Philosophy at school | INFJ Forum

Philosophy at school

Discussion in 'Education and Careers' started by Shaz, Dec 31, 2008.

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  1. Shaz

    Shaz Community Member

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    I was reading this (very interesting) thread and it made me think of something - how great it would be if everybody had more knowledge of philosophy and philosophers in general.

    I don't know about other countries but in France (god, everytime I say this I feel so arrogantly French) philosophy is compulsory during the last year of high school. It counts for a pretty big part of your mark in your final exam too - but it's actually what people fail the most. Is it really worth teaching at that level?

    It seems like a great opportunity for people to learn, yet teaching philosophy as part of a preparation for an exam is a bit paradoxical, since it doesn't allow you to really develop your own ideas, it's more about learning things by heart. If you manage to follow then great, but sometimes I wonder if it's of any use to 17 year olds who aren't really mature at all. Could it help them becoming more mature? I would like to think so but...

    Do you think it's appropriate as a high school topic? Or does it demand more maturity? I guess a lot of people Will never get interested in it, whether 17 or 50 but I would like to entertain the idea that it might sow a little seed somewhere in people's brain's backyard...

    How should it be taught then? Has anybody taken philosophy at uni? How does that work? Is it more about learning than about challenging and thinking too?
     
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  2. Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    Philosophy is very high minded.

    The main problem I encounter with learning it, is how it is taught.

    My first Philosophy professor was virtually useless in teaching the concepts. She mostly lectured and demanded that people memorized her definitions, not that they understood them. And to be frank, her definitions weren't very good to begin with, which has lead me to wonder if she even had a real grasp of what the material she was teaching. I caught on fairly quickly that she was a Postmodernist, and wrote a bullshit paper about color perception which she praised highly.

    My second professor was better. She required students to read the full texts by various philosophers and then to argue for or against the philosopher's position. However, most of the class was learning how to write the papers to her liking, not learning the concepts of the philosophers. Since it was a small class, I never missed an opportunity to question her endlessly on the concepts until I had them perfectly refined and understood, but by the end of the class, she did not like me in the least.

    My third professor was the best. He retroactively investigated philosophy. I use his method in everything I study now. His argument was that all studies begin as philosophy, evolve into science, and then finally become art. To truly understand something, you must study all three of these components. So he would begin with some art, for example, photography, and he would discuss concepts like "the rule of thirds", then he would discuss the science of photography such as how the lens focused light, and then he would backtrack all the way to the basic philosophies such as the camera obscura and aesthetics. I've actually noticed a lot of textbooks use a method similar to this when discussing their concepts. The benefit of doing it this way is you can see the significance of the philosophical concept you are studying and how it applies to real life before you actually get into it. It makes it much more intersting and easier to understand.

    Most high schoolers would be gravely challenged by philosophy. I can already tell that most high schools would simply teach the history of philosophy as opposed to the concepts simply because they are more interested in memorizaton than conception. Not unlike my first professor. Personally, I follow my third professor's belief in that philosphy needs to be incorporated in every subject in order to form a true understanding of that subject. For example, if you are taking an algebra class, then the teacher should teach the philosophies that derived the concepts that are being used. The teacher should also teach the art of algebra, and how it is applicable in the real world. As you can probably imagine, it is highly unlikely that this is going to happen.
     
  3. sumone

    sumone down the rabbit hole

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    Philosophy is fine Shaz as long as you don't make it your God :mno::mD:

    I would have loved a basic philosophy course in high school. I think studying it would have helped me learn how to think out of the box much earlier.
     
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  4. Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    I would say that mythology breeds Gods, whereas philosophy destroys them.
     
    #4 Satya, Dec 31, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2008
  5. slant

    slant Ruboobie

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    I agree with you wholeheartedly. Philosophy may be a difficult subject, but the real problem, as you have mentioned is how it it taught through memorization without a serious concern about comprehension. I dislike the schools in America for the simple reason that we are behind most of Europe in education styles. We are forced to take many classes that are irrelevant to the career we are pursuing. Once a person decides what they want to do, I believe that the classes should follow that direction. Another thing about most of Education in the world is that there is a focus on one type of learner: The cognitive, left brained learned. As INFJ's, I'd say a lot of us learn more artistically, and memorization of unimportant things isn't something we like to do.

    I believe it would interest you all to know about a program called "Talented Unlimited" which was formed by a guy who lives here in Utah, the very state I reside in. It's likely you've heard of some form of it or another, because although the entire state of Utah rejected his ideas some of them were incorporated to schools in places like California. His theory was that each person has one 'talent', something they perform above average in. He would discover that one 'talent' and focus on teaching the material in a way that was compatible with that one talent. For example, if the class was history and you were learning about The Revolutionary War, instead of memorizing it or just talking about it Talents Unlimited might have the students write a story that depicts The Revolutionary War ending in a different way. The idea is that the students will remember the material better because of the way it is taught, rather than memorizing petty facts.

