Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Gordon Tait, Clare O’Farrell, Sarah Davey Chesters, Joanne Brownlee, Rebecca Spooner-Lane, “Are There Any Right or Wrong Answers in Teaching Philosophy?: Ethics, Epistemology, and Philosophy in the Classroom” Teaching Philosophy, 35 (4), pp.367-381

online

Although this is not directly on Foucault. I contributed all the Foucault bits to this article

Abstract
This article assesses undergraduate teaching students’ assertion that there are no right and wrong answers in teaching philosophy. When asked questions about their experiences of philosophy in the classroom for primary children, their unanimous declaration that teaching philosophy has ‘no right and wrong answers’ is critically examined across the three sub-disciplinary areas to which they were generally referring, namely, pedagogy, ethics, and epistemology. From a pedagogical point of view, it is argued that some teach­ing approaches may indeed be more effective than others, and some pupils’ opinions less defensible, but pedagogically, in terms of managing the power relations in the classroom, it is counter-productive to continually insist on notions of truth and falsity at every point. From an ethical point of view, it is contended that anti-realist approaches to meta-ethics may represent a viable intellectual position, but from the point of view of normative ethics, notions of right and wrong still retain significant currency. From an epistemological point of view, it is argued using Karl Popper’s work that while it may be difficult to determine what constitutes a right answer, determining a wrong one is far more straightforward. In conclusion, it is clear that prospective teachers engaging in philosophy in the classroom, and also future teachers in general, require a far more nuanced philosophical understanding of the notions of right and wrong and truth and falsity. In view of this situation, if we wish to promote the effective teaching of philosophical thinking to children, or produce educators who can understand the conceptual limits of the claims they make and their very real and often serious practical and social consequences, it is recommended that philosophy be reinstated to a fundamental, foundational place within the pre-service teaching curriculum.

2 thoughts on “Are There Any Right or Wrong Answers in Teaching Philosophy?: Ethics, Epistemology, and Philosophy in the Classroom (2012)

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