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From the PLATO Philosopher's Toolkit


Personal Identity in Memento

  Personal Identity I ask students to bring their baby or early childhood pictures to class. After they try matching names with images of their classmates, I ask a question about their own picture: Are you the same person today

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Crash: An Ethical Obstacle Course

Crash, directed by Paul Haggis, weaves together the lives of several characters from multiple backgrounds who collide in the  busy, often chaotic city of Los Angeles.   The movie revolves around a dozen or so characters from various ethnic, racial, and

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Exploring Existential Angst and the Self in Social Media

Existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre in Nausea Students will be introduced to Existentialism through discussion and excerpts from Jean-Paul Sartre’s novel, Nausea, which describes a certain vague feeling the main character, Roquentin, calls “nausea”. This feeling is basically a result of

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Are we in control? Hegel’s Lordship & Bondage

Quite often we find ourselves in situations where we know we are not in control, such as being a student, or having a job, or being bullied. The most important factor in this is the perspective you as an individual

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Macklemore’s White Privilege II

Seattle hip hop rapper Macklemore (aka Ben Haggerty) is one of the few widely-known rappers that is white. In his song “White Privilege” (2005), Macklemore sings about his experience as a white rapper, and how being white was advantageous in

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In-Class Ethics Bowl

Materials needed: Prior to Bowl: A useful general description of ethics designed for High School Ethics Bowls – to use as supplement to in-class teaching (see Supplemental Materials below) Copies of cases (given to students to prepare) from the National

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Justice and Utopia

Materials needed Description of the story of the Ring of Gyges Handout on the characteristics of Rammeka (a fictional society) Worksheet for small-group discussion and individual reflection   Description Begin with an explanation of Plato’s goals in The Republic. Explain

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Social Contract Theory: Creating a Cooperative Learning Environment

Materials needed John Locke’s Second Treatise on Government, chapters two and eight. An alternative is James Rachels’ The Elements of Moral Philosophy, chapter eleven, “The Idea of a Social Contract” (see full citations below) A questionnaire (see below) Poster board

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What Do We Find Beautiful?

Introduction Students should be given a week to do the following assignment (though it can be revised as needed to fit your time constraints):   Pick as many “beautiful” songs as you are old. So, for example, if you are

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Arguments and Philosophical Reasoning

Materials needed Chalkboard or whiteboard Computer and projector or equipment to watch short video clips from the web   Introduction This lesson can be used at any time in a philosophy course, for a meeting of a philosophy club or

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