Metaphilosophy 46 (3):414-435 (2015)

Kirsten Walsh
University of Exeter
Adrian Currie
Cambridge University
Pedagogical situations require white lies: in teaching philosophy we make decisions about what to omit, what to emphasise, and what to distort. This article considers when it is permissible to distort the historical record, arguing for a tempered respect for the historical facts. It focuses on the rationalist/empiricist distinction, which still frames most undergraduate early modern courses despite failing to capture the intellectual history of that period. It draws an analogy with Michael Strevens's view on idealisation in causal explanation to distinguish between myths and caricatures. Myths are distortions of the historical record that undermine students' understanding of the past, despite having other pedagogical benefits. Caricatures are distortions that either increase or are indifferent to understanding of the past. Mythmaking, the article argues, is unjustified
Keywords experimental philosophy  pedagogy  rationalism  empiricism  early modern philosophy
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DOI 10.1111/meta.12139
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References found in this work BETA

Three Kinds of Idealization.Michael Weisberg - 2007 - Journal of Philosophy 104 (12):639-659.

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Citations of this work BETA

Frameworks for Historians & Philosophers.Adrian Currie & Kirsten Walsh - 2018 - Hopos: The Journal of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science 9:1-34.

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