Day 2 of the PhiLife Workshop

By Meghan Sullivan

Justin Christy on Discussion vs. DialogueJustin Christy on Discussion vs. Dialogue

We are wrapping up our second day of the inaugural Mellon Philosophy as a Way of Life workshop.  On Day 2, topics were focused on principles for innovative assignment design, diversity and inclusion in philosophy courses, and high-level questions about the connection between philosophy and long-standing religious and cultural traditions.

The morning plenary featured Emily McWilliams, Steve Angle, and Paul Blaschko leading an interactive workshop on Backward Backward Course Design -- yes, that's double backward -- with many compelling examples and a step-by-step process for breaking bad habits when it comes to assignment and syllabus design. The auditorium left with concrete ideas for new tactics to try in their own classes.

Emily McWilliams introduces the group to Backward Backward Design.Emily McWilliams introduces the group to Backward Backward Design.

Our afternoon plenary session featured Stephen Leach, Fr. Ross Romero, and Steve Angle discussing ways in which PWOL texts and traditions interact with religious and cultural traditions.  They particularly focused on case studies from Confucianism, Buddhism, and Catholic traditions.  Through a series of talks and panel responses they raised important issues of cultural appropriation, the difficulties defining the boundaries of religious and cultural practices, the nature of authority in certain versions of PWOL, and the importance of humility and pluralism when researching and teaching these questions.The after-lunch breakout sessions focused on three topics.  One group did a masterclass on virtue epistemology and philosophy of education.  Another group lead a wide-ranging discussion about how to design philosophy courses to serve marginalized communities.  A third group did hands on practice with four "dialogue-starter" activities.

In the evening, the group will screen the film Arrival in the Eck Center Theater, preparing for a practicum on teaching PWOL through film tomorrow.