Teaching Philosophy 40 (3):297-322 (2017)

Authors
Anne Burkard
Humboldt-University, Berlin
Abstract
This article discusses strategies for responding to students’ metaphilosophical scepticism. It includes responses to a survey which asked philosophy teachers about their experiences with various forms of scepticism in their classrooms. In specifying the phenomenon, I point out features which often characterise introductory philosophy courses both in secondary schools and at the university level. I argue that these features make student scepticism particularly challenging. Secondly, I describe a central objective of doing philosophy, and highlight three basic pedagogical principles. I argue that this objective and these principles should function as criteria for assessing strategies which teachers might adopt in reaction to metaphilosophical scepticism. Thirdly, I discuss several such strategies with reference to the proposed principles and the features which are characteristic of introductory courses. I argue that especially strategies which encourage students to philosophise themselves are recommendable. Furthermore, I point out some opportunities which student scepticism offers for enriching classroom discussions and for deepening students’ understanding of philosophy.
Keywords Teaching Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 0145-5788
DOI 10.5840/teachphil2017101773
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