Philosophy Laboratory

Teaching Philosophy 21 (4):315-326 (1998)
Eric Steinhart
William Paterson University of New Jersey
Philosophical concepts are easier to teach and to learn if students can directly manually and visually manipulate the objects instantiating them. What is needed is a philosophy laboratory in which students learn by experimenting. Games are highly idealized yet concrete structures able to instantiate abstract concepts. I show how to use the Game of Life (a computerized cellular automaton "game") to teach concepts like: individuation; supervenience; the phenomena / noumena distinction; the physical / design / and intentional stances; the argument from design; and models for Leibnizian monads. Such formal games are good ways to use computers to teach philosophy.
Keywords game of life  cellular automaton  computer
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DOI 10.5840/teachphil199821448
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