2022 PLATO Conference
University of Washington, Seattle
PLATO’s 2022 conference on “Ethics in Schools, Communities, and the Public Sphere” took place at the University of Washington June 24-25. 2022. The focus was on ethics – in schools, the university, communities and the public sphere, and across the lifespan. Of all philosophy’s areas of focus, ethics is perhaps one of the most accessible, the way many are introduced to the discipline both in and out of school.
The conference explored how to incorporate ethical perspectives into discussions in schools and other public spaces across all age groups and featured a diverse set of perspectives on ethics and philosophy education. PreK-12 educators, graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, administrators, and others interested in ethics and philosophical education offered interactive workshops that helped participants apply new ideas to their own contexts and presentations that introduced scholarly viewpoints and modeled innovative programs.
FRIDAY JUNE 24 FRIDAY PROGRAM PDF
8:30-10:30 am Plenary
Kane Hall Room 225 (Walker-Ames Room)
Welcome and Introduction
Allison Cohen and Jana Mohr Lone
Panel Discussion: Intergenerational Ethics
Intergenerational philosophy and ethics encompasses everything from programs that engage kindergarteners and their families, to discussions about key ethics issues in elder care centers, to high school students working with elementary school children. This moderated panel will examine the unique challenges, opportunities, and questions involved in implementing intergenerational philosophy and ethics initiatives.
Panelists: Marisa Diaz-Waian, Karen Emmerman, Teri Turner, and Michael Vazquez
Moderator: Allison Cohen
Activity: Beautiful (and Ugly) Songs
Led by David Shapiro and Jana Mohr Lone
1. Mary Gate Hall Room 231
Chair: Roberta Israeloff
Comparing Methods of Philosophical Instruction in K-12 Classrooms
Alexandra Chang and Laura Soter
As classroom teachers, we have promoted philosophy with children in either clubs or electives. In these spaces of wonder and exploration, philosophy was presented as “special and different” compared to students’ normal school lives. There are many benefits to this approach, which we will explore in greater detail drawing from our experiences in Boston and Michigan classrooms. However, we have been considering another approach: an integrated instructional strategy within the everyday classroom. Especially in our current global context, skills such as listening, sitting with disagreement, giving reasons for one’s point of view, and evaluating others’ arguments and ideas are becoming even more critical.
Literature and the Good Life: Creating Ethical Readers and Writers
This presentation will discuss how ethics is integrated into ninth-grade English at Kent Place School. We will offer guidelines for educators exploring similar cross-discipline integration. We will discuss ways to justify the integration of ethics into high school English courses through alignment with existing course objectives and explain how we navigate challenges such as limited time, differing levels of teacher expertise and comfort, concerns around the relevance and importance of ethics in the classroom, garnering buy in from various stakeholders, and meeting the needs of varying student ages and competencies. Our ethics and English integration model is founded on the basis of meaningful integration, so that ethics is not experienced as an add on for teachers or students.
Ethics in Schools: A Model for Integrating Ethics Across a K-12 Education
Ariel Sykes (VIRTUAL)
The Ethics Institute at Kent Place School (EIKPS), now in its twelfth year, promotes ethics and ethical decision-making in primary and secondary school communities. We provide a wide range of ethics programming for K-12 students (ethics courses, ethics integrated across the disciplines, clubs, independent projects, lunch chats, assemblies, guest speaker series, field trips, ethics bowl teams, and summer programs); parents and the community (monthly workshops, guest speaker series, and current event ethics lunch chats); and Kent Place School faculty and staff (ethics training, ethics lunch chats, and additional resources and support from EIKPS staff).
2. Mary Gates Hall 241
Chair: Allison Cohen
Ethics Bowl for All
Susan Russinoff, Abigail Feldman, and Afton Greco
We have organized Ethics Bowl competitions for a variety of different populations, including college students, high school students, middle school students, and incarcerated students. We will discuss the value of this work for the different groups of students and think about whether there are other populations that might benefit.
Public-Facing Ethical Pedagogy: High School Ethics Bowl as a Case Study
Our presentation discusses strategies our coaches have developed for teaching ethical theory in this context, as well as ways in which these strategies could be adapted to more traditional classroom settings. We believe that the insights gained can help not only to make the study of ethics more appealing to the average college student, but also to make ethical theory itself better suited to public engagement.
3. Mary Gates Hall Room 251
Chair: Karen Emmerman
Extending the Moral Imagination
Stephen Kekoa Miller
Extensive work in many fields recently has shown that unconscious thought (reacting to context cues, implicit cognitions, and habituation) influences our actions. From our earliest age, ideas of in and out-group identification are stamped onto us, and we form biases without realizing it, inhibiting our ability to become empathic and to discern what is morally relevant in a given situation. This presents a challenge to a traditional ethics curriculum designed to help students become morally “better.” The growing precollege ethics movement needs to address ways to expand students’ moral imaginations, an issue this presentation will explore.
Teaching Ethics, Ethically: P4C outside the classroom
The spaces in which we practice public philosophy matter. Spaces are already overflowing with meaning. The different spaces we practice P4C in will undoubtedly affect the ways that philosophical education and dialogue can be expressed. In this presenation, I will consider the spaces within which practitioners build their communities of inquiry. The first space I will consider is the city: specifically, Memphis, Tennessee, which is a majority minority city in a conservative state. The second space I will consider involve the local spaces in Memphis where we practiced P4C through the Philosophical Horizons program. With these two categories of spaces in mind, the presentation aims to complicate the traditional Lipman goals of philosophical education for children and teenagers, as well as which spaces it assumes are philosophically productive.
Panafrican Ethics Bowl: feedback on the first edition
Housni Zbaghdi (VIRTUAL)
High school students in our region (of Morocco) complain repeatedly about tense relations with parents and institutional authorities: these students feel pressure to succeed and have low self-esteem. I encouraged students to launch Philosophy Clubs to turn these issues into an opportunity for assertive self-expression. Today many successful, sustainable Philosophy Clubs exist. This year, Philosophy Club members and I decided to launch the Ethics Olympiad of North and West Africa. We held many meetings with clubs in seven high schools in our region. The students were very enthusiastic about the idea of participating at the first Ethics Olympiad of their region.
4. Mary Gates Hall Room 271
Chair: David Shapiro
Changing the Subject: A Community of Philosophical Inquiry in Prisons
This presentation is about introducing philosophy programs to several Scottish prisons using McCall’s (1999) Community of Philosophical Inquiry (CoPI). It provides a rationale for, and analyzes the participation structure of CoPI, explaining how its communicative constraints and demands provided prisoners with novel means of reasoning and engaging in dialogue with others and with oneself. Participants described how listening to and reasoning with each other helped them develop greater self-awareness and a more reflexive understanding of their own thinking and actions. Findings are framed within sociocultural theorizing on literacies, learning and identity. Drawing on Holland et al.’s (1998) account of identity and agency, we show how CoPI afforded participants a new positionality and discursive practices.
Teaching Ethics to Incarcerated Youth
Jennifer Wargin (VIRTUAL)
This presentation is about the value of teaching ethics to incarcerated youth, ages 16 through early 20s, how these programs can be expanded, and best practices. I will describe a one-of-a-kind program that teaches synchronous college courses to members serving in juvenile justice centers. The course has three goals: to help the inmates become aware of nuances within ethical questions, to develop arguments in favor of an ethical stance, and engage constructively with others. Course readings focus on four areas of inquiry: the debate over universal moral norms, what kind of persons we should be, what kind of reasoning we ought to use when making moral decisions, and the relationship between morality and living a meaningful life.
