How To Run A Philosophy Salon (thinkPhilosophy Book 101)

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Given that his claim that the associative principles explain the important operations of the mind is an empirical one, he must admit, as he does in the first Enquiry , that he cannot prove conclusively that his list of associative principles is complete. Perhaps he has overlooked some additional principle. We are free to examine our own thoughts to determine whether resemblance, contiguity, and causation successfully explain them.

The more instances the associative principles explain, the more assurance we have that Hume has identified the basic principles by which our minds work. Aristotle — BCE drew an absolute categorical distinction between scientific knowledge scientia and belief opinio. Scientific knowledge was knowledge of causes and scientific explanation consisted in demonstration —proving the necessary connection between a cause and its effect from intuitively obvious premises independently of experience.

Even so, they accepted his distinction between knowledge and belief, and regarded causal inference as an exercise of reason, which aimed at demonstrating the necessary connection between cause and effect. Malebranche — , and others following Descartes — , were optimistic about the possibility of demonstrative scientific knowledge, while those in the British experimental tradition were more pessimistic. Locke was sufficiently sceptical about what knowledge we can attain that he constructed one of the first accounts of probable inference to show that belief can meet standards of rationality that make experimental natural philosophy intellectually respectable.

Propositions concerning relations of ideas are intuitively or demonstratively certain. That the interior angles of a Euclidean triangle sum to degrees is true whether or not there are any Euclidean triangles to be found in nature. In sharp contrast, the truth of propositions concerning matters of fact depends on the way the world is. Asserting that Miami is north of Boston is false, but not contradictory. We can understand what someone who asserts this is saying, even if we are puzzled about how he could have the facts so wrong.

In the constructive phase , he supplies an alternative: the associative principles are their basis. Causal inferences are the only way we can go beyond the evidence of our senses and memories. In making them, we suppose there is some connection between present facts and what we infer from them. But what is this connection? How is it established? If the connection is established by an operation of reason or the understanding, it must concern either relations of ideas or matters of fact. Effects are different events from their causes, so there is no contradiction in conceiving of a cause occurring, and its usual effect not occurring.

Ordinary causal judgments are so familiar that we tend to overlook this; they seem immediate and intuitive. But suppose you were suddenly brought into the world as an adult, armed with the intellectual firepower of an Einstein. Could you, simply by examining an aspirin tablet, determine that it will relieve your headache?

When we reason a priori , we consider the idea of the object we regard as a cause independently of any observations we have made of it. Contrary to what the majority of his contemporaries and immediate predecessors thought, causal inferences do not concern relations of ideas.

Hume now moves to the only remaining possibility. Since we neither intuit nor infer a priori that similar objects have similar secret powers, our presumption must be based in some way on our experience. But our past experience only gives us information about objects as they were when we experienced them, and our present experience only tells us about objects we are experiencing now. Causal inferences, however, do not just record our past and present experiences.

They extend or project what we have gathered from experience to other objects in the future. Hume thinks we can get a handle on this question by considering two clearly different propositions:. The chain of reasoning I need must show me how my past experience is relevant to my future experience. I need some further proposition or propositions that will establish an appropriate link or connection between past and future, and take me from 1 to 2 using either demonstrative reasoning , concerning relations of ideas, or probable reasoning , concerning matters of fact.

However unlikely it may be, we can always intelligibly conceive of a change in the course of nature. That leaves probable reasoning.

Hume argues that there is no probable reasoning that can provide a just inference from past to future. Any attempt to infer 2 from 1 by a probable inference will be viciously circular—it will involve supposing what we are trying to prove. Hume spells out the circularity this way.

Philosophy of Architecture

Any reasoning that takes us from 1 to 2 must employ some connecting principle that connects the past with the future. Adopting [UP] will indeed allow us to go from 1 to 2. But before we can use it to establish that our causal inferences are determined by reason, we need to determine our basis for adopting it.

But to attempt to establish [UP] this way would be to try to establish probable arguments using probable arguments, which will eventually include [UP] itself. At this point, Hume has exhausted the ways reason might establish a connection between cause and effect. Having cleared the way for his constructive account, Hume is ready to do just that.

