Just thought it was fairly interesting how philosophy lessons in the US are now incorporating more popular culture material into their teaching. William Irwin, a philosophy professor at King’s College in Pennsylvania who edits the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series, rationalizes the use of such seemingly radical methodologies by claiming how
“…this is what philosophy has tried to do from the very beginning…Philosophy starts with Socrates in the streets of Athens taking his message to the people and speaking in their language – agricultural analogies and common mythology.”
Although such innovations are not without their detractors and critics, the move does seem to be getting students more interested in philosophy when given such familiar cultural ‘hooks’ to help ease them into the theories and concepts. For example, in a Boston Globe interview, professor Mark D. White of the College of Staten Island (CUNY) describes how Batman’s limitations in his crime-fighting endeavor are actually underpinned by many philosophical considerations:
Because he doesn’t have powers, Batman faces more limitations, and limitations force decisions, many of which will be ethical, or more broadly philosophical, in nature. He can’t always save everyone, so who to save? How far does he have to push himself for his mission? Superman rarely confronts these issues, because he is so strong and so fast.
Do you think the teaching of subjects (especially GP!) in the JC could perhaps directly incorporate more elements of popular culture? If so, why? Any possible examples?
Comprehension: (From this BBC article) Professor Mark White says he is sure his work on Batman and philosophy “arouses some chuckles in the corridors”, but he is careful to point out that he is not teaching the philosophy of comic books, he is using comic books to teach philosophy.
Q1. What could the phrase ‘chuckles in the corridors’ represent/refer to?
Q2. How does Professor White reinforce the justification for his work?