Philosophy for T
Questioning Life’s Big Ideas in 2014
West Island College
Philosophy for Teens 2014
Plato & his student, Aristotle
5th version of this class,
each one is
Visit the past videos on
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“What am I getting
Start at the beginning: First steps...
Oracle at Delphi
Temple built for Apollo
believed to be the
center of the earth, or
the navel of Gaia.
The oracle was a
priestess who spoke
„truth in trance‟ and
claimed Socrates to be
the wisest of the
Why begin with self knowledge?
To understand oneself is to understand
other humans as well.
What questions do you have that are
common to all people?
How would you formulate these
questions? How do you look for the
Listening Skills are Essential
Listen to what is being said.
What does it take to really listen?
What does it feel like when you really listen to the
other person’s position?
Why would it feel threatening to listen to an
opposite opinion to our own?
Slow motion thinking
Thinking in slow motion.
Why is this important?
Zoom in on thoughts;
Why is this important?
Clarify words – be very
Check the assumptions
What is an assumption?
A hypothesis accepted as truth but without
Why should we check assumptions?
Why is truth important?
It’s all about finding the
Philosophers assert that
truth can be discovered
through the process of
logically thinking and
Person 1 asks a philosophical question.
What does it mean to be fair?
Person 2 gives a common sense
To be fair means to treat people the same way.
Everybody should benefit from the same rights and
Person 1 thinks of a counter example that does not
fit the definition given. This shows that the first
answer was incomplete, biased or uninformed.
All children deserve their parents’ attention. Some
children might have special needs and
consequently the parent spends more time with
that one child than with the others. Is that fair?
Person 2 refines the answer to include the
So then, being fair means treating people with
equality and not in ‘the same way’. Equality must
take into consideration how people are different.
Person 1 either looks for the hidden assumption or
continues to questions until both are satisfied with
Deduction: from the big picture to the little one.
Draw a conclusion from the general statement.
Premise: All teenagers are techno savvy.
Conclusion: Jim is a teenager therefore he is
Start with a general knowledge and proceed to a
If you know that the horn of
your bike is powered
exclusively by the
electricity from the battery,
then you can logically INFER
that if the battery is dead, the
horn won’t work.
Deductive logic lets us reach a conclusion based
only on the information contained in the premise of
in the set of statements.
English is a compulsory course for all sec 5
You are in sec 5, therefore you must take English.
Begin with the observations /particulars and arrive
at the conclusion.
Example: Every time the motorcycle goes over a
bump, the engine misfires. On the smooth road
there is no misfiring but after the bump, the
What can we conclude?
Something can’t be and not be at the same time.
Example: It is not possible to say that Jim is alive
and that Jim is dead at the same time. A person
cannot BE and NOT BE at the same time.
So, you can’t have your cake and eat it too in a
As in the previous example, because you cannot
both be alive and dead at the same time, then
there is no third or middle possibility.
Either it IS or it IS NOT.
Something is what it is. Jim is Jim. He is not Paul
It is untrue to say that Jim is Paul.
These might sound silly to you but Aristotle (Plato’s
student) developed this system of logic and it is still
being used today.
Test the premise with these laws. If it passes these
laws, there is a possibility that the premise is true.
The truer the premise, the stronger the conclusion.
Listen to the assumptions in the arguments.
This is called critical thinking and it is the first step
in DOING philosophy.
Test out the ARGUMENT.
Can you find weaknesses?
Look at the premise. Does it pass the test?
The stronger the premise, the better the