12:30-2 pm LUNCH (on your own)
2-3:30 pm Workshops
1. Mary Gates Hall Room 231: Authentically Embedding Ethics into the Computer Science and STEM Curriculum
This workshop is about philosophy teachers partnering with computer science teachers to bring ethics into STEM classrooms. At our school, CS teachers learn to hold ethical conversations and to design projects, activities, and assignments that necessitate ethical conversation and fluency. For example, in an App Development class, students were given a coding quiz in which they had to change a working code that was inequitable (“husband” was a primary field and “wife” a secondary field) into one that was equitable, a task that requires that competency in coding and ethics. We contrast this design for STEM ethics education with modular approaches to ethics that more typically are used in high school and university classrooms.
2. Mary Gates Hall 241: A Climate Change Unit for Upper Elementary and Middle School Classrooms That Supports Understanding and Agency
Public philosophers and teachers have an obligation to expose students to the realities of global warming that they must face during their lifetime. The question is not if, but how. Should climate change be taught as a science unit, focusing on the dynamics of greenhouse gas production from the advent of the steam engine to our requirements for energy in the 21st Century? Should it center on ethical issues involving environmental justice, corporate advertising and industrial farming? Should climate change be seen through the lens of governmental responses to extreme weather events? Most importantly, should students be given contemporary examples of activism – from indigenous protests to student-led marches – that fight for a sustainable planet? These are some of the questions that will be explored in this interactive workshop. A draft curriculum for a sixth grade climate change unit will be provided to participants.
3. Mary Gates Hall 251: Fostering Collaborative Ethics Discussions in the Secondary-Grades Classroom
Alex Richardson, Delaney Thull, and Michael Vazquez
This interactive workshop will introduce a modified discussion format based on the National High School Ethics Bowl rules and procedures, appropriate for advanced middle and high school students. As the NHSEB moves forward, we are eager to not only grow the program’s current offerings, but to examine additional ways to promote ethical literacy, engagement, and growth. Our workshop will be one step among many toward introducing a larger and more accessible set of NHSEB curricular resources, including lesson plans and modules that teachers can use to effectively integrate ethics education into their courses across various disciplines.
4. Mary Gates Hall 271: Fishbowl Arguments
Christopher Buckels and Johanna Buckels
This workshop will demonstrate how to use “Fishbowl Arguments” in the classroom, a model that allows students to practice verbal argumentation and assess their abilities. Two students engage in a philosophical discussion in the center of the classroom with the other students arranged in a circle around them. Students in the fishbowl are graded on their preparation, the clarity of their position, how well they understand the topic and can restate and respond to interlocutor’s points, and their demeanor during the discussion. The observing students take notes, which are graded according to how well they understand and critiqued the arguments. They can ask questions of the students in the fishbowl.
4-5:30 pm Presentations
1. Mary Gates Hall 231
Chair: Roberta Israeloff
Putting Environmental Ethics Principles into Practice at an Urban High School
Alejandro Marx (VIRTUAL)
How can we inspire students to become engaged practitioners of environmental ethics and environmental justice? This workshop will develop ideas for putting ethical principles into practice by extending students’ critical thinking to their communities and neighborhoods. Inspired by the story of the Estrella Children’s Park in Los Angeles, fictionalized in the book No Place, and guided by a philosophy professor from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, we co-developed a course in Environmental Ethics with a focus on the urban environmental challenges faced by communities of color.
Living the Virtues at Culver: The 11th Grade Ethics Curriculum at the Culver Academies
Evan Dutmer (VIRTUAL)
This presentation will introduce the signature required ethics course at the Culver Academies, ‘Ethics and the Cultivation of Character’. In this course, students engage in realized practice of the cardinal virtues over an 8-week course of charted character growth. Interdisciplinary by design, in this course students apply a personalized virtue ethic to their own lives drawing from tools from philosophy, leadership studies and development, and contemporary psychology of well-being.
Designing and Implementing a Game-based Ethics Curriculum for High School Students
David Seelow (VIRTUAL)
This interactive workshop will demonstrate a game-based high school curriculum offered by the Prindle Institute of Ethics. Game-based learning has proven to be effective in improving students’ intrinsic motivation, level of engagement, and outcome achievement across multiple disciplines. In this workshop we will briefly frame adaptive lesson plans addressing ethical thinking and decision making, and then have the audience go through one of the interactive learning activities in each of three activities. Participants will have a hands-on experience to supplement the conceptual or pedagogical framework for the activities. We will conclude the workshop by having participants create their own interactive scenario using Twine 2 applied to their discipline.
2. Mary Gates Hall Room 241
Chair: Karen Emmerman
Using In-Group Favoritism to teach Philosophy and Ethics
As demonstrated in multitudes of psychological studies, we treat those of our in-group with preference and favoritism. Although one need not be prejudiced against others, in-group preference has an important role in systemic disparities for our interactions with other persons and group dynamics. I discuss in-group preference, the ethical implications for topics within K-12 education, and ways that research on this phenomenon could be used as effective classroom tool to teach students about the philosophical and ethical issues of personal identity, group identity, and in-group favoritism.
The Case for the Inclusion of “Ethics in Sport” in PreK-12 Curriculum
This presentation will explore how “Ethics in Sport” could be incorporated in PreK-12 curriculum. Unfortunately, genuine discussions of the relationship between morality and sport (questions about sportsmanship, cheating, sport violence, gender equality, and distributive justice, for instance) are often absent in middle and high school physical education classes and students’ sporting activities. An “Ethics in Sport” class that would not only acquaint students with the elements of play, game, and sport, but also allow them to discuss the crucial role that ethics ought to play in all the school physical activities. Perhaps this would help instill in our children and youth the much-needed value of stewardship that appears to be lacking in most amateur and professional sporting activities.
Can Precollege Philosophy Help Academic Philosophy’s Diversity Problem? Reflecting on What Diverse Philosophers Say about Early Exposure to Philosophy
Debi Talukdar, Nic Jones, and Sara Goering
There is a significant lack of diversity in philosophy and few programs offering classes exploring philosophy outside the Western canon. This problem is compounded by institutional racism, sexism, and ableism and the perception that philosophy is an abstract subject suitable only for academically advanced students. If philosophy were more accessible to diverse groups of precollege students, would more individuals from underrepresented groups enter the field? In 2018, PLATO and the APA surveyed their members about their first exposures to philosophy. It was clear that early experiences were pivotal to generating interest in philosophy. We describe some of these experiences and suggest that quality P4C programs have the potential to help build a robust, inclusive K–12 to college philosophy pipeline by tapping into children’s natural interest in philosophical wondering.
3. Mary Gates Hall 251
Chair: Jana Mohr Lone
Ethics All Life Long
This presentation will discuss questions/issues associated with the concept of lifelong public ethics programs. It will also describe the successes/stumbles and experiences of one such program, A2Ethics, a volunteer nonprofit organization based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It will invite participants to share their own initiatives with lifespan-oriented public philosophy programs.
