest some rather surprising outcomes. We conclude with some considerations of the applicability of this style of teaching to other philosophical debates.

Graphic on history of philosophy

Merrill Cook has created this very attractive graphic charting the history of philosophy. Do feel free to display and disseminate.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Teaching Philosophy seeks trustee

The Board of Trustees of the Teaching Philosophy Association, Inc. would like you to know about an opportunity to have an impact on the journal.  Teaching Philosophy Association, Inc. is the nonprofit organization that oversees the business of the journal Teaching Philosophy.  The Board is responsible for:
·         evaluation of and strategic planning for the journal;
·         authorizing and carrying out special projects;
·         appointing and providing guidance to the journal’s editors;
·         negotiating the publication contract for the journal.

Individual Trustees are required to prepare adequately for and attend annual and special meetings of the Board, and are encouraged to actively participate in activities of the journal such as serving as a reviewer, writing special columns, etc.

If you would like to join a warm and collegial group of individuals who are responsible for the premier journal devoted to the teaching of philosophy at all educational levels, please email* your teaching vita and a brief statement of interest including a description of your relation to the journal to: Nancy S. Hancock, President at
*Please use Word or PDF files.

Sincerely yours,

Nancy S. Hancock, President

Teaching Philosophy Association, Inc.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Request: Do you have good resources for teaching students how to read philosophy in an intro class?

A friend just asked me if I have any good resources for teaching intro students how to read philosophy? I thought readers of ISW might know of or be able to link to good resources. I have to confess I have never taught a true intro course -- the courses I teach for students who are not already majors are not designed to attract students to the major, so I tend to think this as the only encounter with philosophy most of them will have; and most of them are juniors and seniors who, certainly at my institution, have quite different  needs from first years. However, this is timely for me because I am currently piloting a course which will, eventually, be offered as an intro-level large lecture course.

Anyway, any advice would be appreciated.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Soliciting 'How to Teach' articles

No doubt many of you have been reading the 'How to Teach' series in Teaching Philosophy, articles dedicated to how to teach a particular philosophy course. Thus far, the journal has published articles on how to teach early modern philosophy, critical thinking, and comparative philosophy. There are plans for articles on how to teach business ethics and how to teach information technology ethics.

To that end, here are some areas where we'd like to see more articles in this series:

  • philosophy of science
  • medieval philosophy
  • phenomenology and existentialism, the Continental tradition
  • feminist philosophy
  • philosophy of mind
If you'd be interested in writing such an article (on one on another commonly offered philosophy course), please contact me at mjcholbi*at*csupomona*dot*edu.

Call for Abstracts: Experiential Learning

Call for Abstracts: Central APA Panel on Experiential Learning
Organized by the APA Committee on the Teaching of Philosophy
Deadline: September 25, 2014
The American Philosophical Association (APA) Committee on the Teaching of Philosophy invites abstracts for a panel on experiential learning in philosophy to take place at the Central Division meeting of the APA, February 18-21, 2015, in St. Louis, MO.
Philosophical work has traditionally involved armchair analysis, so the institutional request to think about designing a course with an experiential learning component can serve as a challenge to philosophers. Nevertheless, many philosophy teachers are thinking creatively about ways to incorporate field experiences, independent research, lab work, experimental work, service learning, and community-based learning into their courses. Through this session, the Committee hopes to share interesting examples of such courses and consider the theoretical questions that surround this pedagogy.