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What virtues do we philosophers model in our classrooms?
Dr Brendan Larvor
How to win philosophical arguments
And if you didn't talk so
slowly, no one would think
you were so very wise.
Elizabeth
Anscombe
A. J. Ayer
(As told by Jonathan Glover)
You know, if you didn't
talk so fast, no one
would think you were
so clever.
The Cambridge Circle
As recalled by J.M. Keynes
“In practice, victory was with those who could speak with
the greatest appearance of clear, undoubting conviction and
could best use the accents of infallibility. [G.E.] Moore ...
was a master of this method - greeting one’s remarks with a
gasp of incredulity - Do you really think that, an expression
of face as if to hear such a thing said reduced him to a state
of wonder verging on imbecility, with his mouth wide open
and wagging his head in the negative so violently that his
hair shook. Oh! he would say, goggling at you as if either
you or he must be mad; and no reply was possible.”
The Cambridge Circle
As recalled by J.M. Keynes
“... A kind of combat in which strength of character
was really much more important than subtlety of
mind…”
‘My Early Beliefs' (1938) in Collected Writings, vol.10: Essays in Biography
(London: Macmillan, 1951), p.433-50
With thanks to Prof Stephen Clark
Convivium
Papa Westray
Convivium
Papa Westray
• Legal educators
• Medical educators
• Philosophers
• Theologian
• Theatre Director
• (Anthropologist)
How do we prepare students fully (ethically) for
their professional lives?
• Law and Medicine are way ahead of us
• Clinical experience: the client/patient’s interests
trump my grade-gathering
– Real cases
– Other-directed (‘professional’)
– Non-members of the guild
• Modelling of the visible virtues (confidence,
authority)
– This is culture-specific
Our Question:
What virtues do academic staff exhibit during live philosophy events?
What virtues do they think they
exhibit?
What do the students see?
To whom does this make philosophy
more or less attractive?
What does this tell us about the
nature of philosophy?
This Matters!
Because…
• Success and happiness in education are
easier to achieve if you feel like you
have some hope of eventually belonging
• Does this institution seem to be for
people like me? (this is not the same as
‘does it welcome people like me?’)
In the philosophy classroom at the unseen university
• Implicit Curriculum
• Sacred Knowledge (Basil
Bernstein)
• Signature pedagogy (think,
perform, act with integrity)
What is the signature pedagogy of
philosophy?
How to talk about things invisible
In the philosophy classroom at the unseen university
• Gadfly/boxer conceptions
assume legitimate presence (or
you’ll get swatted/KOed)
• Virtuous adversariality is not
enough (Queensbury rules)
• Sage conception demands more
deference than is consistent
with critical enquiry
• Problem-solver image treats
identification, framing and
priority of problems as
unproblematic
How to talk about things invisible
In the philosophy classroom at the unseen university
• Some virtues on display are
teacherly rather than
philosophical
• Some virtues are invisible (e.g.
humility in a role that requires
confidence)
• Virtuous treatment of non-
philosophers is hard to model
How to talk about things invisible
In the philosophy classroom at the unseen university
How to talk about things invisible
Two philosophy
students
consider the
token-identity
theory of mind
In the philosophy classroom at the unseen university
How to talk about things invisible
Thinking together requires:
• patience and trust.
• A blend of pride (in our
work) and humility
(recognition of what we
owe to others and of the
defeasibility of our own
judgements).
• Plus gratitude,
hopefulness, justice and
the capacity for
forgiveness.

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What virtues (zoom with eton june 2020)

  • 1. What virtues do we philosophers model in our classrooms? Dr Brendan Larvor
  • 2. How to win philosophical arguments And if you didn't talk so slowly, no one would think you were so very wise. Elizabeth Anscombe A. J. Ayer (As told by Jonathan Glover) You know, if you didn't talk so fast, no one would think you were so clever.
  • 3. The Cambridge Circle As recalled by J.M. Keynes “In practice, victory was with those who could speak with the greatest appearance of clear, undoubting conviction and could best use the accents of infallibility. [G.E.] Moore ... was a master of this method - greeting one’s remarks with a gasp of incredulity - Do you really think that, an expression of face as if to hear such a thing said reduced him to a state of wonder verging on imbecility, with his mouth wide open and wagging his head in the negative so violently that his hair shook. Oh! he would say, goggling at you as if either you or he must be mad; and no reply was possible.”
  • 4. The Cambridge Circle As recalled by J.M. Keynes “... A kind of combat in which strength of character was really much more important than subtlety of mind…” ‘My Early Beliefs' (1938) in Collected Writings, vol.10: Essays in Biography (London: Macmillan, 1951), p.433-50 With thanks to Prof Stephen Clark
  • 6. Convivium Papa Westray • Legal educators • Medical educators • Philosophers • Theologian • Theatre Director • (Anthropologist) How do we prepare students fully (ethically) for their professional lives? • Law and Medicine are way ahead of us • Clinical experience: the client/patient’s interests trump my grade-gathering – Real cases – Other-directed (‘professional’) – Non-members of the guild • Modelling of the visible virtues (confidence, authority) – This is culture-specific
  • 7. Our Question: What virtues do academic staff exhibit during live philosophy events? What virtues do they think they exhibit? What do the students see? To whom does this make philosophy more or less attractive? What does this tell us about the nature of philosophy?
  • 8. This Matters! Because… • Success and happiness in education are easier to achieve if you feel like you have some hope of eventually belonging • Does this institution seem to be for people like me? (this is not the same as ‘does it welcome people like me?’)
  • 9. In the philosophy classroom at the unseen university • Implicit Curriculum • Sacred Knowledge (Basil Bernstein) • Signature pedagogy (think, perform, act with integrity) What is the signature pedagogy of philosophy? How to talk about things invisible
  • 10. In the philosophy classroom at the unseen university • Gadfly/boxer conceptions assume legitimate presence (or you’ll get swatted/KOed) • Virtuous adversariality is not enough (Queensbury rules) • Sage conception demands more deference than is consistent with critical enquiry • Problem-solver image treats identification, framing and priority of problems as unproblematic How to talk about things invisible
  • 11. In the philosophy classroom at the unseen university • Some virtues on display are teacherly rather than philosophical • Some virtues are invisible (e.g. humility in a role that requires confidence) • Virtuous treatment of non- philosophers is hard to model How to talk about things invisible
  • 12. In the philosophy classroom at the unseen university How to talk about things invisible Two philosophy students consider the token-identity theory of mind
  • 13. In the philosophy classroom at the unseen university How to talk about things invisible Thinking together requires: • patience and trust. • A blend of pride (in our work) and humility (recognition of what we owe to others and of the defeasibility of our own judgements). • Plus gratitude, hopefulness, justice and the capacity for forgiveness.