Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Latest issue of Teaching Philosophy

The latest issue of Teaching Philosophy is out, with lots o' good pedagogy stuff: assessing learning in online courses, 'inference blindness,' and the value of asking students what philosophy teaches. Full TOC below the fold:

Teaching Philosophy - Volume 36, Number 1 - 2013

Brian Huschle
The purpose of this study is to examine differences in attainment of learning outcomes between students who take a class in an online format as compared to students who take a similar class in a traditional classroom setting. While on the face of it the online learners appear to attain these outcomes to a higher degree, when we control for withdrawal rates between the two groups, as well as demographic differences related to age and class standing, we see that online learners no longer outperform classroom learners. We conclude that learner outcome attainment for the two delivery formats is similar for students who are more mature and/or are experienced college students. Inexperienced college freshmen, in contrast, better attain learner outcomes in a traditional classroom setting.

Debby Hutchins
Rationality has long been held to be the hallmark of what it means to be human. Consequently, the act of deductive inference—a central element of human reasoning—may be assumed to be natural. Not surprisingly, the study of formal logic has traditionally been regarded as essential for the philosophy major and recommended for many others. Yet both empirical study and pedagogical experience suggest that we deduce, on the whole, rather poorly. In fact, reasoning within formal systems seems to pose insurmountable difficulties for some students. In this article, I suggest that both classroom experience and psychological research point to the possibility of a logic-related learning disability which I refer to as inference blindness. I further suggest that the dual-mechanism theory proposed by Vinod Goel offers the best way of understanding deductive reasoning and that the application of this theory suggests a preliminary hypothesis regarding inference blindness.

James Pearson
This essay argues for the value of teaching a unit that questions what it is that philosophers teach as a way of encouraging students to reflect on the nature of philosophy. I show how using ancient philosophy to frame this unit makes it especially urgent, since an important (and often overlooked) consequence of Socrates’s demarcation of philosophy from oratory is that philosophers are not in a position to teach anything. I have found that students are eager to engage the challenge that this seems to pose for the contemporary philosophy classroom. Further, they can self-reflectively employ philosophical analysis to identify and critique ways of justifying what they learn from teachers of philosophy.
Anthony Shiver
In this paper I discuss card games designed to supplement or replace exercise sets on derivability and entailment in propositional logic. I present rules for two propositional logic card games that introduce chance and competition into discussions of propositional logic. The latter sections provide brief practical and theoretical notes on this kind of game, including ways courses that use these games can be more effective than courses that do not.

Leonard M. Fleck
This review discusses four recently published textbooks in health care ethics. The theme I emphasize here is that the more common health care ethics issues addressed in these texts are of enormous personal, political and professional relevance today. More specifically, these issues have been enormously socially divisive, as the rhetoric about “death panels” illustrates. A course in health care ethics ought to provide students (future citizens in a liberal, pluralistic, democratic society) with the skills they need to address these issues in a mutually respectful way with fellow citizens who disagree with them. Two of these textbooks provide a nice balance of articles over a suitable range of topics, including cases for discussion and much helpful pedagogical material. The third textbook is deficient in pedagogical resources. The fourth offers a distinctive cultural approach to addressing an array of bioethics issues, including religious perspectives.


Micah Baize
Donna Engelmann
Michael Goldman
Richard Greene
Debra Jackson
Richard Kamber
Donald J. Morse
Gordon B. Mower
John N. Vielkind
V. Alan White

1 comment:

  1. Looks great! The articles look really interesting and it's great that all the books reviewed are ones that really might be used in classes.


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