Posts Tagged ‘teaching’

Here are two reasons high schools should support teaching philosophy.

1. It looks great on college applications. Colleges are looking for mature students who will buckle down and focus intensely four years—rather than 1.5, maybe 2 rustling together credits and a senior thesis. A (good) philosophy class offers students a kind of birds’-eye view on the whole of human knowledge, allowing them to carefully consider the overwhelming number of majors available to them in college, rather than haphazardly falling into one because the deadline is approaching.

2. Many, not all, philosophers claim to have been that student in high school who drastically underperformed and was always bored. Philosophy is boredom’s consolation. With the right teacher, truly bored students may find that intellectual excitement they need to reach their academic potential.

Universities and philosophy programs should also be embracing and promoting this movement. If more students in high school take philosophy, more will enroll in philosophy classes in college—and maybe even enjoy them, rather than commenting in their later years, “Yeah, I took a philosophy class; it was really interesting.” Furthermore, if more high schools taught philosophy, there would be more jobs for philosophers, who may steer undergraduates to philosophy courses in college, which in turn stimulates the applicant pool to graduate programs. This makes philosophy financially viable, encouraging bureaucratic university administrators to fund philosophy—another example of the grand circle of life.

Many high schools are already doing a wonderful job of integrating nuance and variety into the curriculum. They are teaching bioethics in science classes, CSI forensics, economics, and capital-investment classes, none of which I saw or could have imagined happening even a decade ago. However, something is still missing. We are showing our students how cool math and science can be, but at the heart of learning is a passion for knowledge, not simply a bag of tricks to impress our friends.  Let the kids into that world: teach them philosophy, or, even better, learn about philosophy with them!