Mindfulness for Little Minds: The Use of Meditative and Contemplative Practices in Philosophy for Children
In this interactive presentation, I will demonstrate (and involve participants) in meditative and contemplative practices that I have used to start lessons for both college students (in philosophy classes and in a class to teach college students the theory and practice of doing philosophy with precollege students) and elementary school students (second grade through high school). I will present a variety of different strategies I’ve used to enter philosophy lessons, especially a series of “experiments in consciousness” I’ve developed for use with early grade school students. I will expand upon the use of these experiments in both second-grade classes and college classes, trying to illuminate the similarities and differences in doing these exercises with these differently aged constituencies.
4. Mary Gates Hall 271
Chair: Allison Cohen
Philosophy for Adolescents: Using Fables to Support Critical Thinking about Ethical Dilemmas
Marilyn Nippold and Erin Marr
In this presentation, we will describe a new language arts program, Philosophy for Adolescents, ages 12-17 years old. This course builds on the work of philosopher Richard Paul, an international authority on critical thinking. In the course, small groups of students, led by a mentor, discuss 40 fables attributed to Aesop that focus on empathy, integrity, and humility, and contrasting traits of self-interest, deception, and arrogance. We emphasize teaching students how to think rather than what to think, and how to communicate effectively. During the second half of the presentation, we will engage the audience using the program.
A P4C Facilitation Journey in Wisconsin
We will facilitate a Community of Philosophical Inquiry (CPI) based on the journey undertaken with our colleagues to develop Madison Public Philosophy, a public philosophy organization in Madison, Wisconsin, that runs P4C programs in local schools and organizes community ethics discussions based on the CPI approach to dialogue facilitation. We will begin with a brief overview of our origin, the details of our weekly dialogue facilitation training sessions, our ongoing efforts to adapt to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and our successful and unsuccessful collaborations with community partners. When the actual CPI session begins, we will focus on its early stages: selecting the most meaningful questions rather than rushing to reach answers as quickly as possible.
Critically Engaging with the Obligations Students Have to Their Communities
Children are not merely students; they are also members of their local communities. In “The Work of Local Culture,” agrarian philosopher Wendell Berry criticizes schools that encourage children to undervalue their local communities, to downplay obligations they have towards them, and to exchange them for communities elsewhere that would better suit their needs or even whims. We have an interest in protecting strong local communities, and multi-generational consistency, he argues, is a necessary feature of those communities. In this presentation, I will facilitate a Community of Philosophical Inquiry (CPI) in which we will critically evaluate Berry’s claim.
5:30-7 pm Happy Hour – Mary Gates Commons
SATURDAY JUNE 25 SATURDAY PROGRAM PDF
9-10:30 am Workshops
1. Mary Gates Hall Room 231: Making Philosophy Personal: Early Experiences with Inquiry
Debi Talukdar, Alex Chang, and Roberta Israeloff
During this workshop, participants will be invited to explore their earliest experiences with philosophical inquiry, and then recount this in a personal narrative. It is the second in a series of philosophical narrative workshops, the first of which was offered at the 2019 PLATO Conference. These narratives form the core of PLATO’s Narrative Project, which explores people’s exposure to philosophical thinking and the various factors that inspired them to remain involved in the field. Our findings will be documented, ultimately, in a research paper that will propose new and more relevant ways to introduce philosophy to young students.
2. Mary Gates Hall Room 241: Author Meets Critics Session: Thinking Through Stories: Children, Philosophy, and Picture Books
Thomas Wartenberg (VIRTUAL), Stephen Kekoa Miller, and Wendy C. Turgeon (VIRTUAL); Erik Kenyon (moderator)
In this session we will discuss Thomas Wartenberg’s new book. The topic of picture books has generated a good deal of controversy in the philosophy for children community. Some have followed Lipman’s lead and condemned picture books as inappropriate for getting children to think for themselves. Others have advocated for the use of picture books, arguing that Lipman has misunderstood how they generate genuine thinking among young children.
3. Mary Gates Hall Room 251: TEQ Deck: A Tool to Promote Discussions about Technology and Ethics
James Read and Emily Robertson
TEQ Deck: Technology, Ethics, Questions, is a game designed to allow younger audiences an opportunity to practice philosophical discussion, inquiry, and debate by offering 52 different prompt cards, each with a question or statement about the ethics of technology. Because technology has become more omnipresent in our lives since the pandemic, it’s more important than ever that young people think critically technology’s influence, and about the ethical implications associated with contemporary technological developments. TEQ Deck’s design allows for a less formal, Socratic-style discussion or a more structured “gameplay” experience wherein students are presented with a series of goals or objectives over the course of their discussion of each card.
1. Mary Gates Hall Room 231
Chair: Aaron Yarmel
Ethics in Action Across the Philosophy Core Sequence at Stanford Online High School
Jonathan Weil and Joseph Rees
In our presentation, we explain the arc of exposure to ethics throughout our philosophy sequence and explore how we think this trajectory equips students. In particular, we will focus on the ethical aspects of the courses at our school – on human nature and society, and political theory – and detail the ethics section of our senior-year course, with an emphasis on the Moral Experiment. Then we will lead a discussion on alternative ways to prepare students for ethical thinking in and out of the classroom.
The Effects of Pre-College Philosophy Instruction on Critical Thinking Skills
Brian Collins (VIRTUAL)
We conducted our research during the SoCal Philosophy Academy’s annual Summer Institute at California Lutheran University. Students took a critical thinking skills test, measuring argument evaluation, assumption recognition, and conclusion drawing both before and after the week-long institute. We found significant increases in the students’ scores. In our presentation we will discuss the data and share our approach. We also hope to get feedback to help us devise next steps to improve on future iterations of the project.
Is Virtue Teachable? Cosmopolitanism’s terrible bargains
Using the Meno as our point of departure, we will review how the Academy of the Sacred Heart transformed the 10th grade World History curriculum into a political philosophy seminar blending political geography with ethics. Sophomores took a virtual world tour of the world’s current hotspots. Students were asked to keep many factors in mind: the global trend towards authoritarianism, the fate of broken nation states teetering between civil war dictatorship, the burden of colonial and postcolonial extraction economies, and the fact that sectarian violence is fueled by prolonged ethnic and regional enmity. They were then asked to consider how one navigates the moral straits between deadly and disorderly democracy and the injustice of tyrannical government.
2. Mary Gates Hall Room 241
Chair: Stephen Miller
Teaching Ethics with Argument Maps
Anne Sanderson (VIRTUAL)
We will introduce argument mapping: a simple, powerful tool for understanding how reasons fit together to support a claim. A growing body of evidence shows that practice with argument mapping significantly improves critical thinking skills compared to other methods. Mapping is particularly effective when people collaborate to construct and discuss ethical issues. Our instructors will first provide an overview of argument mapping using MindMup, a digital tool. Next, we will divide the group into small teams to map an ethics case.
Philosophy internships have great potential for achieving important objectives for philosophy programs, particularly those emphasizing ethics emphasis, but what sorts of internship opportunities would be best suited for undergraduates in a philosophy program? Philosophy internships address these two important objectives: (1) assuming that philosophical reflection alone is ineffective in cultivating moral development, philosophy internships offer a mode of experiential learning that may supplement and enhance classroom education; and (2) because philosophy is not associated with any obvious career options, philosophy internships may provide students with additional guidance as they transition from college to career.
