Skepticism, Stoicism, and the Jeffersonian Model: Three Philosophical Responses to the Crisis in the Humanities

By David Wyatt Aiken, John Scott Gray and Grant Snider.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper examines the degree to which the relevance of an education in the Humanities hinges on our finding the value of what we do in the classroom. Specifically, we need to reflect on what occurs in the classroom when we attempt to engage students in philosophy. What are we saying to them? Can they even hear us? What do they do with what we give them? These questions go to the heart of what an education in philosophy entails: are we learning historic arguments, sound methods, or life skills? Each of the three authors will call upon Hellenistic texts to frame separate responses to the ways in which philosophers could be thinking about these questions—questions about these possibly changing times (complacency and cynicism) and the perceived crisis in the Humanities.

Keywords: Philosophy, Cynicism, Complacency

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 8, pp.23-32. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 532.385KB).

Prof. Dr. David Wyatt Aiken

Ferris State University, Michigan, USA

David Wyatt Aiken. Doctorat D’Etat (1995) from the University of Nice in Philosophy, Comparative Literature, History of Ideas; Doctorat de Troisième Cycle (1981), from the University of Strasbourg in Philosophy; Professor of Humanities, Philosophy, and Religion at Ferris State University, Michigan, USA; Research Interests: Hermeneutics; Philosophies & Religions of the ancient world; Publications: “Nietzsche’s Zarathustra. The Misreading of a Hero,” in Nietzsche-Studien, (Band 35, 2006); “History Undone. The Appropriation of Thucydides.” in Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte (ZRGG, 57, 4 (2005) J. Brill); “Nietzsche and his Zarathustra. A Western Poet’s Transformation of an Eastern Priest and Prophet,” in Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte (ZRGG 55, 4 (2003), J. Brill) ; “Hermeneia. An Anatomy of History and Ab-wesenheit,” in The Library of Living Philosophers (LLP) volume on The Philosophy of Hans-Georg Gadamer. Open Court: Chicago, 1997.

Dr. John Scott Gray

Assistant Professor, Department of Humanities, Ferris State Univerisity, Big Rapids, Michigan, USA

John Scott Gray earned his PhD in Philosophy at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He originally earned a BA in Philosophy and Political Science at Furman University in Greenville, SC, moving on to Baylor University where he earned a Masters in Philosophy, writing on Nietzsche's Political Philosophy. His dissertation and recent publications focused on same-sex marriage, and related issues in the philosophy of sex and gender are also an interest of his. His current research interests focus on the various areas of applied philosophy, including bioethics, environmental ethics, and business ethics, as well as political and social philosophy.

Dr. Grant Snider

Department Head, Department of Humanities, Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Michigan, USA

Grant Snider earned a PhD in English from Purdue University with an emphasis in Critical Theory. He also holds a Masters degree in American Literature/Creative Writing from Kansas State University and a Bachelors degree in English from Northern Arizona University. Dr. Snider has taught courses in philosophy, literary criticism, and utopian literature. His research interests include Stoicism, the overlap between psychology and philosophy, and the philosophy of the good life. Currently, he is Academic Head for the Department of Humanities at Ferris State University.

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