Hume maintains that this principle is custom or habit :. EHU 5. Custom and habit are general names for the principles of association. Hume describes their operation as a causal process: custom or habit is the cause of the particular propensity you form after your repeated experiences of the constant conjunction of smoke and fire. Causation is the operative associative principle here, since it is the only one of those principles that can take us beyond our senses and memories. Custom thus turns out to be the source of the Uniformity Principle —the belief that the future will be like the past.

Causal inference leads us not only to conceive of the effect, but also to expect it. What more is involved in believing that aspirin will relieve my headache than in merely conceiving that it will? If there were some such idea, given our ability to freely combine ideas, we could, by simply willing, add that idea to any conception whatsoever, and believe anything we like. Hume concludes that belief must be some sentiment or feeling aroused in us independently of our wills, which accompanies those ideas that constitute them.

It is a particular way or manner of conceiving an idea that is generated by the circumstances in which we find ourselves. If constant conjunctions were all that is involved, my thoughts about aspirin and headaches would only be hypothetical. For belief, one of the conjoined objects must be present to my senses or memories; I must be taking, or just have taken, an aspirin.

In these circumstances, believing that my headache will soon be relieved is as unavoidable as feeling affection for a close friend, or anger when someone harms us. While Hume thinks that defining this sentiment may be impossible, we can describe belief, if only by analogy, although he was never completely satisfied with his attempts to do so.

Belief is a livelier, firmer, more vivid, steady, and intense conception of an object.

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Hume intends these characterizations to go beyond merely recording intensity of feeling to capture how belief. The propensity is due to the associative bond that my repeated experiences of taking aspirin and headache relief have formed. Custom, Hume maintains, in language that anticipates and influenced Darwin,. In keeping with his project of providing a naturalistic account of how our minds work, Hume has given empirical explanations of our propensity to make causal inferences, and the way those inferences lead to belief.

To get clear about the idea of power or necessary connection, we need to determine the impressions that are its source. Hume identifies three possible sources in the work of his predecessors: Locke thought we get our idea of power secondarily from external impressions of the interactions of physical objects, and primarily from internal impressions of our ability to move our bodies and to consider ideas.

They are only occasions for God, the sole source of necessary connection, to act in the world. Hume rejects all three possibilities. When I decide to type, my fingers move over the keyboard. When I decide to stop, they stop, but I have no idea how this happens. Our command over them is limited and varies from time to time.

We learn about these limitations and variations only through experience, but the mechanisms by which they operate are unknown and incomprehensible to us. Malebranche and other occasionalists do the same, except they apply it across the boards. It also capitalizes on how little we know about the interactions of bodies, but since our idea of God is based on extrapolations from our faculties, our ignorance should also apply to him.

In our discussion of causal inference, we saw that when we find that one kind of event is constantly conjoined with another, we begin to expect the one to occur when the other does. Hume concludes that it is just this felt determination of the mind—our awareness of this customary transition from one associated object to another—that is the source of our idea of necessary connection.

When we say that one object is necessarily connected with another, we really mean that the objects have acquired an associative connection in our thought that gives rise to this inference. Having located the missing ingredient, Hume is ready to offer a definition of cause. In fact, he gives us two. The first,. A cause is an object, followed by another, where all the objects similar to the first are followed by objects similar to the second,. A cause is an object followed by another, and whose appearance always conveys the thought to the other,.

Only together do they capture all the relevant impressions involved. Hume locates the source of the idea of necessary connection in us , not in the objects themselves or even in our ideas of those objects we regard as causes and effects. In doing so, he completely changes the course of the causation debate, reversing what everyone else thought about the idea of necessary connection. Subsequent discussions of causation must confront the challenges Hume poses for traditional, more metaphysical, ways of looking at our idea of causation. He goes on to apply both his method, and its concrete results, to other prominent debates in the modern period, including probable inference, testimony for miracles, free will, and intelligent design.

He takes his primary task to be an investigation into the origin of the basic moral ideas, which he assumes are the ideas of moral goodness and badness. Determining their causes will determine what their content is—what we mean by them. His secondary concern is to establish what character traits and motives are morally good and bad. The sentiments of approval and disapproval are the source of our moral ideas of goodness and badness.

To evaluate a character trait as morally good is to evaluate it as virtuous; to evaluate it as morally bad is to evaluate it as vicious. As he did in the causation debate, Hume steps into an ongoing debate about ethics, often called the British Moralists debate, which began in the mid-seventeenth century and continued until the end of the eighteenth. He uses the same method here as he did in the causation debate: there is a critical phase in which he argues against his opponents, and a constructive phase in which he develops his version of sentimentalism.

