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Sunday, 11 April 2021 - 11:24am

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sun, 11/04/2021 - 11:24am in

Lately, I have been mostly reading:

Free little library. Annandale.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 17/03/2021 - 10:07am in

Tags 

Books, library, reading

Free little library. Annandale.

Unconventional Readings in Undergraduate Philosophy Courses

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 05/03/2021 - 11:49pm in

Plato? Check. Descartes? Check. Hume? Check….

The typical introductory level undergraduate philosophy course will have a reading list of rather familiar historical and contemporary philosophers. That makes sense—they’re philosophy courses, after all, and the philosophers we’re familiar with are familiar to us because of the value so many people have found in their works.


[Zola Weinberg, untitled (detail)]

But not all valuable works are popularly recognized as such. There are probably all sorts of texts that would be suitable for a variety of  philosophy courses that most philosophy professors haven’t thought to include.

Brandon Boesch, assistant professor of philosophy at Morningside College, would like to hear about them. He sent in a question for the readers of Daily Nous:

What is an ‘unconventional’ reading that you enjoy teaching in undergraduate courses that others might want to be aware of?

What’s an “unconventional” reading? Let’s err on the side of inclusivity: if you’re not sure whether a reading is unconventional for a philosophy course, assume for the purposes of commenting here that it is. Dr. Boesch offers a couple of examples:

I teach David Foster Wallace’s essay “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again” in an intro level class and use it to talk about our relationship with leisure and the role of leisure in human life. When I’ve talked to others, I’ve gotten really cool recommendations that I’ve incorporated into my classes, including Stephen Jay Gould’s “The Median Isn’t the Message“. 

Readers, please tell us about the unconventional readings you assign—title, author, and a brief explanation of why you teach them. Thanks!

Related: Philosophy Data from the Open Syllabus ProjectA Flowchart of Philosophical Novels and StoriesDiversity Reading List for PhilosophyA Collection of Stories for Teaching Ethics


Sunday, 21 February 2021 - 12:12pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sun, 21/02/2021 - 12:12pm in

This fortnight, I have been mostly reading:

Sunday, 7 February 2021 - 5:05pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sun, 07/02/2021 - 5:05pm in

In the last few months, I have been mostly reading newspaper headlines:

Sunday, 13 December 2020 - 5:29pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sun, 13/12/2020 - 5:29pm in

This who-knows-for-how-long, I have been mostly reading:

Sunday, 15 November 2020 - 5:18pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sun, 15/11/2020 - 5:18pm in

This fortnight, I have been mostly reading:

Sunday, 1 November 2020 - 4:28pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sun, 01/11/2020 - 4:28pm in

This week, I have been mostly reading:

Sunday, 25 October 2020 - 5:08pm

Published by Matthew Davidson on Sun, 25/10/2020 - 5:08pm in

This week, I have been mostly reading:

A Pandemic Ethics Book Club with the General Public (guest post by Jesse Hamilton)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 21/10/2020 - 11:53pm in

“If philosophy is to thrive, it must be sensitive and responsive to the world it is meant to engage with. The non-philosophers in our reading group shed light on a world that may be difficult for us philosophers to see and point out aspects of  lived experiences that we may not have access to.”

In the following guest post*, Jesse Hamilton, a Ph.D. student in philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, talks about a novel way to bridge the gap between academic philosophy and the general public.

A Pandemic Ethics Book Club with the General Public
by Jesse Hamilton

Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.
-Karl Marx, Eleventh Thesis on Feuerbach

I am a Ph.D. student studying moral and political philosophy, and I know a moral dilemma when I see one. I am also an Iraq War veteran who knows what it is like to be on the front lines and live with the consequences of my moral decisions. The pandemic has put us all on the front lines of a morally murky world and left the general public with questions about what they ought to do. The University of Pennsylvania Philosophy Department’s “Pandemic Ethics” Book Club attempts to help them answer those questions.

Engaging with the general public on topical moral and political issues is vital in a liberal democracy. Moreover, if there was ever a time when our communities needed this type of engagement, it is now. But this initiative aspires to do more than than just deliberate about a topical issue. Our current book club is the first step in a series of public reading groups that aim to bridge the gap between academic philosophy and the general public. The mission is simple: Bring together a diverse group of graduate students and philosophy professors with a diverse group of people outside of academia and discuss topics of philosophical interest.

Accessible philosophy writing is critical to public engagement. Our group is  currently  reading  Pandemic Ethics by Ben Bramble (ANU) and holds weekly meetings over Zoom. We have twenty-five total participants—five philosophers and twenty non-philosophers. The philosophers contribute the theoretical perspective and lead the breakout room discussions. The non-philosophers are a diverse group of working professionals—teachers, nurses, lawyers, corporate executives, local legislators, and retirees—and contribute their real  world perspective. Some participants in the group make pandemic-related decisions that affect thousands of people. Indeed, many joined because they acknowledge the moral importance of their daily decisions. Others joined because they have a general interest in discussing philosophy. Regardless of why they joined, each book club participant will be well-prepared for an inevitable Thanksgiving Day pandemic debate with their crazy uncle.

This public engagement is more than just philosophy shifting the world. How can the world shift philosophy? This is a question worth exploring and requires us to get our hands dirty. If philosophy is to thrive, it must be sensitive and responsive to the world it is meant to engage with. The non-philosophers in our reading group shed light on a world that may be difficult for us philosophers to see and point out aspects of lived experiences that we may not have access to. This allows us to see how our ethical theories, concepts, and arguments play out in real-time in a real crisis.

Dr. Bramble made his book available free of charge, and our team is making all the materials we have used to get our book club up and running available to anyone who wants them. Please contact Jesse Hamilton (jesseham@sas.upenn.edu) to receive more information or to join a session, held on Thursdays, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM ET. All are welcome, and feel free to invite a non-philosopher, too—the more, the merrier.

Special thanks to Chetan Cetty, Karen Detlefsen, Allauren Forbes, Julian Gould, Sukaina Hirji, Paul Musso, Tyler Re, Jacqueline Wallis, Daniel Wodak, and Elise Woodard for inspiration, support, feedback, and participation.

The post A Pandemic Ethics Book Club with the General Public (guest post by Jesse Hamilton) appeared first on Daily Nous.

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