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Directed by James Collins and Corby Kelly

Philosophical Stages is a multi-disciplinary research project supported by the Stanford Humanties Lab, Wallenberg Global Learning Network, the Levan Institute for Ethics and Humanities, the interdisciplinary honors program Thematic Option, and a network of faculty and theater professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and across the country. We develop new strategies for using the dramatic arts to teach philosophy to young children, pre-college and college students, and working professionals in ways that foster skills in critical thinking, problem-solving, and effective self-presentation. Through the sustained and systematic modulation of voice, body, and thought, an attentive person can deliberately condition and refashion her life into a different character. We also investigate how different learning environments can be used to promote not only 'communities of inquiry', but performative spaces for collaborative and creative artistic projects which make philosophy more exciting and more immediately relevant. Philosophy can be a functional and practical activity, and action-oriented, dramatic exercises have traditionally provided and can now provide an excellent outlet to explore and articulate ideas with confidence.

Philosophical Stages works from the basic premises that (1) philosophy as an art of living aims to examine, evaluate, and transform our most basic assumptions and ways of thinking, our use of everyday words and ideas, our everyday habits and actions; (2) highly performative, experimental, and collaborative learning environments provide the best opportunities for this art which (3) is something we all can do and naturally want to do. Young adults are especially hungry for it.

In the summer of 2007 the principal investigators of the Philosophical Stages project worked with pre-college students and Stages alumni from the summers of 2005 and 2006, and five new instructors in Wallenberg Hall in a four-week intensive workshop which used techniques drawn from the dramatic arts and ancient philosophical exercises to teach and do philosophy. The investigators worked in collaboration with faculty and graduate students from the departments of Education, Drama, Classics, and Philosophy at several participating institutions as well as a number of local theater professionals.

An Introduction to our Objectives: historical background, trends in education, and examples of program logistics.

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Other Spaces for Practical Ethics?

Agenda for Graduate Student Colloquium, 2/8

Using and Experiencing Wikis: What collaborative authoring software can do

Check out other experimental theater and drama programs for better learning

Posted at Nov 08/2005 11:59PM:
Our workshop abstract for the New Directions in the Humanities conference, summer 2006.

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