Hume has two sets of opponents: the self-love theorists and the moral rationalists. He became the most famous proponent of sentimentalism. Hobbes, as his contemporaries understood him, characterizes us as naturally self-centered and power-hungry, concerned above all with our own preservation. In the state of nature, a pre-moral and pre-legal condition, we seek to preserve ourselves by trying to dominate others.

The way out is to make a compact with one another. We agree to hand over our power and freedom to a sovereign, who makes the laws necessary for us to live together peacefully and has the power to enforce them. While acting morally requires that we comply with the laws the sovereign establishes, the basis of morality is self-interest. According to Mandeville, human beings are naturally selfish, headstrong, and unruly. Some clever politicians, recognizing that we would be better off living together in a civilized society, took up the task of domesticating us. Realizing that we are proud creatures, highly susceptible to flattery, they were able to dupe many of us to live up to the ideal of virtue—conquering our selfish passions and helping others—by dispensing praise and blame.

Moral concepts are just tools clever politicians used to tame us. Two kinds of moral theories developed in reaction first to Hobbes and then to Mandeville—rationalism and sentimentalism. By the mid—eighteenth century, rationalists and sentimentalists were arguing not only against Hobbes and Mandeville, but also with each other. Hume opposes both selfish and rationalist accounts of morality, but he criticizes them in different works.

Either moral concepts spring from reason, in which case rationalism is correct, or from sentiment, in which case sentimentalism is correct. If one falls, the other stands. In the second Enquiry, Hume continues to oppose moral rationalism , but his arguments against them appear in an appendix. More importantly, he drops the assumption he made in the Treatise and takes the selfish theories of Hobbes and Mandeville as his primary target. Once again, he thinks there are only two possibilities. Either our approval is based in self-interest or it has a disinterested basis.

The refutation of one is proof of the other. The views of the moral rationalists—Samuel Clarke — , Locke and William Wollaston — —are prominent among them. He believes that there are demonstrable moral relations of fitness and unfitness that we discover a priori by means of reason alone. Gratitude, for example, is a fitting or suitable response to kindness, while ingratitude is an unfitting or unsuitable response.

He believes that the rational intuition that an action is fitting has the power both to obligate us and to move us. To act morally is to act rationally. In Treatise 2. His first argument rests on his empiricist conception of reason. As we saw in his account of causation, demonstrative reasoning consists in comparing ideas to find relations among them, while probable reasoning concerns matters of fact.

He considers mathematical reasoning from the relation of ideas category and causal reasoning from the category of matters of fact. No one thinks that mathematical reasoning by itself is capable of moving us. Suppose you want to stay out of debt. This may move you to calculate how much money comes in and how much goes out, but mathematical reasoning by itself does not move us to do anything. Mathematical reasoning, when it bears on action, is always used in connection with achieving some purpose and thus in connection with causal reasoning.

Hume, however, argues that when causal reasoning figures in the production of action, it always presupposes an existing desire or want. On his view, reasoning is a process that moves you from one idea to another. If reasoning is to have motivational force, one of the ideas must be tied to some desire or affection. As he says,. It can never in the least concern us to know, that such objects are causes, and such others effects, if both the causes and effects are indifferent to us.

Noticing a causal connection between exercise and losing weight will not move you to exercise, unless you want to lose weight. It immediately follows that reason alone cannot oppose a passion in the direction of the will. To oppose a passion, reason must be able to give rise to a motive by itself, since only a motive can oppose another motive, but he has just shown that reason by itself is unable to do this.

Arthur Schopenhauer

Since there are only two types of perception—ideas and impressions—the question between rationalism and sentimentalism is. The argument from motivation has only two premises. The first is that moral ideas have pervasive practical effects. Experience shows that we are often motivated to perform an action because we think it is obligatory or to refrain because we think it is unjust. We try to cultivate the virtues in ourselves and are proud when we succeed and ashamed when we fail. If morality did not have these effects on our passions and actions, moral rules and precepts would be pointless, as would our efforts to be virtuous.

