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This article from the Denver Post stresses the usefulness of philosophy, including how “emphasis on informal and symbolic logic” helps with computer science.  In accounts of philosophy curricula, unfortunately, reference to informal logic is typically just name-dropping, as the textbook authors are mostly not scholars in the field, and instructors rarely have any relevant training.  That seems to be the case here:  Colorado State has only one logician on faculty, and he specializes in formal logic.

This problem is deeply ironic, for the scholarship being neglected was developed for the very purpose of filling the gap between logical theory and logical practice. Much scholarship in symbolic logic may be irrelevant to undergraduate pedagogy, but informal logic is a movement developed substantially for the purpose of creating an approach to logic that would be more relevant to students.

When philosophers appeal to “informal logic” or philosophers claim ownership over the teaching of “critical thinking,” it verges on fraud.  The baiting with informal logic scholarship devoted to critical thinking and switching it for a loose distillation of the cultural standards in the discipline of philosophy is going to catch up with us eventually.

It’s time for philosophers to wake up and put our money, our faculty positions, our textbook buying power, and our textbook reviews where the scholarship is.  Philosophy can be highly relevant if we hold ourselves to higher scholarly standards.

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ANNOUNCEMENT AND CALL FOR PROPOSALS
The American Association of Philosophy Teachers

THE NINETEENTH INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP-CONFERENCE ON TEACHING
PHILOSOPHY
St. Edward’s University, Austin, Texas
July 25 – July 29, 2012

Proposals for interactive workshops and panels related to teaching and
learning philosophy at any educational level are welcome.  We
especially encourage workshops and panels on the following topics:

•    innovative and successful teaching strategies
•    professional issues connected to teaching
•    how work in other disciplines can improve the teaching of
philosophy
•    engaging students outside the classroom
•    innovative uses of instructional technologies
•    the challenge of teaching in new settings
•    methods to improve student learning

PROPOSAL GUIDELINES (more…)

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