    I'm interested in philosophy, but then again a lot of you have mentioned I sound a lot more mature for aged 15, so perhaps philosophy wouldn't be a very popular class. All I know is that the current teaching methods need to be seriously considered faulty.

    If you'd like to learn more about Talent's Unlimited, go here: http://www.sharingsuccess.org/code/eptw/pdf_profiles/talentsunlimited.pdf
     
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  6. happiholic

    happiholic Regular Poster

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    Straight memorization is torture. It's useless to learn a subject without comprehending the whole purpose and concept behind it. It's being blind. When I was forced to do so, it only went into my short-term memory. Two weeks later, I forget. As an INFJ, I need connections, purpose. It will then impact my head, and they will go to my long-term memory. I remember those dreadful days...

    I believe this will interest you as well. In my high school, we currently applied for the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. It's really great because the program does not believe in straight memorization. We do critical thinking. In my philosophy class (Theory of Knowledge), my professor gives us a few ideas and questions and we students basically run it, investigating about the topic. They make us think outside the box. I love that class so much. We also make connections in all of our classes. What is being taught, let's say, in English class, we can make a connection to what we are learning in Global class.

    The program also offers six group area subjects. To get the IB diploma, we have to take a minimum of three classes at a high level (classes that you are very interested in and planning to take as major on college) and the rest at a standard level (classes you are not so interested or just minor in college.) It's really great because as slant said, "once a person decides what they want to do, I believe that the classes should follow that direction."

    :m124:


    More about IB:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Baccalaureate_Diploma_Programme
     
    #6 happiholic, Dec 31, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2008
  7. Duty

    Duty Permanent Fixture

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    Philosophy's main problem is that it is highly misunderstood, and modern philosophy has evolved to being almost strictly a professional discipline.

    Because it comes off as so esoteric to people, they categorize it with religion, or at least as being impractical and worthless. This, however, couldn't be farther from the truth. Imo, the pinnacle of philosophy is being able to have a rational form of ethics, political philosophy, and philosophy of science (epistemology and philosophy of language just precede these other disciplines, and demand to be answered first). Now, I don't know how anyone could think ethics and political philosophy are useless and impractical...but philosophy can be so deep and confusing to some that they just blow it off and go back to church...it's easier that way.


    I know I hold myself up as being all smart and knowledgeable on philosophy, but I don't mean it in an arrogant way. I've barely scratched the surface of the subject. However, I already find it exceedingly hard to lower the discussion down to a more "casual" level for people that don't understand the discipline as much. 95% of people I get into philosophical discussions with have absolutely no training in the subject...which I find sad as ethics/political philosophy would be something most people could understand and find useful.

    And so my annoyance with society is just that...they tote their wisdom when they have none. It's the philosopher's frustration since Socrates himself...that people think they're so smart and yet they know almost nothing. I'll admit that I'm extraordinarily ignorant, but there are bits of wisdom I possess...ALL of which have come from study of philosophy, or laying some kind of foundation for that wisdom in philosophy.



    So that's what philosophy is about imo...wisdom. The very word "philosophy" is Greek for "love of wisdom." Every bit of knowledge we claim to have roots back into philosophy somewhere.
     
  8. happiholic

    happiholic Regular Poster

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    Oh yes. Someone whom I am very close to does not like when I am being philosophical with things. She feels that philosophy is a waste of time because I am not making a good use of myself. We always clash into a heated argument when this is brought up. She is after all an ISFJ.

    I, too, find it annoying. A relative of mine has this "I am so smart" attitude. Yet, when we have philosophical discussions, he goes BLEH. For instance, he does not like it when I question his religion. He said "just believe". WTH?! I think whether you are a theist or not, you should always question instead of following things blindly.
     
  9. Duty

    Duty Permanent Fixture

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    I really understand you here. It's impossible to get those who won't question or see things from another point of view to see that philosophy is of utmost importance to our lives.


    Tell your relative to "just believe" in the flying spaghetti monster, or in the God of another religion. See if s/he isn't driven to doubting such a thing exists...
     
  10. Morpheus

    Morpheus Community Member

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    Here in Finland we have one mandatory course of philosophy at gymnasium (or whatever you want to call it, it's a 3 year school, ages 16-19, not mandatory but around half of the population graduate from there) it's metaphysics and logic combined. I think it's great that people are taught argumentation skills, critical thinking and whatnot, even though most students (at least the ones I studied it with) don't seem to get it at all, and thus intensly dislike the whole subject. Nevertheless, you have to pass the course to graduate. Hopefully something of use stays in.



