Teaching Again

Brother Jon,

I thought I’d see if I could get this thing rolling again.

This fall I get to teach a course on the history of philosophy to the high school kids in our homeschool co-op. The material, of course, will be an adaptation of what I taught all those years in the Intro to Philosophy course at Friends. Surprisingly, I am really looking forward to teaching again. I have missed it more than I thought I would. Anyway, I guess I was feeling a little clever when I put together the 10-week lesson plan, posted below. Thought you might like to see it. By the way, the title of the course was given to me. I do not believe that–in fact, quite the reverse.

You Are What You Think: The History of Philosophy
TEAM Fall 2010
Mr. Brandt

The purpose of this course is to give a survey of the way Western thinkers have asked and answered questions about what there is, how we know anything, and how we should live, with a view to the development of a coherent Christian worldview, and to equip students to recognize and critique the various competing worldviews of the postmodern age.

Week 1: “Worldview”: What is it? Definitions of terms and concepts.
Week 2: The world is made of what? Early Greek Philosophy and Plato
Week 3: Everything matters: Aristotle and Medieval Philosophy
Week 4: I Know Everything: Enlightenment Rationalism and Empiricism
Week 5: Enlightenment Progress goes ‘Boink’: David Hume and Immanuel Kant
Week 6: I’m still a Christian, you know: Enlightenment Ethics I
Week 7: Well, maybe not so much: Enlightenment Ethics II
Week 8: Now look what we’ve done: Postmodernism
Week 9: Understanding the World and Ourselves rightly: Christian Philosophy and Ethics
Week 10: We’re really the normal ones: Christian Philosophy and Ethics cont.; Wrap up

All students will be given a reading assignment to prepare them for the following week’s discussion. Students are encouraged to complete these reading assignments, which should not take longer than 30 minutes each week, so that they understand references made to the readings in class and have a taste of what philosophical literature is like.

For ½ credit:

  • Richard Adams, Watership Down. Students will read the novel in its entirety, answer the attached questions pertaining to the reading in full, and come for dinner at the Brandts’ home on Saturday, October 16, at 5 pm to discuss the novel.
  • Students will complete all primary source reading assignments and complete accompanying questions, to be turned in no later than December 3.
  • Students will complete a comprehensive take-home exam covering the course notes and readings no later than December 22.
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