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PHIL 1101 Introduction To Philosophy

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PHIL 1101 Introduction To Philosophy

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PHIL 1101 Introduction To Philosophy

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Course Code: PHIL 1101
University: University Of New Haven is not sponsored or endorsed by this college or university

Country: United States


Write an essay that responds to the following two questions:

Should the Socratic method be used in today’s schools?
Can poor children learn as much as rich children?


The essay is divided into two sections. The first section is intended to demonstrate why Socratic method should be used in schools today. In the second part, will demonstrate that poor children cannot learn as much as rich children.
Before demonstrating why Socratic method should be used in schools today, it is important to note that one of the great inconveniences that has been observed in recent decades is precisely the way in which governments have deprived education of its original objective of raising, nourishing, or in the words of the American philosopher Martha C. Nussbaum, cultivate to the human being (Nussbaum & Oxford University Press 2012). Instead, they have turned school systems into a simple tool at the service of the State itself or the business sector. In this way, individuals are formed who lack the capacity to reflect and who are not offered the necessary preparation to develop their skills, on the contrary, they are taught skills that make them suitable for a job that is necessary in the scale of production and for which do not require an analytical or empathic ability. Such subjects need only have certain skills that, in the long run, they make them incapable of questioning, deliberating and thinking for themselves. Thus, they become manipulable for the interests of those who move the economy.
Consequently, in order to form critical, thinking and empathetic subjects, it is necessary to adopt the Socratic method and the subjects related to the humanities. These studies will develop in students the ability to learn to think and discern for themselves. However, as long as the generation of wealth is the underlying purpose of educational programs, reflection skills are in danger of falling into the background. An instrument that shows the dialectic and reflexive dynamics of the Socratic method is found in Plato’s Dialogues. These colloquies are characterized by their high degree of inquiry and analysis, which implies a commitment to the intellect. By resorting to this method, citizens can be formed with thinking and critical minds, instead of producing future employees with a level of obedience worthy of a flock (Nussbaum, 2011).
In contrast to this learning proposal, current schools have become spaces for listening and absorbing, where very little space is left for deliberation, scrutiny and problem solving. Achieving minimum levels of evaluable and measurable performance by means of international exams (as if it were a competence) has become the goal of current teaching systems. Because of this, teachers are dedicated to filling the minds of students with data that students later repeat by heart. This procedure generates students and teachers frustrated, tired, unwilling to learn or teach, who do the minimum necessary to pass the tests (Dillon, 2016). A special approach is needed to impart knowledge while developing the capacity for reflection, and focus on directed teaching but on acquired learning-we have to remember that teaching and learning are not the same thing. Although knowledge does not guarantee the good behavior of the individual, ignorance is probably the worst evil that afflicts humanity, since it prevents us from understanding social problems (Chesters, 2012).
The Socratic method is based on inquiry and dialectic to analyze and seek the truth, questions everything that is known or assimilated, eliminates the pretensions of certainty and seeks details to reach a general understanding or a deeper understanding of a particular issue. It is a critical method because it is given through four basic steps: in the first, an interlocutor A (a teacher) gives a thesis or affirmation that the counterpart considers uncertain, which leads to an analysis and its refutation. In the second place, the counterpart expresses his opinion and his premises, that is, what supports his point of view. Next, the first interlocutor argues and the counterpart recognizes that the reasoning he has offered is contrary to the first assertion.
According to research conducted by MIT and Harvard University, the brains of children change depending on the environment in which they live. In fact, those children who have developed in a stable economic environment have a markedly higher academic performance than those from the so-called collectives “at risk of exclusion”.
According to the MIT study, the differences between minors raised in such disparate environments can be appreciated, also, at the brain level. “Children with greater purchasing power have thicker cerebral cortexes in those areas associated with visual perception and accumulation of knowledge,” says the research. As MIT points out, those minors raised in families with a certain economic slack “will be more inclined to learn and make greater use of their abilities” than those in whose homes the concerns regarding money are constant (Marx, Vanhille & Verbist, 2012).
Bennet (2012) agrees with the research and underlines that, in effect, “children raised in environments at risk of exclusion have greater learning difficulties, as well as problems to the time to access the labor market. All this is marked, to a large extent, by the context in which they have grown. ” The family situation, says the expert, is crucial for the good academic development of the child (Notten and Gassmann, 2008). Those families whose purchasing power is higher will, in most cases, have more educated parents. In addition, the family nucleus will enjoy greater resources and, probably, the children will go to private schools where they will find friends in similar situations.
Although the social context plays an important role in the academic development of the child, Rebeca Cordero warns us of the urgent need to avoid stigmatizing the groups with fewer resources: Individuals in society suffer when they are ‘labeled’. If you think that because you are of lower class you will not get certain things you will never fight for them. Also, that statement is not true. Nobody can grow with that philosophy, we must fight for what we want and try to achieve it even if we can not always achieve it (Kerris and Kitty 2013).
People from environments without resources strive and sacrifice on a daily basis although the truth is that, as a rule, this effort is focused on their most vital needs. If your problem is to survive or bring some food to your mouth, the logical thing is that you devote all your resources to achieve it and that, consequently, the training is in the background.
Bennet, J. (2012). Early childhood education and care (ECEC) for children from disadvantaged backgrounds: Findings from a European literature review and two case studies. Study commissioned by the European Commission. Retrieved from:
Chesters, S. D. (2012). The Socratic classroom: Reflective thinking through collaborative inquiry. Rotterdam: SensePublishers.
Dillon, J. J. (2016). Teaching Psychology and the Socratic Method: Real Knowledge in a Virtual Age. New York: Palgrave Macmillan US :Imprint: Palgrave Macmillan.
Kerris C. and Kitty S. (2013). Does money affect children’s outcomes: A systematic review. York: Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Retrieved from:
Marx, I., Vanhille, J. & Verbist, G. (2012). Combating in-work poverty in continental Europe: An investigation using the Belgian case. Journal of Social Policy, 41 (1): 19–41
Notten, G. and Gassmann, F. (2008). Size matters: poverty reduction effects of means-tested and universal child benefits in Russia. Journal of European Social Policy, 18 (3), 260-74.
Nussbaum, M. C. (2011). Creating capabilities: The human development approach. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap, 2011.
Nussbaum, M. C., & Oxford University Press. (2012). Philosophical interventions: Reviews, 1986-2011. New York: Oxford University Press.

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