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Statement of Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy, like the discipline of philosophy itself, stresses self-awareness, intellectual autonomy, and attempts to provide students with an increased feeling of freedom and creativity.  I attempt to encourage self-awareness by teaching students to critically evaluate their most deeply held beliefs and attitudes; in particular, those which are often held uncritically.  That is, I attempt to inculcate an attitude of critical and systematic thoughtfulness, to encourage students to remove from their perspectives every taint and trace of ignorance, prejudice, superstition, blind acceptance of ideas, and any other form of irrationality.

My teaching philosophy also stresses autonomy.  This means that I credit each student with the ability to determine what is true and what is right, through their own reasoning and experiences, without just depending upon outside authority: parents, teachers, peers, and so on.  Whether a student accepts a particular philosophical theory is a matter to be decided by himself or herself on the basis of proof, propositions that are accepted as true, and arguments that are affirmed as cogent or sound.

Finally, my teaching philosophy is based upon the attempt to provide students with an increased feeling of freedom, and to enhance their creative forces.  I not only expose students to various beliefs and outlooks, but teach them to be willing to revise, reject, and modify their beliefs and the degree with which they hold any belief.  Thus, I attempt to extend the range of personal alternatives.  In addition, by stressing the autonomy of the individual student, I encourage them to exercise their imagination and to take a fresh and creative approach to issues and problems.

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