Life is Strange: Teaching Ethical Dilemmas through Video Games and Video Game Culture
Teaching ethics to students requires that teachers connect the importance of ethics to daily life. Thanks to social media, smartphones, and video games, students today are more digitally connected than ever. As a result, I argue that we should embrace the existence of technology within our students’ lives, which includes both the in-game decisions made by players as well as the interpersonal experiences of online gaming. This allows instructors to use new ways to introduce ethical reasoning to students, as well as impress upon students how frequently they run into ethical dilemmas and the various ethical theories they can deploy when trying to make the right choices.
3. Mary Gates Hall Room 251
Chair: Debi Talukdar
Thinking About Childhood
Jana Mohr Lone and Claire Cassidy
This interactive presentation will examine the nature of childhood and the distinctions made between children and adults. Traditionally childhood is viewed as a time of preparation for adulthood: children are seen as “becomings,” as opposed to adults, who are full human beings. Gareth Matthews calls this view the “deficit model” of childhood: children are characterized as possessing underdeveloped cognitive, emotional, and social faculties. As a result, when children express their own ideas, especially on weighty subjects, they are not taken seriously, a form of epistemic injustice. We will invite a conversation about how doing philosophy with children can create possibilities for child-defined philosophical encounters, including the role of listening in philosophy and particularly in K-12 classrooms.
Is that a Philosophical Question? The Tension between Democratizing the Classroom and Building Skills in Philosophy for Children
In the theory underpinning Philosophy for Children (P4C), there is a long-standing commitment to democratizing the classroom in the methodological sense, where democratizing the classroom means, among other things, that the children determine what questions we consider and the direction our discussion takes— they have the epistemic authority to drive the inquiry. Question-asking and question selection are crucial steps in determining the focus of the community’s philosophical reflection. There is a widely held belief that, to democratize the classroom, question-asking and question selection should be undertaken by the students themselves rather than by the adult facilitator. In practice, however, this commitment to methodological democratization generates a tension. Learning how to ask and identify philosophical questions is a skill that needs to be acquired through practice.
Why UNESCO supports philosophy with children: political and humanistic issues of this practice in schools and in the city
Philosophy is one of the essential drivers of democratic life, though too often relegated to secondary or university education, hence to the elite. The challenges of democratizing philosophy teachings are very closely linked to UNESCO’s objectives and values, especially the belief that philosophy should be taught at a young age: “The very mission of UNESCO, dedicated to serving the intellectual and moral solidarity of humanity, is to embrace and promote knowledge as a whole. In an open, inclusive and pluralistic, knowledge-oriented society, philosophy has its rightful place…alongside the other social and human sciences…at the heart of our concerns” (Goucha, 2007). In 2016 the first UNESCO Chair for Philosophy with Children was created and this practice is now advocated by the United Nations.
4. Mary Gates Hall Room 271
Chair: Deborah Mower
The Ethical Dimension of History
Paul Reale and Joshua Large
Among the insights of history is that “the past is a foreign country.” Past actors saw the world differently from us, raising the question: how can we pass judgment on them? Moreover, doesn’t this question illuminate the relativism of today, where cultural differences generate incommensurate ethical foundations? Is history an object lesson in moral relativism? Our presentation will show that, far from leading students into a relativist morass, history helps guide them toward a reasonable middle ground. Perceiving the differences between us and our forebears is no more or less important than perceiving commonality. The fact that ethical judgment must be properly circumscribed in temporal and cultural contexts does not preclude judgment.
Philosophy Through Computer Science
This presentation will explore how to teach key philosophical concepts (for example, external world skepticism and the existence of God) through computer science, a novel approach with no precedent. I will introduce and clarify three philosophical ideas by asking participants to engage with computational concepts through activities: (i) digital image manipulation (RGB color system and image file formats) as an entry to external world skepticism, (ii) cellular automata (John Conway’s Game of Life) as an entry to the relationship between free will and determinism, and (iii) machine learning (regression and clustering) as an entry to the problem of induction.
12:30-2:30 pm LUNCH INTEREST GROUP SESSIONS
(Saturday lunch is provided for all conference participants)
Interest Group Sessions will involve facilitated open conversations on the following four topics, focusing on issues of interest to the group. Conference participants may choose any one of the four to attend, or you are welcome to take a lunch and spend the lunch period on your own or with colleagues.
Mary Gates Hall Room 231
Issues Facing Experienced P4C Practitioners
Led by Karen Emmerman, Stephen Kekoa Miller, and Debi Talukdar
Mary Gates Hall Room 241
Issues for People New to the P4C Field
Led by Kelly Cowling, Marisa Diaz-Waian, Dustin Webster, and Sarah Vitale
Mary Gates Hall Room 251
Lesson Planning for Classroom Teachers
Led by Alison Cohen and Colin Pierce
Mary Gates Hall Room 271
Philosophy with Young People and Potential Paths After Graduate School
Led by Stone Addington, Cassie Finley, Jordan Sherry-Wagner, and Aaron Yarmel
2:30-4 pm Workshops
1. Mary Gates Hall Room 231: Primary Sources for Youth (PS4Y)
Erik Kenyon, Michael Vazquez, and Stephen Kekoa Miller
The P4C community relies on books and other media created explicitly for children more than on primary sources. In this workshop, session leaders draw from P4C practices to address three major challenges to using primary sources with middle and high school students. Participants will use an excerpt from Cicero, On Fate, to prepare lesson plans for their own context: grade-level, discipline, and language. Finally, participants will sketch a unit based on primary sources to integrate into their own teaching. We will use an Understanding-by-Design approach, starting with the final project/assessment in mind and then laying out passages to build up to it. Workshop leaders provide online resources for primary sources in age-appropriate translation and accompanying lessons plans.
2. Mary Gates Hall Room 241: Building a Peaceful, Just, Verdant Future
Workshop participants will explore ethical questions that relate to the creation of a peaceful, just, verdant future world. In small groups, participants will review actual historical documents such as the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (1948). These small groups will consider how these documents might be updated to address current world concerns and views. Participants will have an opportunity to propose changes before a simulated committee or to sit on the committee considering changes. Alternatively, participants may act as reporters or remain in the audience as witnesses.This simulation workshop can be adapted for use in middle school, high school, and college classrooms.
3. Mary Gates Hall Room 251: Assessing P4C Programs
Many educators recognize assessments, rightly, as part of a neoliberal school management system, which functions to reward already high performing schools and punish under-resourced schools. University faculty in the humanities see how assessment functions to reduce the size of our departments, decrease our resources, and, in some cases, eliminate entire programs. Nonetheless, those of us who practice philosophy for children operate in a system that demands such things, especially when it comes to funding or other institutional support. In addition, we want to know our programs are working, beyond anecdotal accounts. In this workshop, participants will (1) consider the potential ethical dilemma of particular types of assessment; (2) discuss the potential benefits and drawbacks of assessment; (3) discuss what may be important to assess in a P4C program; and (4) consider various ways to assess our outcomes.
4. Mary Gates Hall Room 271: The Philosophical Citizen: Exploring Tensions in America’s Democratic System
Recognizing that years of polarization have left our constitutional democracy in peril, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the US Dept of Education funded the Educating for American Democracy initiative. This workshop will introduce participants to the EAD framework and a model lesson that uses prompts relevant to current political questions. The model distinguishes itself from more traditional methods of debate and discussion by drawing attention away from the notion that there are two sides to a political question, and by encouraging students to investigate the nuances and complexity of these topics. Providing students an opportunity to discuss controversial political topics is essential to prepare them for self-governance, but teachers are often hesitant to include such discussions in class. This approach seeks to reduce some of this hesitancy. Come prepared to share your thoughts on balancing majority rule and minority interests. We will also brainstorm ideas to measure progress on identified goals.
