This paper describes a project I have my students do that is based on parallels between the position Socrates describes himself as being in when addressing the charge that he corrupts the youth of Athens and the position critics of capitalism in the U.S. are in when they try to make the case that capitalism is a deeply flawed system that needs to be transformed into something better. For the project, students are asked to give to three audiences of their own choosing a presentation in which they argue against capitalism. The main aim of the project is to help students to appreciate that although the unexamined life may not be worth living, living an examined life can be difficult to do since it can feel a little like dying.
Christopher A. Pynes
Overwhelmingly, students desire the opportunity to earn extra credit because they want higher grades, and many professors offer extra credit because they want to motivate students. In this paper, I define the purposes of both grading and extra credit and offer three traditional arguments for making extra credit assignments available. I follow with seven arguments against the use of extra credit that include unnecessary extra work, grade inflation, and ultimately paradox. I finish with an example of a case where extra credit could be justified, although it relies on an important equivocation. Ultimately, I show that extra credit is neither a pedagogically sound nor a conceptually coherent grading practice, and I conclude that extra credit should not be part of the pedagogical toolbox.
Sinclair A. MacRae
The Cooperation Game
In this paper I explain how to play and administer a game that helps teach students a lesson about the value of cooperation and the role of ethics and the law in obtaining the conditions under which cooperation is reasonable. I also discuss several applications of this Cooperation Game, primarily in courses in social and political philosophy, introductory ethics, and the philosophy of law. The game can usefully be played with a range of groups of students from small tutorial sections to large sections over one hundred, and the game and post-game analysis can be completed in one or two classes.
This article articulates a range of possible pedagogical goals for courses in comparative philosophy, and discusses a number of methods and strategies for teaching courses intended to achieve those ends. Ultimately, it argues that the assignment to teach comparative philosophy represents an opportunity to design a course with remarkable freedom and tremendous potential. Comparative philosophy courses can engage students in unique ways that not only increase their understanding of the fundamental assumptions and beliefs of non-Western traditions, but also facilitate the development of the skills and dispositions that enable them to become better philosophers.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
New articles in Teaching Philosophy
New articles, from v. 37, no. 2, of Teaching Philosophy are now online. Abstracts below: