Essential Philosophy for Classical Educators

with Dr. David Schenk

Think Clearly, Distinguish Well.

Essential Philosophy for Classical Educators.
Let’s begin!

Effective Grammar School Teaching and Leadership

with Lori Jill Keeler
This course is a vibrant course taught by a vibrant professor of philosophy (Dr. David Schenk of Messiah College) that introduces teachers to some of the essential elements of philosophy. Philosophy has traditionally been a capstone study (along with theology) for a classical education that follows the study of the liberal arts. Every classical educator, therefore, should have at least modest philosophical training. This course provides that by presenting us with some of the most central ideas, debates, challenges, arguments in the history of philosophy. The course begins with a call to using clear language to express clear ideas, then proceeds to a critique of modern relativism and skepticism about truth. Then Dr. Schenk proceeds to discuss ontology (the study of being), Anselm’s famous ontological argument for the existence of God as well as his cosmological argument for the existence of God. The course turns to examine the problem and the solution to the problem of evil as well as a presentation of the design arguments for the existence of God (including the fine-tuning argument) and concludes with presentations about causation and the free will debate.   Teachers taking this course will also enjoy hearing Dr. Schenk’s insights and passion for education in the recorded conversations with Dr. Christopher Perrin.
This course is divided into 23 brief lessons, each featuring a presentation by philosophy professor Dr. David Schenk. The course also features conversations between Dr. Schenk and Dr. Christopher Perrin, in which they discuss various presentations given by Dr. Schenk. Within the lessons below, you will find video lectures, session outlines, recommended readings, questions for discussion and reflection, and additional recommended resources.

  • Lesson 1: Fundamental Distinctions Used in Philosophy
  • Discussion: Paying Attention to Your Own Thinking
  • Lesson 2: Popular Errors in Academia
  • Discussion: Three Common Academic Errors
  • Lesson 3: Skepticism about Truth
  • Lesson 4: Three Examples of Faulty Reasoning
  • Lesson 5: Ontology: The Study of Being
  • Discussion: The Ontological Argument
  • Lesson 6: Anselm’s Ontological Argument for the Existence of God
  • Lesson 7: Anselm’s Ontological Argument Continued
  • Discussion: Alvin Plantinga’s Contribution to Arguments for the Existence of God
  • Lesson 8: The Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God (Aquinas)
  • Lesson 9:The Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God (Craig)
  • Discussion: Why Do We Keep Arguing about the Existence of God?
  • Lesson 10: Grunbaum’s Response to the Cosmological Argument
  • Discussion: Why is There Something and Not Nothing?
  • Lesson 11: Introduction to the Problem of Evil
  • Lesson 12: Solution to the Problem of Evil
  • Discussion: The Problem of Evil
  • Lesson 13: Theodicies for the Greater Good Argument
  • Lesson 14: William Rowe’s Evidential Version of the Problem of Evil Argument
  • Lesson 15: The Design Argument for the Existence of God
  • Lesson 16: The Fine-Tuning Argument for the Existence of God
  • Lesson 17: The Fine-Tuning Argument Continued
  • Discussion: The Fine-Tuning Argument
  • Lesson 18: Introduction to the Free Will Debate
  • Discussion: The Free Will Debate
  • Lesson 19: David Hume’s Radical Empiricism and Argument Against Causation
  • Lesson 20: Roderick Chisholm’s Theory of Agency
  • Lesson 21: Chisholm’s Critique of Hume’s Compatibilist Theory of Action
  • Lesson 22: The Need for a Theory of Action
  • Lesson 23: Frankfurt’s Theory of Action
  • Discussion: Why Educators Should Study Philosophy
  • Discussion: Why Dr. Schenk Moved from Atheism to Theism

Dr. David Schenk has served as a professor of philosophy at Messiah College since 2006, where he teaches courses in logic and philosophy. Known for his clarity of thought and quick wit, David is passionate about helping students to learn the art of clear and cogent thinking. He is also an advocate for the renewal of classical, liberal arts education and has attended classical conferences hosted by the Society for Classical Learning and the Alcuin Fellowship.

 

 

 

Dr. Schenk mentions and recommends the following helpful books at various times throughout this course. List coming in August, 2018!  

Please Note: ClassicalU is currently developing a certification to accompany our course offerings. The certification credit component of this course is now active but also undergoing refinement and testing.

To obtain a certification credit for this course, simply complete the quiz that follows each presentation by David Schenk, and then also take the certification test at the end of the course. The quizzes are designed to ensure that you have understood the essential content of each presentation, and they can be taken more than once if necessary. The cumulative certification test at the end of the course is given as a pass/fail test and requires that you upload two short essays (of 400-600 words) demonstrating your understanding of the main concepts taught during the course. When you have completed the course, a certificate that you can print or email will magically appear under the “My Courses” section of this website.

For this course the two essay assignments are:

1. Why is some familiarity with philosophy helpful for any classical educator?
2. What philosophical concept taught in this course did you enjoy most and why?

Please allow approximately 2 weeks for essay submissions to be reviewed.

By taking the course for certification credit, you will earn an elective credit for your Level 2 certification.

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