4 pm Closing Remarks in Mary Gates Hall Commons
Stone Addington is the Director of Programs at Humanities Washington, overseeing programs including Think & Drink, Speakers Bureau, Prime Time Family Reading, and Public Humanities Fellows. Stone received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Washington. His research focuses on public philosophy, rationality, and the epistemology of extreme beliefs. Stone has taught philosophy courses at the University of Washington, Seattle University, and Seattle Pacific University; and has served as a Philosophy for Children instructor for PLATO.
Kiran Bhardwaj is an instructor in philosophy at Phillips Academy Andover. She primarily teaches ethics and logic courses, including Introduction to Ethics, Ethics and Technology, and Feminist Philosophies. She received a Ph.D. in philosophy from UNC-Chapel Hill, and holds a fellowship through the Tang Institute at Andover, focused on helping to bridge the gap between ethical pedagogy and STEM curricula.
Paul Bodin began his career teaching music, folk and swing dancing, and drama and storytelling to children. Following his work as a regional specialist for talented and gifted students, he taught sixth graders in Family School, a public alternative middle school program in Eugene. He also taught writing and social studies methods courses to University of Oregon graduate students pursuing elementary certification. From 2013 to 2019, Paul organized philosophy for children outreach to Eugene area elementary and middle schools as an instructor in the University of Oregon Philosophy Department.
Mary Bovill is a lecturer and researcher in the Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh, working in the field of teacher education. She has taught in schools, universities and prison, and her work focuses on language and community of philosophical inquiry. In both her teaching and research activities, she is interested in developing teachers’ understanding of a critical pedagogy that values human reasoning and challenges static concepts of identity.
Christopher Buckels has been teaching high school philosophy for six years at Junípero Serra High School in San Mateo, CA, where he also coaches the school’s Ethics Bowl and Mock Trial teams. He earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from UC Davis and taught philosophy at the university level for several years. His research focuses on ancient Greek philosophy, particularly Plato’s metaphysics; his most recent publication is “A Platonic Trope Bundle Theory” in Ancient Philosophy Today: Dialogoi (2:2, 91-112).
Johanna Buckels teaches sixth and eighth grade English language arts and literature, emphasizing poetry and argument, at St Matthew Catholic School in San Mateo, CA, where she also helps direct the middle school drama department and has co-directed the journalism club. In her eleven years in the classroom, she has also taught pre-kindergarten, first, and fourth grades. She was a contributing writer for the early literacy program Being a Reader, published by Center for the Collaborative Classroom. Her MA in science of teaching is from Fordham University.
Claire Cassidy is a professor of education in the School of Education, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. She is the course leader of the Postgraduate Certificate in Philosophy with Children, the only course of its kind in the UK. Her research and publications focus upon three inter-related topics: philosophy with children; children’s human rights, and human rights education; and concepts of child/childhood. Claire trains practitioners nationally and internationally in PwC and leads the Philosophy with Children and Communities Network Scotland.
Alexandra Chang, a member of PLATO’s Academic Advisory Board, is a middle school English teacher in Michigan who previously taught for three years in Boston Public Schools. Alex studied philosophy and education at Carleton College. As a teacher, Alex continues to develop philosophy lesson plans for middle school students, as well as consider the intersection between philosophy, social-emotional learning, and restorative practices. Most recently, Alex has collaborated with A2Ethics in Ann Arbor to develop a workshop for local teachers interested in expanding the use of philosophy in their core classes. She is also a member of PLATO’s Advocacy Committee.
Edwige Chirouter is a professor and researcher in philosophy of education at the University of Nantes (France), specializing in philosophy with children and children’s literature. She is the author of several books and scientific articles on the subject (including “L’enfant, la littérature et la philosophie“, Paris, L’harmattan), as well as a children’s author. Since 2016, she has held the UNESCO Chair “Philosophy practices with children: an educational basis for intercultural dialogue and social transformation.” She also coordinates an international network for this Chair and organizes the World Philosophy Day.
Chong Choe-Smith is assistant professor of philosophy and a faculty associate for the Community Engagement Center at CSU Sacramento. Dr. Choe-Smith completed her JD at University of California Davis School of Law and her PhD at Georgetown University. Her research focuses on social and global justice and experiential learning. Her article “Academic Internships in Philosophy” is forthcoming in Teaching Philosophy.
Allison Cohen, PLATO’s Board President, is an AP U.S. Government and Philosophy teacher at Langley High School in McLean, VA. She is dedicated to bringing quality philosophy curricula to high schools across the nation and expanding opportunities for students to engage in philosophical questioning and reasoning. Allison has presented papers at several national conferences about critical thinking, argument diagramming, affirmative action, and genetic enhancement. An adjunct professor in American University’s education department, she teaches Essentials of Effective Instruction. Allison also serves on the Board of Directors for Street Law, a national nonprofit committed to preserving and enhancing civics education in our schools, and the Society for Ethics Across the Curriculum.
Lisa Cohen teaches English to 9th and 12th graders, and develops literacy and writing curricula. She is the advisor for Starboard, the student online publication at Kent Place School. Ms. Cohen holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Yale University, and a master’s in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Ms. Cohen taught the AP and IB English programs in South Florida for nine years, before joining the Kent Place faculty in 2013.
Brian J. Collins is Associate Professor of Philosophy at California Lutheran University and is the founder and director of the SoCal Philosophy Academy. His research focuses on ethics and political philosophy with an emphasis on ‘political obligation,’ and the intersection of ethical and political philosophical theories. In addition, he has a passion for teaching undergraduates as well as precollege and public philosophy.
Kelly Cowling received her MA in religious studies from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Her time at Naropa sparked an interest in contemplative education and led her back to her training in Philosophy for Children and Communities. She founded Grey Havens Philosophy, a nonprofit in Longmont CO, devoted to creative and critical thinking for every generation.
Kevin Craven is a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Michigan philosophy department. He has been involved with the NHSEB in a coaching or organizing capacity since coming to Michigan in 2014. His research interests are in political philosophy, the philosophy of language, and how both of these can be brought to bear on contemporary controversies surrounding gender identity.
Serge Danielson-Francois teaches humanities at Academy of the Sacred Heart. He is a public intellectual who leverages classical Western philosophy to advance contemporary conversations about issues of conscience. Serge earned a masters in library science from University of Arizona, and a second masters in educational technology from Lawrence Technological University. He now leads a program for Humanities North Dakota on Dostoevsky and Kurosawa’s interpretations of The Idiot. He is co-presenting at the College Theological Society conference in June on the theology of the antebellum utopian abolitionist community of North Elba/Timbuktoo where John Brown is buried.
Marisa Diaz-Waian is on the PLATO Academic Advisory Board and chairs the Education Committee. She is the founder and director of Merlin CCC – a public philosophy non-profit in Helena, MT. A community philosopher and generalist by nature, training, and practice, Marisa happily hangs her hat at Merlin Nature Preserve where she lives and serves as its trustee and steward. She has a special interest in ethics, ancient philosophy, existentialism, humor, and “fuzzy” topics at the intersection of philosophy and psychology. Her work focuses on philosophy in the community, frequently with an interdisciplinary, environmental, and intergenerational bent.
