Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Teaching Philosophy, 35.3

The newest issue of Teaching Philosophy is now available. Abstracts and contents follow below.

Teaching Philosophy - Volume 35, Number 3 - 2012

Available at:

Brian J. Huschle
The primary purpose of this study is to identify differences in at­tainment of learning outcomes for ethics courses delivered using two distinct teaching approaches. The first approach uses a case based method in the context of applied moral issues within medical practice. The second approach surveys moral theories in the context of applied moral issues. Significant differences are found in the attainment of learner outcomes between the two groups. In particular, attainment of outcomes related to moral decision-making is higher in those students who take the course with a case based method. In contrast, attainment of outcomes related to personal beliefs about applied moral issues is higher in those students who take an introductory ethics course surveying moral theories in the context of applied issues. Neither of these results is especially surprising. What may be surprising, however, is that students in the case-based course do not appear attain learner outcomes with regard to applied moral issues despite studying those issues in detail. Finally, the assessment tool developed and refined through this study may be of use for assessment in a variety of ethics courses.

Crystal L'Hôte
I describe and articulate the merits of an elegant supplemental exercise that I call “Philosophy in the Wild” (PW), which has students initiating a philosophical dialogue outside the classroom and critically reflecting on the results. The PW exercise is especially effective if used to reinforce philosophic texts which have dialogue as their form or as their subject matter (or both)—for instance, Plato’s Apology and Meno. However, the PW exercise is also an engaging, effective way simply to introduce students to the practice and the value of philosophy.

Jennifer McCrickerd
This paper is a critical examination of Daryl Close’s “Fair Grades” (2009). I dispute his view regarding the implications of accepting the purpose of grades as being fundamentally informational. I draw upon data identifying behaviors conducive to success and Carol Dweck’s work to argue for broadening what can be taken into account for a final grade. I argue that the informational purpose of final grades is preserved if we grade with an eye to encouraging general skills and dispositions conducive to success. Also, grading as Close recommends will discourage learning whereas using grades to reinforce positive behaviors is a fulfillment of our responsibility to enhance learning. I also address Close’s claims that curved grading and grade penalties for academic dishonesty are unfair and argue that neither of these practices necessarily corrupts final grades.

Daniel P. Malloy
Popular culture is ubiquitous. And referencing popular culture can be an excellent pedagogical tool. Used properly, it provides students with easily accessible examples—in some cases examples they have already been interested in. Given these facts, the creation and expansion of the literature on the intersection of popular culture and philosophy is not surprising. The purpose of these volumes has been controversial since their inception, but they do seem ideally suited as introductory texts. This essay examines four recent volumes in popular culture and philosophy as pedagogical tools. These volumes on Sherlock Holmes, Christmas, Dr. Seuss, and Facebook all offer unique and useful tools for the teacher attempting to introduce students to philosophy.


Timothy Chambers

David W. Drebushenko

Michael Goldman

Robert Gould

D. Micah Hester

Jeremiah Joven Joaquin

Jeffery Johnson

Sally Markowitz

Jennifer L. Woodrow

Mark Young

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