The second premise is that by itself reason is incapable of exciting passions or producing and preventing actions, which Hume supports with the arguments we just looked at about the influencing motives of the will. Reason for Hume is essentially passive and inert: it is incapable by itself of giving rise to new motives or new ideas. Although he thinks the argument from motivation is decisive, in T 3. Hume takes the defeat of rationalism to entail that moral concepts spring from sentiment.

Of course, he was not the first to claim that moral ideas arise from sentiment. Hutcheson claimed that we possess, in addition to our external senses, a special moral sense that disposes us to respond to benevolence with the distinctive feelings of approbation. But he complains that this is not only highly implausible, but also contrary to the. Instead of multiplying senses, we should look for a few general principles to explain our approval of the different virtues. The real problem, however, is that Hutcheson just claims—hypothesizes—that we possess a unique, original moral sense.

If asked why we have a moral sense, his reply is that God implanted it in us. He aims to provide a wholly naturalistic and economical explanation of how we come to experience the moral sentiments that also explains why we approve of the different virtues. In Treatise 3. He refers to them as feelings of approval or disapproval, praise or blame, esteem or contempt.

Approval is a kind of pleasant or agreeable feeling; disapproval a kind of painful or disagreeable feeling. In several key passages, he describes the moral sentiments as calm forms of love and hatred. When we evaluate our own character traits, pride and humility replace love and hatred. He traces the moral sentiments to sympathy. Sympathy is a psychological mechanism that explains how we come to feel what others are feeling. It is not itself a feeling or sentiment and so should not be confused with feelings of compassion or pity.

Hume appeals to sympathy to explain a wide range of phenomena: our interest in history and current affairs, our ability to enjoy literature, movies, and novels, as well as our sociability. It is central to his explanations of our passions, our sense of beauty, and our sense of what is morally good and bad. Sympathy is a process that moves me from my idea of what someone is feeling to actually experiencing the feeling. There are four steps to this process. I first arrive at the idea of what someone is feeling in any of the usual ways.

I next become aware of the resemblances between us, so we are linked by that principle of association. While we resemble every human being to some extent, we also resemble some individuals more than others—for instance, those who share our language or culture or are the same age and sex as we are. The associative principles of contiguity and causality also relate individuals who are located closely to us in time or space or who are family members or teachers. According to Hume, we are able to sympathize more easily and strongly with individuals with whom we have strong associative ties.

The stronger the associative relations, the stronger our sympathetic responses. Hume then claims—controversially—that we always have a vivid awareness of ourselves. Finally, he reminds us that the principles of association not only relate two perceptions, but they also transmit force and vivacity from one perception to another. Suppose my friend recently suffered a devastating loss and I realize she is feeling sad. Since for Hume the difference between impressions and ideas is that impressions are more lively and vivacious than ideas, if an idea of a passion is sufficiently enlivened, it becomes the very passion itself.

I now feel sad too, but not quite as strongly as my friend. The way Hume uses the idea that the associative principles transmit force and vivacity in his explanation of sympathy is parallel to the way he uses it in his explanation of causal inference. A belief is an idea that is so lively that it is like an impression, and influences us in the way impressions do. But the result in the case of sympathy is even stronger: when an idea of a passion is sufficiently enlivened, it becomes the very passion itself. He explains the moral sentiments by appealing to sympathy, which, in turn, he explains in terms of the same associative principles he invoked to explain causal beliefs.

Without sympathy, and the associative principles that explain it, we would be unimaginatively different than we are—creatures without causal or moral ideas. Hume develops his account of moral evaluation further in response to two objections to his claim that the moral sentiments arise from sympathy.

Sympathy enables us to enter into the feelings of anyone, even strangers, because we resemble everyone to some extent. But it is an essential feature of his account of the natural and spontaneous operation of sympathy that our ability to respond sympathetically to others varies with variations in the associative relations.

I am able to sympathize more easily and strongly with someone who resembles me or is related to me by contiguity or causation. There are two regulatory features to the general point of view. We sympathize with the person and the people with whom that person regularly interacts and judge character traits in terms of whether they are good or bad for these people.

Second, we regulate sympathy further by relying on general rules that specify the general effects and tendencies of character traits rather than sympathizing with their actual effects. When we occupy the general point of view, we sympathize with the person herself and her usual associates, and come to admire the person for traits that are normally good for everyone.

