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Philosophy in Schools
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Alex Knapp asks what use philosophers are in modern American society.

I answered:

We've come a long way since the days of Socrates, who was a populist. He'd hang around the streets, haranguing anyone who walked by. It was the precise inverse of the ivory tower phenomenon.

Now philosophy is almost exclusively confined to inscrutable journals filled with esoterica (besides the occasional silly book tying philosophical concepts to popular sitcoms...who reads those things?).

I have a secondary teaching certificate in English, Mathematics, and Physical science, which means the state of Texas thinks I'm qualified to teach these subjects to kids between 12 and 18.

Why isn't there a certification in Philosophy? Why isn't philosophy a mandatory class in junior high and high school? Wrestling with the big questions is certainly more important than learning the succession of English monarchs, or how to factor a trinomial, isn't it?

This is the role philosophers should be playing in our society...they should be doing exactly what Socrates was put to death for, corrupting the youth with all those heretical ideas about questioning received orthodoxy.

Of course, most parents are really too insecure to actually have their kids actually think about such things, and admittedly, most teachers are unqualified to approach such subjects.

But to answer Alex's question, isn't that what someone coming out of college with a philosophy degree should be doing? Going into public schools and teaching kids how to ask questions about their own existence, the basis of morality, the best form of governance, the nature of reality...and possibly giving them a framework to look for answers to those questions?

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