Saturday, August 11, 2007

The opinion's of philosophy professors

Mike Austin has a post asking whether philosophy professors should advocate for their views in class. He presents considerations on both sides, but as a philosopher might say, the arguments are of unequal merit. The arguments in favor of professors sharing their views boil down to the fact that it will help dispel silly notions that students have. The arguments against boil down to the fact that students have silly notions.

That, I think, is the logic of the matter. But speaking from personal experience, I also think it's a lot more fun when professors state their views. When I took philosophy 101 freshmen year, I had a professor who tried to hide his views and did just an awful job of it, creating at least one awkward moment. More recently I had a prof who was very forthright about his opinions and was very ready to argue with people. Many people, myself included, took him up on it. We had a blast. So, based on my admittedly limited experience, I'm favoring having professors be open.

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vjack said...

Why limit the question to philosophy? There are controversies of one sort or another in every field. Then again, I wonder if knowing a professor's stance would be more or less disruptive, depending on the field of study.

Hallq said...

Part of the reason is that, as the second of the two professors I talk about said, in philosophy if it isn't controversial it isn't interesting. Maybe you could dispute that (I would try to consider some objections if I weren't making a very quick comment), but it's certainly a lot closer to being true in philosophy than in other fields.

Kyle said...

I say Profs should share what they think if they want. This way it is less likely students will be influenced subversively by a conscience or unconscience presentation of the Profs views in a favorable light. If my Prof is an Epicurean, Christian, or otherwise it helps me to see where they come from and how their view colors the spin they may inadvertantly add when discussing other views.