Philosophy is good for the soul


Analytic Teaching and Philosophical Praxis is pleased to announce publication of its newest issue.  The six articles that make up the current issue of volume 38 survey a range of issues germane to the practice of successfully teaching critical thinking and philosophy.


Editor’s Notes

Jason J. Howard


“Philosophy in the (Gender and Law) Classroom,” pp: 1-16

Stella Tarrant and Dr. Laura D’Olimpio

“Power, Pedagogy and the “Woman Problem”: Ameliorating Philosophy,” pp: 17-28

Hilkje Charlotte Haenel


“Socratic Aporia in the Classroom and the Development of Resilience,” pp: 29-36

Stephen Kekoa Miller


“Matthew Lipman’s Model Theory of the Community of Inquiry,” pp: 37-46

Darryl M. De Marzio


“Engaging Science, Artistically,” pp: 47-61

Vadim Keyser


“Teaching Philosophy through Paintings: A Museum Workshop,” pp: 62-83

Savvas Ioannou, Kypros Georgiou, and Ourania Maria Ventista

Quiz to follow!!

2 thoughts on “Philosophy is good for the soul

  1. Haenel writes: “Most philosophers are similar to our armchair philosopher in their social position and therefore many answers philosophy has given reflect male, white, heterosexual, abled, and middle class ideas.
    This makes it very hard for anybody not fitting in this frame of the philosopher to succeed or even to be heard at all.”
    Any thoughts on this from our local philosophers? Carolyn Swanson? or John Black or Robert Pepper-Smith?

    John Black:
    Well, this is a series of empirical claims of dec(r)easing plausibility. It is probably true, at least of academic philosophers in North America, Europe and many of the latter’s former colonies, that most of them have similar social and economic positions – middle-class though not usually wealthy.

    To some extent this fact may influence the range of views they express, though not to the extent the writer implies. I believe the stats bear out the implication that most such philosophers are male, though the situation is not as extreme as it once was; most are white because of the ethnic spectra of the countries in which we have assumed that the term “philosopher” applies; my guess is that the proportion of heterosexual and abled philosophers reflects the general population, so the implication about those characteristics is probably false.

    However, be these demographic facts as they may, the nature of philosophical practice militates against the claim that they restrict the range of views expressed by philosophers. For one thing, most of the topics pursued by philosophers, in for example logic, epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, etc. are too abstract for competing views to be classified as “white” etc. The claim might gain a little traction in connection with discussions of moral, political and aesthetic value, since it is more plausible to suggest that values are affected by socio-economic position, but to determine whether it is true we would need an elaborate study of what values philosophers actually espouse: it cannot simply be assumed to be true because of demographic facts.

    Further, it needs to be pointed out that it is generally characteristic of philosophers, as a result of the form of their training, that they have the ability to see and understand views contrary to their own, not only within philosophical discourse, but also outside it. Some are less charitable than others, but the principle of charity towards competing views is strongly embedded in the practice of philosophical discourse – in most contexts it is a condition of being taken seriously as a philosopher. Hence philosophers tend to be more immune than others to the temptations of bias, prejudice and conceptual hegemony.

    Finally, the ultimate conclusion appears ambiguous. Is it referring to philosophical discourse or discourse in general? For the reasons given above, and allowing that to a small extent philosophical discussions of value may be infected by socio-economic position, I think it is generally not true that philosophical discourse refuses entry to views whose adherents do not fit the socio-economic profile which is being criticised. It is generally true that contribution to philosophical discourse, in so far as it is institutionalised in universities, journals, publishing etc., is restricted to those who have a philosophical training, or at least something like it. In this philosophy does not differ from another professions. But this restriction is about level of expertise, not socio-economic position, and it does not operate on any criteria to do with demographic profile.

    If the writer is talking about discourse in general, on the other hand, it seems patently obvious that philosophers have no privileged access to the various media in which this is conducted publicly. Rather the opposite in fact, since calm, impartial, analytical and above all reason-based discussion does not make for impactful newspaper copy, radio, television, or social media entries.

    Bob: feel free to quote this on you blog if you like.


  2. Logic is immune from gender, race, colour, height, income, church affiliation, sexual preferences, and age.

    E.g., Modus ponens, a short form of modus ponendo ponens (Latin for “the way that affirms by affirming”; generally abbreviated to MP or modus ponens) is a rule of inference in propositional logic. It is also called implication elimination as this inference rule can be used to replace the condition by the consequence in the arguments. It can be summarized as “(1) (P implies Q) and (2) (P) are asserted to be true, and therefore Q must be true.” The history of modus ponens goes back to antiquity.

    Modus ponens is closely related to another valid form of argument, modus tollens. Both have apparently similar but invalid forms such as affirming the consequent, denying the antecedent, and evidence of absence. Constructive dilemma is the disjunctive version of modus ponens. Hypothetical syllogism is closely related to modus ponens and sometimes thought of as “double modus ponens.”


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