Philosophy in the Community

Mission Statement

The Georgia State University Philosophy in the Community Program is dedicated to making philosophy education more widely available outside of the university.  Our program consists of GSU graduate students and professors who are willing to deliver lectures or lead philosophical discussions in schools, academic clubs, and other community venues.

We are prepared to teach diverse areas of philosophy to diverse audiences.  For example, we can:

  • Visit a high school or middle school class and deliver a relevant guest lecture on any philosophical topic. For example:
    o     In literature classes, we could discuss the philosophical issues raised by particular works of fiction or films (e.g., free will and fate in Oedipus or existentialist questions in Camus).
    o    In a history, social studies, or political science classes, we could discuss human rights, justice, or legal theory, the political theories of historical figures like Hobbes, Marx or Rawls, or the influence of Locke’s political theory on the Founding Fathers.
    o    In science classes, we could discuss the ways that science is similar to and distinct from other disciplines like math and philosophy, scientific revolutions, how philosophers of science understand scientific theories or causation, or how various scientific discoveries raise important ethical questions.  
    o    In an art class, we could discuss what makes an object a work of art and whether beauty is really “in the eye of the beholder.”
    o    In a psychology class, we could discuss whether the mind and brain are identical, the nature of consciousness, or whether neuroscience threatens free will.
  • Work with a local debate club on critical thinking and argumentation.
  • Engage elementary school children in discussions of philosophical themes (e.g. the nature of infinity, value, or personal identity).
  • Teach a unit on formal logic to a high school math class.
  • Offer lectures or lead discussions about topics in applied ethics to local organizations.
  • Give presentations or participate in informal Q&A’s with students about what professional philosophers do, what it is like to attend college and graduate school, or what it is like to work in academia.

We will work with you to design a course that suits your program’s needs and preferences.Participating schools and host institutions incur no cost whatsoever.

The Benefits of a Philosophy Education:

Philosophy teaches students to reason well and to express themselves clearly.It hones critical thinking skills by challenging students’ basic assumptions about the world and it encourages curiosity by confronting students with some of life’s most fundamental questions. For more information about the benefits of a philosophy education, click here.

If you still aren’t convinced that philosophy should be part of the pre-college curriculum, consider reading Francis J. Breslin’s “A Case for Philosophy in the American High School Curriculum.

In addition to helping students develop important philosophical skills, we hope to raise awareness of philosophy in the community. By getting students involved early, we hope to encourage more students to consider philosophy as a college major or minor.

If you have any questions or if your school or program is interested in participating, please contact one of our faculty advisors:

Dr. Andrew I. Cohen, acohen@gsu.edu (Faculty Advisor)
Dr. Eddy Nahmias, enahmias@gsu.edu (Faculty Advisor)

Acknowledgments:

The Philosophy in the Community program is supported by the Jean Beer Blumenfeld Center for Ethics, Student Forum.It is run by graduate students and faculty of the Department of Philosophy at Georgia State University. Graduate student members include Toni Adleberg, Cami Koepke, Jonathan Ravenelle, Benjamin Stanford, and Morgan Thompson. Faculty advisors include Dr. Andrew I. Cohen and Dr. Eddy Nahmias.

We would like to thank the Philosophy Learning And Teaching Organization (PLATO) and the New York Institute of Philosophy’s Outreach Program for providing a model for this mission statement as well as helpful information about philosophy outreach.

 
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