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Thursday, March 17, 2022 Volume 16 Issue 23

Philosophy is a field of study that deals with big questions. My first introduction to Philosophy was as an undergraduate in college. Did you know that many of our students are receiving philosophy instruction now at Thurgood Marshall? The article below was written by Dustin Stoddart, our own Philosopher-in-Residence. ​ This year students in classrooms across the school have been doing philosophy with Dustin, Thurgood Marshall’s Philosopher-In-Residence. Together they’ve explored topics as broad and complex as “What does it mean to be happy?”, “What kinds of power exist?”, and “Would it be good to live forever?”

Dustin often uses videos, books, games, and more as the stimulus for a conversation, but allows students to ask their own questions and direct the conversation independently. Together they practice skills that are applicable across the curriculum, such as asking open-ended questions, supporting their opinions with reasons, and explaining their thinking in writing. They also apply their philosophical lens to current events and real-world ethical dilemmas, such as this year’s unveiling of the virtual-reality “Metaverse”. The Philosopher-In-Residence-program at Thurgood Marshall comes out of the school’s partnership with the University of Washington and PLATO, a national organization empowering students in elementary, middle, and high schools to do philosophy. Whether or not your student has been doing philosophy this year, take a moment to ask them what they think about something as open-ended as happiness or death—you might be surprised by the insights and fresh perspective they bring to these age-old questions!


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