Evan Dutmer is Instructor in Leadership Education at the Culver Academies, where he teaches a required 11-th grade course, ‘Ethics and the Cultivation of Character’, and directs the Honors Seminar in Leadership Education. He taught Latin at the same institution from 2018-2022. He received his MA and Ph.D. in ancient philosophy from Northwestern University, specializing in ancient ethics and political philosophy (especially Cicero). He is an affiliate of the Philosophy as a Way of Life Project at the University of Notre Dame. He has written articles in ancient philosophy and Classics pedagogy. In 2021 he was shortlisted for the Cambridge University Press Dedicated Teacher Awards (top 60 dossiers of 13,000 global nominations). He also received the 2021 Indiana Classical Conference Teacher of the Year Rising Star Award.
Karen S. Emmerman is PLATO’s Education Director and has worked as philosopher-in-residence at Seattle’s John Muir Elementary School since 2013. She has taught a high school philosophy class and has facilitated teacher trainings in precollege philosophy. As a member of the part-time faculty at the University of Washington, she also teaches a course in philosophy for children at UW and mentors graduate and undergraduate students. She writes on ecofeminism, animal ethics, and philosophy for children, and is an associate editor of Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice.
Abigail Feldman, a Tufts University graduate, was a member of the first Tufts Ethics Bowl team to advance to the national championships. Following graduation, she spent a year in Spain on a Fulbright scholarship teaching English elementary school students. For the past few years, she has worked as a reporter for The Boston Globe, and as a teaching assistant for philosophy courses at Tufts, including introduction to ethics and the Ethics Bowl course for undergraduates. She helped design and facilitate the Ethics Bowl program for incarcerated students at MCI Concord. She plans to pursue a doctoral degree in education.
Cassie Finley is a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy at the University of Iowa, and a member of PLATO’s Academic Advisory Board. She is the director of the Iowa Lyceum, a free precollege philosophy summer program run by University of Iowa graduate students. She has published on the Iowa Lyceum and graduate student education, and has current projects in public and precollege philosophy in the works. She also developed (with Jen Foster, USC) the free public philosophy workshop series, “Cogtweeto.” Her research interests include virtue education, metaphilosophy, social epistemology, ancient Greek philosophy, and philosophy of technology.
Sara Goering is professor of philosophy at the University of Washington, Seattle, and is a member of PLATO’s Program Committee. She helps run teacher training workshops in Seattle and has in the past worked with kindergarten students to explore many intriguing philosophical questions.
Afton Greco is a JD/Ph.D. student at the University of Pennsylvania. She works in moral and political philosophy, and plans to specialize in the philosophy of education. At Penn, Afton co-organizes the Philadelphia High School Ethics Bowl, which just completed its third season. She also regularly judges for the Tufts Ethics Bowl and the New England High School Ethics Bowl. While completing an MA in philosophy at Tufts University, Afton designed and taught a brief tutorial on ethical reasoning to incarcerated students at MCI Concord.
Roberta Israeloff, PLATO’s Board Vice-President, has directed the Squire Family Foundation since its inception in 2007. The Foundation advocates for the inclusion of philosophy in elementary and secondary schools and was a co-founder of both PLATO and the National High School Ethics Bowl. Roberta co-edited Philosophy and Education: Introducing Philosophy to Young People, and is on the editorial board of Precollege Philosophy and Public Practice. In her thirty-five-year career as a writer, she published numerous short stories, essays, book reviews, and books – including, mostly recently, The Ethics Bowl Way: Answering Questions, Questioning Answers, and Creating Ethical Communities, co-edited with Karen Mizell.
Nic R. Jones is a Ph.D. student at the University of Washington working on a dissertation tentatively titled Building Bridges Across Traditions: The Ethics of Cross-Cultural Philosophy. Their research interests are in feminist metaphilosophy, Buddhist philosophy, and the philosophy of transgender identities, with a focus on improving diversity and inclusion in academic philosophy. When not doing research or teaching at the university, they enjoy thinking philosophically with young people and have taught philosophy with kids from 3rd through 10th grade both through PLATO programs and the University of Washington’s Robinson Center for Young Scholars. Nic is a former Philosophy for Children Graduate Fellow at the University of Washington.
G. Kellner is a writer, artist, poet, and educator. Her major focus over the last few years is the completion of her book Hope, A History of the Future, in which she envisions a world seven generations into the future in which we have solved some of the major social, political, and environmental crises of our time.
Erik Kenyon holds a Ph.D. in classics. He is author of Augustine and the Dialogue (Cambridge University Press, 2018) and co-author of Ethics for the Very Young (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019). He teaches middle-school Latin and humanities at Friends Academy in Dartmouth, MA. Erik serves on the board of the National Middle School Ethics Bowl and PLATO’s Education Committee. He is currently translating a collection of Greek and Latin philosophical texts for young readers. He is a member of PLATO’s Academic Advisory Board
Joshua Large is professor of international relations at Universidad EAFIT in Medellin, Colombia, where he also works with the Universidad de Niños (Children’s University), an introductory program in academic research for primary and secondary school children. He also teaches philosophy (virtually) to high school students for Mindbridge Education in Thornhill, Ontario. He received his MA in Central European History from Central European University in Budapest, another MA in Modern European Studies from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in Modern European History from the University of Chicago.
Daniel Lim is an associate professor of philosophy at Duke Kunshan University, and a research fellow at the Center for Philosophy and Cognitive Science at Renmin University, China. His research interests are in philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind, experimental philosophy, and the intersection of philosophy and computer science. He is the author of Philosophy Through Computer Science: An Introduction (Routledge, under contract).
Jana Mohr Lone is PLATO’s Executive Director and was the director of the University of Washington Center for Philosophy for Children before its 2022 merger with PLATO. She is affiliate associate professor of philosophy at the University of Washington, and the author of the books Seen and Not Heard (2021) and The Philosophical Child (2012); co-author of the textbook Philosophy in Education: Questioning and Dialogue in Schools (2016); co-editor of Philosophy and Education: Introducing Philosophy to Young People (2012); and author of many articles about young people’s philosophical thinking and philosophy of childhood. Jana has been lucky enough to lead philosophy sessions with students from preschool to graduate school for more than 25 years.
Hope Mahon is completing her BS in philosophy and environmental science with a focus on environmental ethics. She is a community of philosophical inquiry-trained facilitator with Madison Public Philosophy and was a course assistant for a business ethics course at UW-Madison during the spring semester of 2020.
Erin Marr is a speech-language pathologist for Central 13J School District in Oregon. She earned her BA in the history of art and architecture (University of California Santa Barbara), her MA in the history of art and architecture (University of Pittsburgh), and her MS in communication disorders and sciences (University of Oregon). Her interests include language and literacy development in school-age children.
Alejandro Marx has taught Introduction to philosophy and ethics at the High School for Environmental Studies in Manhattan since 2000. He partnered with the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry to offer an advanced ethics and environmental ethics course to high school students for college credit. He obtained a BA in philosophy from Columbia, and an MA in Secondary Education from the City College of NY. He also coaches his school’s Ethics Bowl team.
