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Call for abstracts: APA Central Division meeting session on teaching students how to read philosophy

Thursday, August 13, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Erin Shepherd
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The American Philosophical Association Committee on the Teaching of Philosophy invites abstracts for its upcoming session, "Teaching Students How to Read Philosophy," planned for the Central Division meeting, March 2-5, 2016, in Chicago, IL.

With this session, we are interested in exploring challenges and techniques associated with teaching students how to read philosophy’s dense, antiquated, and/or translated texts. The committee is particularly interested in fresh approaches to this problem and in pedagogical strategies that instructors have employed successfully in the classroom. In the spirit of active learning, the committee asks that presenters not read a paper, but plan a more interactive way to engage their audience of peers.

Questions to consider might include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • What skills must students bring to the reading of philosophy, and what skills should they take away? What should we do when our students lack the prerequisite skills?
  • What techniques might help introductory students when they first encounter our texts? How can we build in our students the confidence required to engage a philosophical text?
  • What can we do to improve the reading skills of advanced students, majors, and graduate students?
  • How has your teaching of philosophical reading changed and developed throughout your career?
  • What is the relationship between teaching students how to read philosophy and teaching students how to write philosophy?
  • What can philosophers learn from teachers in other close-reading disciplines, such as comparative literature, English, classics, and religion? Are there philosophy-specific close reading skills?

To apply, please submit as an email attachment a 500-750-word abstract prepared for anonymous review to Michelle Saint ( by Monday, September 14, 2015. In addition to articulating the topic of your presentation, your abstract should explain how you plan to engage your audience interactively. In the body of the e-mail, please include your name, affiliation, and contact information. Individual submissions and joint/co-authored submissions are welcome.

The committee will strive to assemble a diverse panel, including presentations from different institutional settings, course levels, and subfields of philosophy. Authors can expect a decision by late September 2015. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me (


Alexandra Bradner
Chair, APA Committee on the Teaching of Philosophy

P.S. The deadline to apply to serve as a panelist in the committee’s session on the teaching demo at the 2016 Eastern Division meeting is Monday, August 17. For more information about APA sessions organized by the Committee on the Teaching of Philosophy, please see our calls posted on the APA website.

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