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From the PLATO Philosopher's Toolkit


Nagel’s What is it like to be a bat?

In his article, “What is it like to be a bat?” Thomas Nagel argues that there are facts about the conscious experience that are subjective and can only be known from that subjective perspective. Even if we know all the

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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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Convince your Teacher/Principal

Introduction What is an argument?   An argument consists of a set of reasons that are given with the intention of persuading someone else that a particular action or idea is right or wrong, good or bad, desirable or undesirable,

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On Friendship

Materials needed Index cards Whiteboard and several different colored dry erase markers   Description Pass out one index card to each student. Instruct the students to draw, without using representations of people (including stick figures, faces, and the like), a

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Stereotyping

Materials needed Plenty of paper Several sets of 5 different colored pencils or markers Timer   Introduction Ask your students to think about how they define a stereotype. Work in small groups to come up with a basic definition. Have

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Fair or Equal?

Materials needed List of roles and responsibilities (see below) A bag of candy   Description Begin the exercise by holding up the bag of candy (make sure you have enough for at least one piece for every student) and ask,

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What is art? An Art Activity

Have each student draw two pictures. One drawing must be a drawing they would call art, and the other one they would not call art.   Once the students have finished drawing, ask them to share their pieces and explain

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What is music? Silence and Sound

Organize a live performance of composer John Cage’s piece 4’33” in the school music room (or watch with your students one of the many online videos of it). Cage’s work, which was composed for any instrument and consists of the

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Activity: What’s Your Reason?

This game involves students writing down claims supported by reasons and then guessing each others’ claims after listening only to the reasons.   Hand out four note cards (or note-card sized pieces of paper) to each student. Ask them to

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Activity: Keep the Question Going

This game involves students generating questions collaboratively. The exercise runs easily for about ten minutes and can go for a half hour or more with discussion. It is often a good exercise to use early in the year, as it

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