Jump to content

Menu

Which philosophy books do you include for high school?


Recommended Posts

If you include books for Philosophy credit for high school, whether integrated such as with TOG or other curriculum, or treated as a separate course, what books do you include? I've read from the tags on philosophy that many use Sophie's World which I do have. I have the following books/potential books in mind:

 

Sophie's World

The Story of Philosophy (Magee)

THe Story of Philosophy (Durant)

The Last Days of Socrates

The Prince

Candide

2nd Treatise on Civil Government

Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics, Politics, Poetics)

Aristotle for Everybody (Adler)

Meditations

 

I'll probably buy The Republic (Plato)

I was also considering Kant's "What is Enlightenment?" and Rousseau's The Social Contract.

Also, we are reading a biography on Francis Bacon this year as well as his essays.

 

All of this seems too heavy. I need to scale back, I think. If anything I would love to know the essentials, and then, of course, if dd has an interest here we could always add something back. My plan would be to integrate/spread this out over all 4 years of high school.

 

Please help me narrow this down. What would be most essential to cover and how much credit could I assign for it? I really love the help I get here. I cannot find this type of help anywhere else.

 

Thank you!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used the Magee book as a one-year course instead of spreading it out over four years. My ds has assigned reading and a writing assignment each week. It also seems to lead to many wonderful discussions. He also read Sophie's World. The only assignment with Sophie's World was discussing it with me. The other works on your list have been included in our Great Books Study, and philosophy is naturally included in our discussions/study of the Great Books all four years.

 

If you are interested, I would be glad to share my writing assignments and break-up of the reading of Magee if you pm me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I designed a Philosophy course for my oldest when she was a junior and here are some of the books we used -

 

Does the Center Hold? This was a great introduction and overview.

 

The Consequences of Ideas This helped us think through the spiritual implications of a lot of the ideas we had read about in the first book.

 

Sophie's World - was a lot of fun!

 

We also used 2-3 library books and I can't at all remember the titles...1 was an anthology, I know. Towards the end of the year I told my daughter to choose a particular philosopher and do some reading and writing about him and his ideas. She chose Kierkegaard and she read a biography of him, Fear and Trembling and one of his other works - another title I can't remember!

 

She is taking a philosophy class now in college (her school requires three philosophy classes as part of the core curriculum) and she is doing very well. The professor is a little crazy ;) and warned all the students that they would do well to get above an 80 on the midterm. My daughter told me that the test covered a lot of information that had not been touched on in class but she was able to get a 97 - sweet! We agreed that her high school reading had really prepared her, even though we had not gone very in depth, kwim?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just thought of another book I used for my oldest two (and me). It is called Thales to Dewey, and it is a much larger and more indepth book than The Story of Philosophy. My oldest two boys read this book alongside The Great Books by time period.

 

FYI - The author is a Christian.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used the Magee book as a one-year course instead of spreading it out over four years. My ds has assigned reading and a writing assignment each week. It also seems to lead to many wonderful discussions. He also read Sophie's World. The only assignment with Sophie's World was discussing it with me. The other works on your list have been included in our Great Books Study, and philosophy is naturally included in our discussions/study of the Great Books all four years.

 

If you are interested, I would be glad to share my writing assignments and break-up of the reading of Magee if you pm me.

 

Hi Tammy, I sent you a pm.:D We are enjoying both Magee and Sophie's World this year, but I have kept it fairly simple as there is a 5-year age difference between my two students.

 

To the OP - Teaching Company courses are always an option. Corraleno and 8filltheheart are usually current on suggestions.

Edited by swimmermom3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Disclaimer: I have not homeschooled a high schooler -- not even close! -- but I've taught philosophy to undergrads and graduate students.

 

You've got some great things on your list already, but before I make any suggestions it would be helpful to know what you're looking for your daughter to get out of her philosophy studies. Are you thinking about this primarily in terms of intellectual history -- i.e., situating writers and their ideas in their time and place? If so, it would probably make sense to fold your study of philosophy into whatever you're doing for a history sequence.