The general point of view is, for Hume, the moral perspective. We do not experience the moral sentiments unless we have already taken up the general point of view. The moral sentiments and the concepts to which they give rise are products of taking up that standpoint. Hume offers the claim that we admire four sorts of character traits—those that are useful or immediately agreeable to the agent or to others—as an empirical hypothesis. While he provides support for it in his discussion of the individual virtues, he also uses his fourfold classification to undermine Christian conceptions of morality.

He makes pride a virtue and humility a vice. Their goal is to reform us—or at least our outward behavior—making us better, when understood in Christian terms. Hume, however, rejects the distinction along with the dubious function these reformers assign to morality. Hume identifies both what has value and what makes things valuable with features of our psychology. Our first-order sentiments, passions and affections, as well as actions expressive of them, are what have moral value.

On his view, morality is entirely a product of human nature. EPM 9. This is a precise parallel of his two definitions of cause in the first Enquiry. He follows Hutcheson in thinking that they assign two distinct roles to self-interest in their accounts of morality: first, moral approval and disapproval are based in a concern for our own interest and, second, the motive of which we ultimately approve is self-interest.

Hobbes is his main opponent. Like Hutcheson, he mistakenly supposes that Hobbes was offering a rival theory of approval and disapproval. Hume looks at each of the four types of virtue and argues that in each case, our approval does not spring from a concern for our own happiness, but rather from sympathy. In Section II, Hume argues that one reason we approve of benevolence, humanity, and public spiritedness is that they are useful to others and to society. In Sections III and IV, he argues that the sole ground for approving of justice and political allegiance is that they are useful to society.

In Section V, he asks: But useful for whom? A social order provides security, peace, and mutual protection, conditions that allow us to promote our own interests better than if we lived alone. Our own good is thus bound up with the maintenance of society. Although Hume agrees with Hobbes up to this point, he rejects his explanation that we approve of justice, benevolence, and humanity because they promote our own happiness. We would never admire the good deeds of our enemies or rivals, since they are hurtful to us.

We would also never approve or disapprove of characters portrayed in novels or movies, since they are not real people and cannot possibly help or harm us. We approve of character traits and actions that are useful not because they benefit us, but because we sympathize with the benefits they bestow on others or society.

Hume next examines the remaining three types of character traits—those that are useful to the agent industriousness, good judgment , agreeable to the agent cheerfulness or agreeable to others politeness, decency. Why, for example, do we approve of industriousness and good judgment, character traits that are primarily advantageous to the possessor?

In most cases they are of absolutely no benefit to us and, in cases of rivalry, they counteract our own interest. We approve of these character traits not because they are beneficial to us, but because we sympathize with the benefits they confer on others. If our approval and disapproval were based on thoughts about our own benefits and harms, the moral sentiments would vary from person to person and for the same person over time.

The moral sentiments spring from our capacity to respond sympathetically to others. Hume is equally adamant that any explanation of the motives that prompt us to virtuous actions in terms of self-interest is mistaken. He follows Hutcheson in thinking that the issue is whether the various benevolent affections are genuine or arise from self-interest.

Hume offers two arguments against this selfish view. He first asks us to consider cases in which people are motivated by a genuine concern for others, even when such concern could not possibly benefit them and might even harm them. We grieve when a friend dies, even if the friend needed our help and patronage. How could our grief be based in self-interest? Parents regularly sacrifice their own interests for the sake of their children. Non-human animals care about members of their own species and us.

Hume supplements this argument from experience with a highly compressed sketch of an argument he borrows from Butler. Happiness consists in the pleasures that arise from the satisfaction of our particular appetites and desires. It is because we want food, fame, and other things that we take pleasure in getting them. If we did not have any particular appetites or desires, we would not want anything and there would be nothing from which we would get pleasure.

To get the pleasures that self-love aims at, we must want something other than happiness itself. Hume rightly showcases his pioneering account of justice. In the Treatise , he emphasizes the distinction between the natural and artificial virtues.

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The natural virtues—being humane, kind, and charitable—are character traits and patterns of behavior that human beings would exhibit in their natural condition, even if there were no social order. Hume believes that nature has supplied us with many motives—parental love, benevolence, and generosity—that make it possible for us to live together peacefully in small societies based on kinship relations. One of his important insights is that nature has not provided us with all the motives we need to live together peacefully in large societies.

