“I’ve Been Bad”: Using Light Verse in Teaching Philosophy

Journal of Aesthetic Education 53 (3):3-13 (2019)
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. Conventional wisdom in our society is that a good death involves accepting it as natural rather than striving to stave it off as long as possible. An alternative view is “Death can be good / I’ll show you how / Just have it come / decades from now.” In this essay, I discuss how I use this poem and other light verses of mine in teaching philosophy. These poems offer unusual viewpoints in several additional areas of philosophical and bioethical interest, including growth through adversity, old age, family relations, obesity, envy, inequality, and ambition. Such poems can supplement traditional philosophical writing by presenting these alternative viewpoints in an amusing way that can capture students’ attention and relieve the solemnity that often pervades philosophy courses.



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Felicia Ackerman
Brown University

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