 

Alternatively, if you and your daughter want to focus more on the ideas themselves, you might think about organizing your curriculum around a few broad questions, maybe one a semester, or even one a year. For example: What is justice? What does an ideal society look like? Does God exist? How do we know what we know? This kind of course can also link up with a literature study, depending on what you're planning on doing for that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you, Jennie. Your question is just what I need to read to help organize my thoughts. I'm thinking that many of these books will simply fall under our chronological study of history and literature throughout high school. But, I do want to spend time asking/studying broader questions. I'm thinking as I write, so I hope this makes sense...:lol:

 

I could either allow some books to fall under our general study of humanities and then add a semester (or a year) of philosophy in 11th or 12th grade with a focus on studying some broader questions

 

or I could spread all of this out over all 4 years matching the philosophers to our study of history and choosing one or two broad questions each year to study.

 

I'm worried initially that the latter will be harder to do, but it is the one I'd prefer.

 

Hmmm, any thoughts?

Thank you so much for helping think this through.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I start introducing excerpts from philosophical works as early as middle school, quite informally, usually making it correspond, at least vaguely, to our History studies - or, to our language studies, being that we study all three classical languages and thus, naturally, many of those things "pop up" and we tackle some of those linguistically, which then leads to reading the same thing in a more broad context in Italian (or English, for that matter) as well as discussing it. That way I have successfully "implemented" large chunks of philosophy of classical antiquity into our studies, as well as some additional things such as a dozen pages of Spinoza or Rambam, some Aquinas or Anselmo, some of the representative passages of Descartes or Hobbes, you get the point.

 

I am used to the system, however, which dedicates 3 good years to the study of philosophy in high school (you can see the basic outline of how the course looks like, with suggested readings, here), usually in a vaguely chronological manner. IF I end up homeschooling my middle till the end (which is a big IF, but let's speak hypothetically), she will go through something like this 10th-12th grade, with greater emphasis on the philosophy of science. For my eldest, however, I have arranged a somewhat different system, given her greater interest in the field, so I plan to cover roughly the following:

 

1. Fragments of the pre-Socratic philosophy (from Thales to Heraclites and Parmenides to the atomists to Protagoras) - we've covered already large chunks of this, but we'll probably go through it once more in Greek;

 

2. Plato: Apologia (studied, but we might return to it), Phaedo or Symposium or both, Republic, Cratylus, Phaedrus, Euthyphro, possibly Theaetetus;

 

3. Aristotle: Poetics, parts from Metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics

 

4. The tradition of stoics and skeptics, in excerpts only; as well as parts from Seneca and Marcus Aurelius's Meditations

 

5. Jewish philosophy before Rambam: Philo of Alexandria (studied already), Saadia Gaon (studied partially), ibn Gevirol (together with Neo-Platonism), Yehuda HaLevi (The Book of Kuzari, studied partially)

 

6. Rambam: parts from The Guide for the Perplexed (studied partially, but will definitely study more)

 

7. Christian philosophy: St. Augustin's Confessions and De civitate Dei (possibly in excerpts); Anselmo and Aquinas as in the standard Italian curriculum;

a few additional excerpts from Eurigena and Abelard; Avicenna and Averroes (Muslim philosophy)

 

8. Parts from Bruno, Galilei, Bacon and Descartes as in the standard Italian curriculum; an extended study of Spinoza; Leibniz' on monadology and metaphysics; Voltaire's Candide; parts from Locke, Berkeley and Hume as in the standard Italian curriculum

 

9. Parts from Hobbes' Leviathan, Rousseau on social contract, parts from Holbach's The System of Nature

 

10. Classical German idealism: Kant (a critique she chooses + obligatory parts on aesthetics and prolegomena), parts from Fichte and Schelling; specific parts from Hegel (already did parts on dialectics; I want to also cover some parts on philosophy of history and some parts on aesthetics)