After arguing in Treatise 3. The first question concerns justice as a practice constituted by its rules. Hume argues that we enter into a series of conventions to bring about practices, each of which is a solution to a problem. Each convention gives rise to new problems that in turn pressure us to enter into further conventions. The convention to bring about property rights is only the first of several into which we enter. After property rights are established, we enter into conventions to transfer property and to make promises and contracts.

According to him, we are by nature cooperators, although at first we cooperate only with members of our own family. But it is also advantageous for us to cooperate with strangers, since it allows us to produce more goods and to exchange them. All three conventions are prior to the formation of government. Hume argues that the practice of justice is a solution to a problem we naturally face. The problem is that since we care most about our family and close friends, but material goods are scarce and portable, we are tempted to take goods from strangers to give to our family and friends.

Disputes over these goods are inevitable, but if we quarrel we will forfeit the benefits that result from living together in society—increased power, ability, and security. The solution to the problem is to establish property rights. Hume was one of the first to see that what is useful is the practice of justice, rather than individual acts of justice. Like Hobbes, he believes that it is in our interest to have the practice of justice in place.

As we just saw, Hume parts company with Hobbes when he answers the second question about why we approve of people who obey the rules of justice. We approve of just people not because they benefit us but because we sympathize with the benefits they bestow on others and society as a whole. Hume thus explains our approval of justice by appealing to the same principle he invoked to explain our approval of the natural virtues. Thus while. While it is in our interest to have the practice of justice in place, it may not always be in our interest to obey its rules in every case.

This is the free rider problem. The free rider, whom Hume calls the sensible knave, wants to get the benefits that result from having a practice in place without having to always follow its rules.

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He knows that the only way to obtain the advantages of social cooperation is for the practice of justice to be in place, but he also realizes that a single act of justice will not significantly damage the practice. Most people will obey the rules of justice, so if he commits one act of injustice, the institution will not be in any danger of collapsing. Suppose he has the opportunity to commit an act of injustice that will benefit him greatly.

Hume confesses that if the sensible knave expects an answer, he is not sure there is one that will convince him. If his heart rebel not against such pernicious maxims, if he feel no reluctance to thoughts of villainy or baseness, he has indeed lost a considerable motive to virtue…. There is no general agreement about whether Hume actually provides an answer to the sensible knave and if he does, whether it is adequate.

Hume wrote forcefully and incisively on almost every central question in the philosophy of religion, contributing to ongoing debates about the reliability of reports of miracles, the immateriality and immortality of the soul, the morality of suicide, and the natural history of religion, among others. All his work excited heated reactions from his contemporaries, and his arguments still figure centrally in discussions of these issues today. In the debates about causation and ethics, there is an initial critical phase , where Hume assesses the arguments of his predecessors and contemporaries, followed by a constructive phase , where he develops his own position.

In the natural religion debate, however, the situation is very different. Instead of resolving this debate, Hume effectively dissolves it. The Dialogues are a sustained and penetrating critical examination of a prominent argument from analogy for the existence and nature of God, the argument from design.

How to Argue - Philosophical Reasoning: Crash Course Philosophy #2

The argument from design attempts to establish that the order we find in the universe is so like the order we find in the products of human artifice that it too must be the product of an intelligent designer. The Dialogues record a conversation between three characters. Cleanthes and Demea represent the central positions in the eighteenth—century natural religion debate. Instead, they used the order and regularity they found in the universe to construct a probabilistic argument for a divine designer.

Holdouts clung to demonstrative proof in science and theology against the rising tide of probability. Demea is the champion of these conservative traditionalists. There was no genuinely sceptical presence in the eighteenth—century natural religion debate. This makes Philo , who both Cleanthes and Demea characterize as a sceptic , the ringer in the conversation. This part should take about minutes. Pointers Coming soon…. Each group discusses the topic or question on their own for a few minutes to generate arguments or ideas.

Once time is up, have each small group share one idea or argument with the class. Record ideas or argument on the board. Pointers Keep in mind the larger the group, the less opportunity each student will have to participate in thier small group discussion. Alternatively, have students find their own case to examine.

Individually, or in small groups, have students analyze the case using guidelines and a framework provided by you the instructor. If presenting in class, try to facilitate discussion such that students connect case with material in class. Pointers This is a great activity for students to work on the practical application of philosophy and philosophical theories.