Stephen Kekoa Miller teaches philosophy and religious studies at Oakwood Friends School and Marist College. Stephen has served on the Teachers Advisory Council of the National Humanities Center and is current chair of the APA Committee on Precollege Philosophy. Stephen speaks and publishes on precollege philosophy, philosophy of emotions, ethics education, moral imagination, and virtue ethics. He is the editor of Intentional Disruptions (Vernon, 2021). In addition to serving as PLATO’s board treasurer, he also serves on the Advocacy, and Development committees, and the Student Advisory Council.
Deborah S. Mower is the Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Hume Bryant Associate Professor of Ethics and an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Mississippi. She specializes in moral psychology, applied ethics and public policy, and moral education. She is currently a member of PLATO’s Board of Directors and is the recent past president of the Society for Ethics Across the Curriculum. She published two co-edited volumes [Civility in Politics and Education (2012) and Developing Moral Sensitivity (2015)] and co-directed a 2016 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on moral psychology and education.
Marilyn A. Nippold, is a professor in the College of Education at the University of Oregon. Professor Nippold earned her BA in Philosophy (University of California Los Angeles), her MA in Communicative Disorders (California State University Long Beach), and her Ph.D. in Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences (Purdue University). She has published nine books and 135 articles and chapters. Her current research interests include critical thinking and advanced language skills in children, adolescents, and adults.
Tamba Nlandu is an associate professor in the philosophy department at John Carroll University. He has coached club, middle school, and high school soccer teams and served as a USSF and high school certified referee since 2001. He has taught classes on sport ethics, American philosophy, African philosophy, business ethics, and contemporary ethical problems. His articles include “The Fallacies of the Assumptions behind the Arguments for Goal-line Technology in Soccer,” Sport, Ethics, and Philosophy (2012); and “Play Until the Whistle Blows: Sportsmanship as the Outcome of Thirdness,” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport (2008).
Colin Pierce, a member of PLATO’s Academic Advisory Board, has been an educator for 14 years, and is a passionate advocate for equity in education and elevating youth voice and agency in the matters most important to them. He taught at Rainier Beach High School in south Seattle for eight years and coached teams in the Washington State Ethics Bowl for seven. He received his BA from Sarah Lawrence College and his Master of Arts in Teaching from Lewis & Clark College. He works for the City of Seattle’s Department of Education and Early Learning and serves on the Washington State Leadership Board, among other volunteer activities.
James Read is a Ph.D. student in philosophy at UC Santa Cruz. He has experience facilitating philosophical inquiry across age groups, having taught philosophy for children, coached students for high school Ethics Bowl, and served as a TA with over two years of experience. He is interested in ways to get students excited about learning philosophy, and in breaking down the stereotype that philosophy is an inaccessible subject available only to those in college.
Paul Reale is the founder and director of Mindbridge Education in Thornhill, Ontario, where he teaches philosophy for children in an afterschool program designed for both elementary and secondary students. By offering a unique curriculum rooted in philosophical and historical thinking, he encourages students to question not only themselves, but also the world around them. Paul holds both an Honours BA and MA in history from the University of Toronto.
Joseph Rees is a Core Instructor at the Stanford Online High School where he primarily teaches the junior-year political philosophy course Democracy, Freedom, & the Rule of Law and the senior-year philosophy and literature course Critical Reading & Argumentation. He earned a BA in Philosophy from American University and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Georgetown University, with years as a visiting student at both Oxford University and the Goethe University of Frankfurt along the way.
Alex Richardson is Director of the National High School Ethics Bowl based at UNC’s Parr Center for Ethics. A philosopher working at the intersections of ethics, political philosophy, and the philosophy of education, Alex is an award-winning teacher and an advocate for public and pre-college philosophy pedagogy. His current research interests concern issues in moral and civic education. He received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; his dissertation focused on the liberal virtue of civility and its role in the non-ideal politics of democratic societies like our own. Alex also teaches in the Elon University’s philosophy department. He serves on Boards of Directors for the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics and Ethics Bowl Canada.
Emily Robertson is a third-year Ph.D. student at University of California Santa Cruz. She is currently a TA and a graduate pedagogy fellow. She strives to make philosophy accessible and engaging for people regardless of their age or philosophical background.
Baptiste Roucau recently completed a Ph.D. in education at Victoria University of Wellington. His doctoral project explored how children navigate disagreement in philosophical dialogues in the context of democratic education. For the past five years, Baptiste has worked as a philosophy for/with children practitioner with young people in Canada, New Zealand and Switzerland. Much of this work took place while working as a facilitator and now as a program coordinator for educational charity Brila youth projects.
Susan Russinoff has been on the faculty of the Tufts Philosophy Department for twenty-five years. She teaches formal logic, critical thinking, and introductory philosophy courses, and has recently developed courses in philosophy for children (working with children at the Tufts lab school) and precollege philosophy (working with local high school students.) She is the founding director of the Tufts Ethics Bowl Program and hosts the New England Regional High School Ethics Bowl. She also works with the Tufts Prison Initiative on introducing Ethics Bowl competition to college programs for incarcerated students.
Anne L’Hommedieu Sanderson is CEO of ThinkerAnalytix and an associate in the Harvard University philosophy department. She taught English and theology in high schools for 20+ years. Her interest in teaching ethics at the secondary school level led to a partnership with the Harvard philosophy department where she researched how philosophical methods could improve a student’s intellectual and personal growth. Anne co-founded ThinkerAnalytix in 2014 with a team of philosophers, teachers and students from the Cambridge-Boston area.
David Seelow received his Ph.D. in English and comparative literature from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He has expertise in classroom instruction, curriculum design, online learning, literature, comics and graphic novels, critical thought, Anglo-Irish Studies, and educational theory. He is founder of the Excelsior College Online Writing Lab, which has won several national awards for distance education, and has extensive experience in synchronous and asynchronous design and instruction. He holds an Advanced Certificate in Educational Computing and four permanent New York State education licenses (English, Social Studies and School District Administration). Dr. Seelow’s most recent teaching and consulting focuses on the transformative power of game-based learning and comics.
David Shapiro is on the faculty of Cascadia College where he teaches philosophy, drawing heavily upon his experiences and lesson plans for doing philosophy with precollege students. He has been doing philosophy with young people in and around Seattle since he was a graduate student at the University of Washington way back in the 20th century. David is the author and/or co-author of six books, including Plato Was Wrong! Footnotes on Doing Philosophy with Young People, a compendium of activities, exercises, and games he developed for exploring philosophical questions in the classroom and beyond. He is a member of PLATO’s Board of Directors.
Jordan Sherry-Wagner, Ph.D. candidate, is a Learning Scientist and Early Childhood Educator who started work in P4C as a graduate student fellow at the UW Center for Philosophy for Children (now PLATO) from 2017-2019, eventually earning a Certificate of Mastery in P4C in 2021. Jordan has led P4C sessions in numerous elementary schools, teaches early philosophy through the UW Robinson Center’s Saturday program, and has participated as judge and moderator at the WA State Ethics Bowl. Housed in the UW College of Education, his dissertation research focuses on the role of ethical noticing and wondering in early science education.
