TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

What are the arguments for and against philosophy in high school?

Philosophy is seen as a dead science. However, how can we ignore the prevalence of philosophy in history. Whether it be the philosophy of science, language, or history, there has always been philosophical inquiry except near the middle of the twentieth century.

Should philosophy be taught at the high school level? Should there be a mandatory or elective class for philosophy? What are the merits of philosophy in High School? What are the draw back of teaching philosophy in high school?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Aug 24 2012: Short answer is yes, philosophy should be a topic in high school.

    I'm of the belief that philosophy can't be taught. Philosophy can only be explored (preferably with a guide).

    I agree with the quote in Marija's entry below (don't teach what to think, teach how to think)... I take it to mean that we cannot be TAUGHT philosophy; we can be SHOWN philosophy, and with the right guide, philosophy can open the door to a mind that will push its' limits (the mind's limits and the limits of thought).

    The problem in high school is that in so many subjects, we teach our students (rightfully so). In philosophy, it's not the teacher who makes the impression, it's the thought (that makes the impression) on the young mind. It's hard to accept that philosophy is not the "topic", it's the vehicle, which comes in many different "makes" and "models". Using that vehicle, we navigate the rest of life.

    Happy trails!
    • thumb
      Aug 24 2012: I agree that philosophy should be taught at a high school level. I'm currently a high school student in British Columbia, Canada and as far as humanities courses go, we only have one: psychology. Other courses touch on a few humanity related topics but as far as a whole course goes, that's all our school board is giving us currently. For me personally, it doesn't make sense to give students so much "learning" content when they haven't even taught us how to truly think. Philosophy, and humanities in general, are a much needed topic in high schools if we hope to usher in the next generation as a generation of change makers.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.