There are many ways you can run a case study in class. The National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science has an amazing breakdown of different approaches to using case studies, as well as a collection of science-based case studies for classroom use. Taken from: Prof. Have students arrange themselves in a circle. Alternatively, students can be in small-medium size groups.

One student reads a question aloud. The student to their left then has one minute of uninterrupted time to speak and give their thoughts. Finally, the third student to the left goes, following the same pattern. Break it up into paragraph sections. Break students up into groups of Bring the class back together. Each group starting with the first part of the text presents their section to the class. Pointers This activity can help the students feel like the text is more manageable.

This activity also allows for students to practice their communication skills. Have each student bring to class a copy of their draft of their upcoming paper, whatever form it may be in. Have students swap papers with one to two other students depending on time available. This activity can also become part of the grade or assignment. This activity can also help in classes where providing all students with some type of feedback on papers may not be possible due to the number of students in the class.

Break students up into small groups. Have the groups come up with at least thee points for each side. Additionally, let students know whether they should be putting their lists together in point form or full sentences. Once students have had time to complete activity, bring the class back together to share and discuss points on each side. This activity can help students in developing analytical and evaluative skills. It also requires students to go beyond their initial position and reactions, and come up with points of discussion for the other side of the issue.


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Finally, it also requires students to weigh the points of competing positions and claims. Additionally, have students submit preferences for Reading Circle Roles see below. Assign students to a topic, and role. In doing the readings for the following class, tell students to read the reading with their role in mind. Uses details from the text to help group members better understand the reading and selects significant elements that make connections to course themes. Selects quotes that are especially significant, descriptive, or controversial; makes an interesting or engaging plan to have group look at particular passages; and is able to explain the significance of passages, or ask questions to help group understand significance of passage.

Uses a mixture of various levels of questions to engage group members and engages with the text on a critical level. Pointers This activity can work very well as a way for students to review for an exam, or as a discussion before students need to write a paper. Activity may be more challenging for first-year students, but is an excellent classroom activity for upper-year or smaller classes.

If including this activity as part of a graded component, be sure students are given the rubric. Provide students with a prompt. Reach student then responds to the prompt on their own in writing. This can be done either verbally, or in writing. Then, the student replies to each of the reactions to their own response. Pointers Be sure clear expectations and structure are provided to the students.

This is a great activity for online classrooms. Have at least one student from each group bring a computer to class ideally, all students would have access to a computer. In small groups have students annotate the text. Encourage them to reply to each others posts as well. Pointers Annotation increases memory and learning, as well as improve reading comprehension.

This activity allows students to practice the activity of annotating a text, taking notes, and analyzing the text as a group. It can be run during a discussion section, in a class during lecture, or outside of class time as preparation. Each of the three students will take on one of the three roles. Activity Choose a text, either philosophical or from literature, for the students to engage with approximately two paragraphs.

Students should not have read the text for this activity already. Every few sentences the reader stops, and expressed what they are thinking. This process is awkward and weird for most. Let students know this is OK! Inform the students what the point of this activity is see references and pointers below , and then model this activity very briefly for students with a sample pice of text.

Have students get into pairs, and give each student a text in the pair, student A gets text 1, and student B gets text 2. Once student A finishes their text, student B then preforms their think aloud. Give students minutes to preform this part of the activity. Bring the class back together as a group. Go over each of the texts, preforming a think aloud as a class, asking students to contribute what they were thinking about at each point.

This can take the form of a 1-minute paper! Additional Resources Calder, L. Ericsson, K. Protocol Analysis; Verbal Reports as Data. Revised edition. MIT Press, Wade, S. Weimer, M. Wineburg, S. Temple University Press, Then bring students together as a large class for discussion. Assign each half of the class a position on a topic or issue. Give students approximately 15 minutes to prepare an argument for their position. After 15 minutes, have each side share their position.

Give students approximately 10 minutes. Give students approximately 10 minutes for students to prepare their responses to this as well. Additionally, this activity models a common structure for student paper assignments to take. Run your activity. See pointers for ideas of activities. Ask them to write down one question they have from the reading, for a review session from class, or a question related to something more specific to your needs.

Students then exchange cards, making sure to make at least 4 passes or more! If they get their own card back, it is ok, or, they can just make an extra pass. Have students get in groups of Each student should read their index card, and as a group pick one question they want to address. Students should then discuss possible answers to the question.

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