[Philosophy] Course Review

Murphy, Clare I murphy.clare.i at edumail.vic.gov.au
Wed Feb 22 09:03:49 EST 2006

Hello Richard,
My name is Clare McKay and I teach @Eltham High School. I am on the mailing list and can now reply. Generally I agree with your recommendations. Are you on the review panel?


From: philosophy-bounces at edulists.com.au on behalf of Richard O'Donovan
Sent: Tue 2/21/2006 2:28 PM
To: philosophy at edulists.com.au
Subject: [Philosophy] Course Review

Well folks Philosophy is finally up for review.  I'm keen to see certain changes, I wonder what you all think... this will be our only chance to get a say for god knows how long, and the timelines are very tight.  Here are some of my thoughts;

I think we should dump Aristotle - too long, too rambling, too confusing for the kids (as if Gorgias isn't bad enough!)

I think we should probably dump King - it's essentially dogma without any sense of an argument and doesn't really fit with the other texts in my view.

Murdoch, as ever, remains a mystery for most people.  Surely there are other female philosophers who could be added who can be readily understood.

In unit 4 I think that maybe Kuhn could be chopped in half - or a better section from his book chosen that actually deals with Popper more directly.

I would have thought a more representative piece of Descartes might be selected; perhaps his reflections on radical doubt etc.? and I'd much prefer students didn't have to memorise all of the objections in Turing.

I think we should put in something about logic - just the basic syllogisms, modus ponens/tollens and their fallacious forms - this would help put the emphasis back on argument analysis and less on text minutia regurgitation.

I think we have to change the exam structure/approach.  Rote questions are hopeless or worse.  I wonder if we should shift towards something like Literature where students have to write two essays focussing on particular text extracts.

For me the vast majority of class time is taken up with going through the texts and explaining the various twists, distractions and background context, leaving precious little time for any philosophy.  I always thought philosophy was about thinking critically and analysing arguments/positions, there doesn't seem to be enough time to do this properly or in any depth because of the nature of the texts.  I have nothing against reading the originals, but I think there is too little consistency between them in terms of addressing the same themes, or too little accessibility to the language for students coming to Yr 12 without any Yr 11 background.  And the exam sets the expectation that students should have near photographic recall of them all.

So, the more views we get going the more chances we have of getting some positive changes to the course.


philosophy mailing list
philosophy at edulists.com.au

Important - 
This email and any attachments may be confidential. If received in error, please contact us and delete all copies. Before opening or using attachments check them for viruses and defects. Regardless of any loss, damage or consequence, whether caused by the negligence of the sender or not, resulting directly or indirectly from the use of any attached files our liability is limited to resupplying any affected attachments. Any representations or opinions expressed are those of the individual sender, and not necessarily those of the Department of Education & Training.
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/ms-tnef
Size: 5507 bytes
Desc: not available
Url : http://www.edulists.com.au/pipermail/philosophy/attachments/20060222/a7d2a5c9/attachment.bin

More information about the philosophy mailing list