Using Blogs to Teach Philosophy

NOTES & IDEAS: Using Blogs to Teach Philosophy | Academic Commons
via Stephen Downes

Students taking their first philosophy course often express surprise when encouraged to use “I” in their papers. Unlike academic writing in most other disciplines, philosophical writing frequently and strongly states the “I” because philosophers have to develop and defend their own positions. They cannot weasel out of taking responsibility for their views, and thus the assertion of the “I” means that they are willing to stand or fall with their expressed position.

This is an interesting perspective – I always understood that the third person / passive voice of scientific writing was to indicate that the concept being expressed could stand alone by itself without the need for a personal appeal by me as its proponent. But the mood has drifted such that it has become more like parliamentary privilege – I am sufficiently removed from the concept that I don’t need to identify with it or suffer any discomfort or guilt-by-association if it is flawed.

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