There have been several wonderful discussions here about teaching modern philosophy. Lewis has posted on this topic several times, as has Tim Yenter. The discussions in the comments on each of these four posts are also really lively and interesting. I myself have posted on this topic.
I’m indebted to these discussions in my recent essay, “How To Teach Modern Philosophy,” which appeared in the journal Teaching Philosophy. I can’t be sure, but it may also be the first time The Mod Squad has appeared in the notes or bibliography of a journal article! In any event, I thought that the Mod Squad community might find the article to be of some use. Here’s the abstract:
This essay presents the challenges facing those preparing to teach the history of modern philosophy and proposes some solutions. I first discuss the course goals for such a course, as well as the particular methodological challenges of teaching a history of modern philosophy course. Next a standard set of thinkers, readings, and themes is presented, followed by some alternatives. I then argue that one ought to diversify one’s syllabus beyond the canonical set of six or seven white men. As a first step toward that goal, I propose several ways to include women philosophers in the syllabus. I then lay out assignments and in-class activities that aid students toward the course goals. I conclude with a consideration of the challenges and rewards of teaching modern philosophy.
As I am always looking to improve my teaching, I’d be delighted if anyone has feedback. Thanks (and apologies for the self-promoting nature of this and my next post!).