This short course in philosophy is grounded in the exploration of profound, fascinating and challenging questions arising out of students’ everyday experiences. As such, philosophy contributes to students’ understanding of themselves, their world and their place in it. Through the exploration of the questions, students will encounter the main areas of philosophy, such as metaphysics (What is existence?), epistemology (What is knowledge?), aesthetics (What is beauty?), social and political philosophy (What is the best form of government?), ethics (What is justice?), etc. They will also encounter some of the thinkers, past and present, who have grappled with these and other big questions.
However, the emphasis of this short course is on ‘doing philosophy’ and on developing the skills needed for philosophical dialogue: careful listening, critical thinking, careful analysis, logic, argumentation, collaborative problem-solving, and reflection. In addition to developing thinking skills, the process of learning through dialogue helps students become more confident in expressing their opinions and respectful of different perspectives.
Philosophy can contribute to a wellbeing programme within junior cycle as it provides a democratic space where everyone’s voice is heard and where students feel respected and grow in awareness of self and others.
This short course in philosophy aims to engage students in philosophical enquiry and dialogue about life’s big questions and to develop critical, creative, collaborative, caring thinkers who can participate in informed discourse and act in the world in a more reflective manner.