2 thoughts on “Philosophy in Crisis! And Nobody Told Me!!

  1. From Realist:
    “Our ignorance, and the perversion of our school system has us all wanting to grow up fast and know how to read and write by the age of 5 so that we can go on and do WONDERFUL things in our lives by the age of 10 and have our career mapped out by the time we are 13. So by the time I am in HS, I know all there is to know about life, and how dare you philosophers tell us that there is still more thinking to be done!”

    Sigh.

    Yes. There is so much pressure on very young children to produce a ton of work and to continue producing in that way from K-12. I am amazed at the amount of work prescribed and the amount of pressure on kids to just do it – don’t think about it, just do it. The overall goal seems to be about completion of sheets and getting the right answer, which often has nothing to do with the quality of the thinking process.

    This is why philosophy is important.
    I’ll admit that I glazed over during some of the article – I have not studied philosophy in depth and didn’t get some of the references. However, I agree with the idea that we need to build skills in challenging “preconceptions and basic beliefs, in the service of forming a better and more tolerant citizen of a diverse and globalized world”.
    That sounds good to me.

    I also agree with the Realist that we should value how children look at the world. The characteristics of a young child’s thinking includes curiosity, exploration, questioning, experimenting, and not thinking or worrying so much about failure. These characteristics are important to becoming a critical thinker, but they can be discouraged at an alarmingly young age – even preschool. So, I am all for a citizenry that can observe and value these qualities of childhood.

    I think one way for adults to re-connect to what it feels like to be truly curious, is to learn how to observe a young child. We can’t look to young children for answers to our very adult problems – that’s not quite fair. But, if we learn how to really observe children, in an objective way, we can see what a valuable stage of life childhood is (because of the characteristics listed above and many others),and if we value something that we can all see around us – children being curious – we might be able to support that development all the way through the lifespan.

    Does this make me a humanist?
    I guess because of my field this is the lens through which I see the world. What I admire about philosophy is the emphasis on the process of thinking. The process is important – not just the product. From my observation, our current education system is focused on the product and that has created a different kind of crisis.

    We need philosophy to support the process of thinking and to help us think through the important questions in life.

    Maybe the point of bringing philosophy out of the academy and into the working world is a good one. The academy does need to do a better job of sharing the important ideas and processes with the policy builders and other decision-makers in the world. Whenever we think the layperson can’t handle something, we are in danger of becoming dusty protectors of truth that we cannot possibly share with regular people because they wouldn’t understand it. Isn’t it our responsibility to get these ideas and various strategies for thinking about them out there?

    This is why I love the community college setting and why I think it is so challenging. It often feels like we are the liaisons from the academy to the public and we have to have a clear understanding of both worlds in order to be effective.

    Feeling a bit manic-depressive at the moment.
    …must …get.. more coffee.

  2. That earlier comment was from me – I guess I made it anonymously. Like I said, more coffee is needed at this point in my day!
    Cheers,
    Carrie

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