PHIL 294.001 – Philosophy across the Lifespan

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Instructor: Michael Vazquez. This course meets TR 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. in CW 208.

This is a high-impact service-learning course that aims to promote experiential learning in philosophy by combining traditional elements of classroom study with service in the community. Students will have the unique opportunity to teach and learn philosophy alongside older adults in the Triangle area, thereby integrating the academic study of philosophy with community engagement. Students will grapple with foundational works of historical and contemporary philosophy, participate in regular discussions with older adults in the community, learn how to communicate complex ideas to a non-specialist audience, develop pedagogical resources on philosophy for our community partners, administer an intergenerational capstone event. Guest speakers will on occasion visit the seminar to discuss various aspects of public philosophy and to provide guidance on philosophy pedagogy and facilitation.

The experiential and intergenerational character of the course will provide an occasion for students to reflect on the nature and aims of education, including the prospect and value of lifelong learning beyond schooling and the social and civic ends of education at all levels. By creating spaces for intergenerational dialogue, we hope to draw on the wisdom and experience of older adults in the community, and to facilitate understanding across generations. We also hope to resist the narrative that adults beyond schooling years are unable to exercise their minds fruitfully, or unable to contribute to the ongoing projects of humanistic inquiry and social deliberation.

This course is designed for majors and non-majors alike with an interest in public philosophical engagement and experiential learning. The seminar portion of this course will include some short lectures, but will consist largely of discussion-based learning, class-wide collaboration on pedagogical resources, student presentations, and peer assessment activities. Students will also work collaboratively with their classmates to conduct regular site visits with our community partners.

 

Permission of the instructor is required to enroll in this course. Please email michael.vazquez@unc.edu.

Prerequisite: 1 PHIL course.