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Philosophical Horizons

Mission

The Department of Philosophy at the University of Memphis aims to introduce the history and practice of philosophy to people outside the academy. With an emphasis on diversity and underprivileged populations, Philosophical Horizons serves schools that are the least likely to have the resources to implement Philosophy for Children (P4C) into their curriculum as well as the Mark Luttrell correctional facility.


Rationale

Why Philosophy? Philosophy deals with fundamental issues regarding the nature of human beings and the meaning of life. Philosophical training involves the development of critical thinking and analytic skills. These skills allow one to formulate positions clearly, with precision and depth, and to critically reflect on the positions offered by others. Philosophy teaches one to think and write well and, to the extent that it does, it prepares students for any career or discipline they might choose to pursue. Introducing Philosophy to people outside the academy in Memphis will have the effect of enriching Philosophical discourse and Philosophical practice. By bringing Philosophy to schools and prisons, we hope to bring new voices to Philosophy and to the Humanities in general.


Background

Philosophical Horizons has affinities with a movement in Philosophy called Philosophy for Children (P4C). This movement began in the 1960s and has resulted in the implementation of Philosophy into pre-college curricula across the United States and world-wide.


Training and Placement

Please contact John Torrey for more information.


Partner Schools

University of Memphis Campus Elementary School

Martin Luther King Jr. Preparatory Academy

Fairely High School

Mark Luttrell correctional facility

Past participants include: Booker T. Washington High School, G.W. Carver High School, Hickory Ridge Middle School, Sheffield High School, University of Memphis Barbara K Lipman Pre-School, Westside Middle School


Past Events

Philosophical Horizons Workshop

November 22, 2014

Graduate students John Torrey and Josh Dohmen organized a one-day workshop with sessions on philosophy in the elementary classroom, middle and high school classroom, and philosophy in prisons.  Dr. Claire Katz, Professor of Philosophy at Texas A&M participated in the workshop and gave a lecture on Levinas and education.

Philosophical Horizons Teaching Workshop
September 10-11, 2011
Hosted by the University of Memphis Department of Philosophy, the Philosophical Horizons Teaching Workshop was led by Dr. Deb Tollefsen and Michael Burroughs. Workshop sessions covered both general approaches to philosophical pedagogy with children and focused discussions on teaching philosophy and philosophical themes (ethical, epistemological, metaphysical, etc.) to children in Memphis City Schools. The workshop featured a presentation from Dr. Mitchell S. Green, NEH/Horace Goldsmith Distinguished Teaching Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Virginia. Dr. Green spoke on Project High-Phi, a program supporting philosophical inquiry in America's public schools. The schedule is available here .

Culminating Experience: Philosophical Horizons Youth Summit on Children's Rights
April 29, 2011
On Friday, April 29, 2011, Memphis City Schools students participating in Philosophical Horizons will come to the University of Memphis to participate in a youth summit on children's rights. The primary aim of this year's culminating experience is to provide a forum for Memphis City Schools students to engage in discussion with their peers on a philosophical problem of particular relevance to students and young citizens. The culminating experience also allows students to demonstrate the critical thinking and logical argumentation skills they have been working on throughout the year with Philosophical Horizons staff. Following a brief presentation on philosophical issues surrounding children's rights, students will engage in small group discussions, voice group positions on the topic, and engage in open discussion with all in attendance.

Philosophical Horizons Teaching Workshop
September 10-11, 2010
Hosted by the University of Memphis Department of Philosophy, the Philosophical Horizons Teaching Workshop was led by Jana Mohr-Lone, Director and Founder of the Northwest Center for Philosophy for Children and Chair of the American Philosophical Association Committee on Pre-College Instruction in Philosophy. Workshop sessions covered both general approaches to philosophical pedagogy with children and focused discussions on teaching philosophy and philosophical themes (ethical, epistemological, metaphysical, etc.) to children in Memphis City Schools.

The Apology of Socrates
April 2010
Take a seat in the court of ancient Athens as Socrates goes on trial for his life. Hear the philosopher face his accusers with trademark wit, cutting logic, and the courage of his ideals. His arguments are as relevant today as they were 2500 years ago. Emmy-award winner Yannis Simonides brings his masterful interpretation of Plato's timeless classic to the University of Memphis, Philosophical Horizons students, and the local community. A Q&A discussion with Mr. Simonides follows each performance.

Philosophy, Education, and Social Justice Reading Group
The Philosophy, Education, and Social Justice Reading Group serves as ongoing training for Philosophical Horizons staff. Group members read and discuss philosophical texts relating to the practice of Philosophy for Children, develop dialogues and discussion topics for use in Philosophical Horizons discussion groups, and give a brief presentation on their current work with students in Memphis City Schools. Further information may be found here or by contacting Michael Burroughs.

Philosophy for Children (Readings and Research)
Graduate students and undergraduate philosophy majors interested in participating in the Philosophical Horizons program as discussion leaders or instructors may take part in a reading group directed by Dr. Deborah Tollefsen. Parents, teachers and administrators are welcome to participate as well.

Keeping the Child in Mind: A Conference About Philosophy for Children
September 11 and 12, 2009
Sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and made possible through support from the Tennessee Board of Regents, the Squire Family Foundation, and the Marcus Orr Center for the Humanities, Keeping the Child in Mind: A Conference About Philosophy for Children was held on September 11-12, 2009. Gareth Matthews, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts and author of Philosophy and the Young Child (1980), Dialogues with Children (1984), and The Philosophy of Childhood (1994) was the keynote speaker. Participants included local teachers and administrators, as well as the general public. Further information about the conference is available here.

Links & Documents
Mission
Rationale
Background
Training and Placement
Partner Schools
Past Events

Program Overview
Program Brochure
Enable Education: Guest Post from John Torrey on Philosophical Horizons
Click on the image (above) for a brief video about the work being done by Philosophical Horizons to introduce the fundamentals of philosophy to school children from pre-school to high school.

This video is also available on the University of Memphis Youtube site here.
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Last Updated: 8/13/14