Laura Soter is a Ph.D. Candidate in philosophy and psychology at the University of Michigan. Her primary academic research focuses on the moral dimensions of close relationships and the ethics of belief. She has been involved with a range of precollege philosophy initiatives in Michigan. In 2017, she founded the UM Philosophy with Kids program, and has coordinated it for the past five years. In that time, she has also worked with the Michigan High School Ethics Bowl (as a coach, judge, and organizer) and collaborated with A2Ethics (a nonprofit dedicated to public philosophy in Michigan) on a variety of initiatives.
Ariel Sykes, Assistant Director of the Ethics Institute at Kent Place School, works with teachers at the elementary, middle and high school level to integrate ethics across the disciplines. Ariel has a BA and MA in philosophy and education, has been a philosophy for children practitioner for over ten years, and has taught ethics at the college level. She worked to develop a professional development model for teaching argument literacy in English classrooms as part of a Department of Education funded grant, an experience that provides the best practices she now uses in her work with teachers. She is a member of PLATO’s Board of Directors.
Debi Talukdar is PLATO’s Program Director. She has been facilitating K-12 philosophy classes since 2014 and was the Philosopher-in-Residence at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School, Seattle, from 2018-2021. She also facilitates educator workshops and organizes a monthly seminar for individuals interested in philosophy with young people. Debi is a former instructor at the University of Washington College of Education and former ensemble member at Theater for Change UW. She currently lives in Oakland, CA, and is a curriculum and training designer at Wayfinder.
Delaney Thull is a Ph.D. student in Philosophy at UNC-Chapel Hill. She works for UNC’s Parr Center for Ethics, teaching experiential learning and community-engaged philosophy courses, and organizing for the National High School Ethics Bowl. She works on the moral psychology of anger and its political implications. She also researches the problems democracies face with internet troll farms. She completed her MA in philosophy at UNC in 2021. She holds an AB in philosophy with a Certificate in Values and Public Life from Princeton University.
John Torrey is Assistant Professor of Philosophy and a contributing professor in the Africana Studies unit at SUNY Buffalo State. He holds a BA in Philosophy and Spanish from Morehouse College (2009) and an MA and Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Memphis (2019). His primary research interests are in the intersection of political philosophy, applied ethics, and African-American philosophy, specifically with regards to calls for Black reparations in America. Additionally, he has interests in philosophy of education and pre-college philosophy. He also has developed precollege philosophy programs since 2010, Philosophical Horizons at the University of Memphis and the Buffalo State Lyceum. He serves on PLATO’s Academic Advisory Board.
Wendy C. Turgeon is a professor of philosophy at St. Joseph’s College-NY. She has been involved in philosophy with/for young people for many years and has developed courses and programs for undergraduates and graduate students in introducing philosophy in precollege education. She has served on the boards of ICPIC, PLATO, and NAACI, three organizations that work to promote philosophy throughout education and advocate for children as thinkers and members of society. She is a member of PLATO’s Academic Advisory Board.
Teri Turner is a board member of A2Ethics, a 12-year-old public philosophy initiative in Ann Arbor. A nurse specializing in hospice care, Teri has been engaged in ethics education through teaching and service on Hospital/Hospice Ethics Committees, and as founding board member of the Children’s Palliative Care Coalition of Michigan. Teri came to A2Ethics via the Slam, leading a team from Arbor Hospice. She is a Michigan Ethics Bowl judge and community case writer.
Michael Vazquez is teaching assistant professor and Director of Outreach in the philosophy department and the Parr Center for Ethics at UNC-Chapel Hill. He is also a lecturer on the social foundations of education for Penn’s Mid-Career Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania in May 2020, and completed the post-baccalaureate program in classical studies at the University of Pennsylvania in 2015. He is a member of PLATO’s Academic Advisory Board.
Sarah Vitale is an associate professor of philosophy at Ball State University. Her research focuses on Marx and post-Marxism, the scholarship of teaching and learning, and philosophy for children. She teaches courses in existentialism and critical theory. She is co-coordinator of the Radical Philosophy Association. Her publications include “Community-Engaged Learning and Precollege Philosophy During Neoliberalism” (Teaching Philosophy 42:4) and “Overcoming Barriers: Pre-college Philosophy Programs in Neoliberalism” (Intentional Disruption: Expanding Access to Philosophy, ed. Stephen Kekoa Miller). Vitale is the founder of Philosophy Outreach Project (POP).
Jennifer Wargin has a PhD in philosophy from Texas A&M University. Her areas of specialization are ethics and political philosophy. She is currently a postdoctoral teaching fellow with Utah Tech University. Her teaching interests include active and cooperative learning strategies to teach philosophy, online and blended teaching, and teaching philosophy to non-traditional students.
Thomas E. Wartenberg is professor of philosophy (emeritus) at Mount Holyoke College. Among his publications are Big Ideas for Little Kids: Teaching Philosophy Through Children’s Literature and A Sneetch is a Sneetch and Other Philosophical Discoveries: Finding Wisdom in Children’s Literature. His philosophy for children website was awarded the 2011 APA/PDC Prize for Excellence and Innovations in Philosophy Programs. He served as PLATO’s Board President from 2016-18 and is a member of PLATO’s Founders Circle.
Dustin Webster, a member of PLATO’s Academic Advisory Board, is a doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, where he studies the philosophy of education. He has a professional background in K-12 education with experience in a variety of contexts, including most recently as a 5th grade teacher. In addition to engaging K-12 students in philosophy, Dustin’s interests include character and virtue education, educational ethics, and education and social mobility. Dustin’s educational background includes an M.A. in Philosophy and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a Masters in Law from The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
Jonathan Weil earned a BA in philosophy and MA in philosophy of science from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Southern California. He is the Philosophy Core division head at Stanford Online High School, and as an OHS instructor has taught synchronous junior high school and high school courses including Human Nature and Society, Methodology of Science: Biology, History and Philosophy of Science, Democracy, Freedom, and the Rule of Law, Critical Reading and Argumentation, Study of the Mind, and Eastern Thought.
Jonathan Wurtz will be an assistant professor in philosophy for children at the University of Guam starting this fall. Jonathan specializes in 20th century French philosophy, philosophy of childhood, and socio-political philosophy. Their research is divided between two projects: criticizing the traditionally adultist and colonialist function of childhood in the history of philosophy, and issues at the intersection of diversity and methodology in philosophy for children. Jonathan has been practicing P4C since 2013 when they joined the University of Memphis’ Philosophical Horizons program, a P4C program that introduces the history and practice of philosophy to Memphis children, particularly those who are socio-economically disadvantaged and in schools least likely to have the resources to implement Philosophy for Children.
Aaron Yarmel is the Associate Director of the Center for Ethics and Human Values at The Ohio State University. His research focuses on two-level utilitarianism, social change, and philosophy for children. Before moving to Ohio, he was the founding director of Madison Public Philosophy, a P4C organization. He serves on PLATO’s Advocacy Committee, is a college ethics bowl coach, and judges middle school and high school ethics bowl tournaments. Aaron holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an MSc in Philosophy of Science from the London School of Economics, and a Bachelor of Music from the Eastman School of Music.
Housni Zbaghdi is a philosophy teacher at AL JABR High School. After receiving a Ph.D. in political philosophy, Housni served as an assistant professor of philosophy at la Sorbonne. She pursued her career as an associate dean of humanities at University M6P. After having her first child, she became a philosophy teacher in high schools and practiced P4C in various locations. Once certified as a trainer in philosophy workshops, she co-founded the association SEVE Morocco in 2018. Since then, more than 100 facilitators have been trained.