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Instructor: Yifan Li. This course meets TR 8:00 – 9:15 a.m. in PH 367.

This course addresses the philosophical issues of education. Our primary focus in this class will be institutionalized education, i.e., schools. We will start by asking the fundamental question: namely, what is the point of having schools. Specifically, we will discuss the costs and benefits of school for you, as well as the costs and benefits of school for the society at large. We will also talk about how broad social categories such as class, race, gender, etc. operate in schools.

Next, we will apply the results of our relatively abstract discussion to the real life, and ask why some aspects of our actual educational system is as it is, and what we can do to change it for the better. We will concern ourselves with some recent hot topics such as affirmative actions, patriotic education, online learning, etc.

Through out the course, we will supplement our discussion with readings from influential philosophical texts in social and political philosophy that provide the necessary theoretical background; students are expected to do the readings carefully, think about them in relation to their life and our topic, and be prepared to share their thoughts in the classroom. Beyond that, there is no requirement for enrollment in this course.