    I don't think you can make philosophy a God. You can, however, make a dogma out of a philosophical ideology. I think studying philosophy doesn't encourage it though, but rather equips one with mental tools needed for avoiding dogmatic thought.
     
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    #10 Morpheus, Jan 2, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2009
  11. sumone

    sumone down the rabbit hole

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    The churches teach that philosophy and psychology will take you away from God so you are not to give it much thought. Growing up ultra religious I was instilled with a 'fear of thinking' type of brainwashing. I remember being so proud of the things I didn't think about.
    And any spare thinking time we had was taken up with a lot of memorized praying to keep ourselves and others out of hell for being pathetic creatures!
    The churches don't want their followers filling their heads with out of the box thinking. They like the flock quiet, passive and compliant.
    There are good and wonderful people in the churches, I just feel badly about what is happening to them by and large.
     
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  12. Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    Uh oh, I think you might be going to hell now. :ml:

    Honestly, if there is a God then he gave us a wondrous and beautiful world to explore. Why would he want us to ignore it?
     
  13. Duty

    Duty Permanent Fixture

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    Well, OBVIOUSLY it's a distraction and a test from Satan. God only wants us to love him, and the world is put there to tempt us away from that focus. Therefore you should completely withdraw from the world, flagellate yourself regularly, and scribe a 5,000 page book, with pictures, with meticulous medieval handwriting.
     
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  14. Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    By candle light! You forgot you have to scribe by candle light! Light bulbs are the devil!
     
  15. Barachai

    Barachai Newbie

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    I've always been encouraged to try and think at church, as well as to doubt. I've never exactly been told to not think, which I like.
    I think that alot of churches encourage nonthinking cause if people did that they might notice contradictions, like maybe the bible condemning their own doctrine, maybe...
    With regards to philosophy, if everyone in the world were actually concerned with it naturally, I think we'd all be dead.
     
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  16. IndigoSensor

    IndigoSensor Product Obtained
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    YUP!

    My dad (an ESTJ) detests philosphy and thinks it is a waste of time and pointless. I remember several months ago I was simply inthralled with several topics we were talking about in class, and (even though I knew what the outcome would be) I decided to email one of the discussions to my dad along with other people whom I knew would find it very interesting. My dad simply replied "that isnt possible, and is a waste of time to think about". He always complained that I was wasting my time by taking a class in philosphy.

    Over christmas, I talked about my philosphy class (it was titled "reason and reality" which covered epistomolgy and metaphysics) to my family (dads side, parents are divorced). Many of my family just stared at me asking "...why? there is no point, reason, or realavance to any of this" my cousin surprizingly backed me up saying it gets you to "think". What really made me laugh is when I brought up the topic we talked about saying "does god exsist". I will admit, I bought this up because I knew it would rock the boat. My eldest aunt, whom I am pretty certain is an ISFJ, replied "and what would happen if I got up and left". She REFUSED to let me talk about what I even said in class! I kept going anyway and she said "in this family we do not talk about this", and I said "well, have I ever fit into this family to begin with?" and I got up and left. I just laughed!
     
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  17. OP
    Shaz

    Shaz Community Member

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    IndigoSensor, that sounds very frustrating... Just reading your post made me upset :D
    That sums it up for us too. From the moment it is compulsory, a good part of the people in the class probably won't like it/get it/be interested in it, while others are. Then there is the blury group of those who wouldn't be naturally drawn to it but finally find it somewhat interesting, maybe think about it, get something from it.

    The way high school works with us is that the first year is general and then you chose a branch of education : there is scientific section; economics and social science section, and litterary section which I chose. You have philosophy in each of them, during the last year, but in litterary section it is the most important subject, you have it 8 hours a week. Here is the program we have :

    Generally you don't have time to do everything, and unfortunately my teacher was really into reason and reality/politics while I was much more interested in the subject/culture. I loved the part on the unconscious and got the best mark in class at the mock exam. But I sort of sucked at things like "science and experimental truth" in which I wasn't that interested. He wasn't very inventive either as far as the way he taught, it was a lot of learning by heart (the other litterary class had a teacher that didn't prepare them to the exam as ours did, but they had more debates and things like that). We never did "art" unfortunately. I got the language at the exam which was great. Managed to talk about the way bees communicate and stuff :D
     
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  18. Duty

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    I soooo understand this. My entire family is SJs, except my brother and aunt (ESFPs). Being the only intuitive is rather difficult...
     
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