Teaching Philosophy: A Guide (Paperback) book cover

Teaching Philosophy

A Guide

By Steven M. Cahn

© 2018 – Routledge

130 pages

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Some students find philosophy engrossing; others are merely bewildered. How can instructors meet the challenge of teaching introductory-level philosophy so that students, regardless of initial interest or skill, come to understand and even enjoy the subject?

For nearly a decade, renowned philosopher and teacher Steven M. Cahn offered doctoral students a fourteen-week, credit-bearing course intended to prepare new instructors on how to most effectively teach undergraduates. Dramatic results were achieved, and at the schools where the new professors went to teach, the department chairs reported how much better students were now performing. In this book, Cahn captures the essence of that course, so that its central insights are widely available to all philosophy instructors.

Many of the topics he discusses would be of interest to any dedicated college instructor: a teacher’s responsibilities; the keys to effective teaching; the essentials of a successful course; the proper approach to term papers, examinations, and grades; methods of evaluating teaching; and suggestions of how administrators should demonstrate that they take teaching seriously. Such matters are covered in the first seven chapters and in the final, 14th chapter. The intermediate five chapters focus on teaching introductory philosophy, and in particular, on critical thinking, free will, philosophy of religion, ethics, and political philosophy.

Cahn’s writing is lucid and lively, uses numerous vivid examples, and avoids all educational jargon. In sum, this book is not only a guide on how to engage and inspire students but also an inspiration for teachers themselves.

Table of Contents




Chapter 1. A Teacher’s Responsibilities

Chapter 2. How Teachers Succeed

Chapter 3. A Teacher’s Concerns

Chapter 4. Papers And Examinations

Chapter 5. Grades

Chapter 6. A Teacher’s Role

Chapter 7. Teaching Graduate Students

Chapter 8. Teaching Introductory Philosophy

Chapter 9. Teaching Reasoning

Chapter 10. Teaching Free Will

Chapter 11. Teaching Philosophy Of Religion

Chapter 12. Teaching Ethics

Chapter 13. Teaching Political Philosophy

Chapter 14. Taking Teaching Seriously

About The Author

Bibliography Of Steven M. Cahn

About the Author

Steven M. Cahn is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the Graduate Center of The City University of New York. He is the author or editor of more than fifty books, including, Religion within Reason (2017); Happiness and Goodness (with Christine Vitrano, 2015); Polishing Your Prose (with Victor L. Cahn, 2013); and From Student to Scholar (2008).

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