Teaching Ethics, Happiness, and The Good Life: An Upbuilding Discourse in the Spirits of Soren Kierkegaard and John Dewey

In Steven M. Cahn, Alexandra Bradner & Andrew Mills (eds.), Philosophers in the Classroom: Essays on Teaching. Indianapolis, IN, USA: pp. 170-184 (2018)

Alexander Stehn
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
This essay narrates what I have learned from Søren Kierkegaard & John Dewey about teaching philosophy. It consists of three sections: 1) a Deweyan pragmatist’s translation of Kierkegaard’s religious insights on Christianity, as a way of life, into ethical insights on philosophy, as a way of life; 2) a brief description of the introductory course that I teach most frequently: Ethics, Happiness, & The Good Life; and 3) an exploration of three spiritual exercises from the course: a) self-cultivation by means of writing in an Ethics Notebook, b) an “existential experiment” in which we practice one of Aristotle’s virtues for a week, and c) a 15-hour service-learning component.
Keywords Teaching Philosophy  Teaching Ethics  John Dewey  Soren Kierkegaard  Service Learning
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