 

11. Italian-specific parts from the Italian curriculum for 3rd lycee

 

12. One book by Schopenhauer; parts from Kierkegaard's religious thought; Nietzsche: The Birth of Tragedy and parts from Thus Spoke Zaratustra or Ecce Homo; the most representative parts from Marx + Communist Manifesto + Hegel and Popper in synchrony (+ Popper's Open Society and its Enemies)

 

13. Parts from Russell (including his dealing with Quinque viae, which we already covered once) and Wittgenstein, James and Husserl, full Scheler

 

14. A continuation of Jewish philosophy: Shem-Tov ibn Falaquera's dialogue on philosophy and religion; parts from Gersonides' Milhamot HaShem; Spinoza through Judaic lenses; Luzzatto (probably Dat Tevunot); Chassidic philosophy (Tanya for sure, we'll see if more); the basics of modern Jewish philosophy interest-led (though *I* would like to cover Leibowitz :D)

 

15. Existentialism: Sartre (Existentialism is Humanism; will read Nausea and some short stories for literature), Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus

 

16. Parts from Heidegger, Gadamer, Horkheimer, Marcuse; Foucault (I plan to cover one interest-led work), Derrida and Lyotard in excerpts only (because *I* cannot stand them)

 

17. Rawls' A Theory of Justice and additional thematic readings

 

18. An aesthetics overview + Croce + Danto

 

Those are the things I'd like to cover over 5 years, we'll see about how it's going to work in practice, but I thought you might profit from some ideas thrown in here (I added Judaic philosophy too, though I realize most wouldn't be doing that).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ester Maria,

All I can say is...wow!:001_smile: Thank you so much for giving me much in which to refer. I have subscribed to this thread so that I can get back to it as needed. I think I will be reading much in the next few years, but I'm excited about learning so much myself. You've given me more to consider, thank you.

 

Kareni,

Thanks for the links. I've found some things in those threads that I missed earlier and want to explore further. Thank you!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I could either allow some books to fall under our general study of humanities and then add a semester (or a year) of philosophy in 11th or 12th grade with a focus on studying some broader questions

 

or I could spread all of this out over all 4 years matching the philosophers to our study of history and choosing one or two broad questions each year to study.

 

I'm worried initially that the latter will be harder to do, but it is the one I'd prefer.

 

Hmmm, any thoughts?

Thank you so much for helping think this through.

 

Honestly, I don't think that you could go wrong either way. The thing about philosophy is that it's such a self-consciously canonical field that it makes sense to read philosophical writers not only in their individual historical moments but also as responding to certain philosophers who have come before them.

 

I have a few more semi-random thoughts, which of course you should just take for what they're worth.

 

(1) IMsomewhatidiosyncraticO, when it comes to philosophy, especially for beginning students, less is more. You don't need to read everything at once. Better to pick a few of the greats, pick your selections carefully, and then take your time. Make sure you build in plenty of time to mull over what you're reading, investigate the historical context, think about how it relates to other things you've read, etc.

 

As a related point, in my experience a lot of college students struggle at first in philosophy classes because they don't realize how slowly they need to read. The tendency is to see 10 pages of assigned reading and then leave half an hour to complete it. But philosophical texts aren't like, say, history books. Some of them are very dense, while others are deceptively simple, but either way, if you read quickly you are likely to miss the point -- let alone the subtleties -- entirely.

 

(2) Philosophy texts themselves are frequently way more accessible than the commentary on those texts. I'd definitely focus much more on primary sources than on secondary ones.

 

(3) Yes, definitely include the Republic! If for no other reason than the fact that a classical student should read Plato's criticism of the Homeric epics :001_smile:

 

I'll keep watching this post, and I occasionally check out this forum, but please feel free to PM me if I can ever be of any more help.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...