Tag Archives: philosophy

Term of Art: Theism

“Theism: A term which refers to the belief in the existence of a divine being, especially in the existence of a single God, who is thought to be personal and who is the Creator of the universe. Theism involves the idea of divine revelation, and consequently is contrasted with deism, the rational belief in divinity independent of faith in a revealed truth.”

Excerpted from: Marshall, Gordon, ed. Oxford Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Aesop’s Fables: The Boy Bathing

On a ninety-degree day in Vermont, here, appropriately, is a lesson plan on the Aesop’s fable “The Boy Bathing.” You’ll need this reading and inquiry questions for students to conduct the lesson. You’ll notice, as you will in all of these lessons I’ve posted on Aesop’s fables, that there is plenty of room to expand the range and nature of the questions on the worksheet. That’s by design. Aesop’s fables are miniature lessons in philosophy, and the kinds of questions they arouse can be improvised based on student perception, interest, and need.

Incidentally, this is the last of these I have to post at the moment. I could write more relatively easily. Are you using them? If so, leave a comment, and I’ll put writing a few more on my to-do list.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Aesop’s Fable: The Farmer and the Fortune

OK, here is a lesson plan Aesop’s fable “The Farmer and the Fortune.” Of course, you’ll need the reading and inquiry questions that constitute the work of this lesson.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Aesop’s Fables: The Boasting Traveler

Moving right along on this sunny spring morning, here is a lesson plan on Aesop’s fable “The Boasting Traveler” and its reading and comprehension questions worksheet. There’s not much to say about this or any of the other short lessons on this blog based on Aesop’s Fables other than I wrote them for a younger group of students than I have generally taught over the course of my career as a public school teacher.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Aesop’s Fables: The Ass and His Burdens

Ok, let’s get started on this beautiful, sunny spring morning, with this lesson plan on the Aesop’s fable “The Ass and His Burden.” Here is the reading and comprehension worksheet that is at the center of this lesson. There is, as you will see in the worksheet, plenty of room to expand it, or to use it as a springboard for a discussion and note-taking session.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

William James on the Philosopher’s Primary Task

“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and this is to contradict other philosophers.”

William James

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.

Term of Art: Voluntarism

“Voluntarism: A term usually contrasted with determinism, voluntarism denotes the assumption that individuals are the agents of their actions, and have some control over what they do. Voluntarism’s alliance with action contrasts with the deterministic emphasis associated with structure. By accepting human unpredictability, voluntarism renders sociological analysis more difficult, though arguable more interesting. Voluntaristic theories place issues of decision, purpose, and choice at the forefront of sociological analysis. In The Structure of Social Action (1937), Talcott Parsons develops a voluntaristic theory of action, so called because it includes normative elements, subjective categories, choices about means and ends, and effort.

Voluntarism in social science raises the philosophical issue of free will: namely, the belief that choice means freedom, in the sense of individuals being free to will what they will. Most sociologists—even those of a voluntaristic persuasion—recognize that individuals can only do otherwise than they do within limits (perhaps of a cultural or psychological kind). That is, a residual determinism is implied, even though social action is typically not reduced to physical and biological variables.”

Excerpted from: Marshall, Gordon, ed. Oxford Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Aesop’s Fables: The Bear and the Travelers

Here is a lesson plan on the Aesop’s Fable “The Bear and the Travelers.” You and your students will, of course, need the the reading and comprehension questions that are the center of this short lesson.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Aesop’s Fables: The Milkmaid and Her Pail

Here is a lesson plan on the Aesop’s Fable “The Milkmaid and Her Pail.” Of course you’ll need the reading with its comprehension questions to teach this short passage on hopes and reality.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

12 Days of the Nowruz Festival

“The New Year festival has Zoroastrian roots and is associated principally with Iran, but it is celebrated from Syria to India and across all of Central Asia, the Caucasus, Kurdistan, and Turkey. Its rituals vary widely but most are based on around a twelve-day succession of events. This can begin with great bonfires, fed all night to symbolize the victory of light over winter darkness, then the spring cleaning of the house, the bringing into the house of something green (like a palm tree or a fir tree—depending on latitude) around which a vigil or candles may be lit, then the making of a splendid feast full of special seasonal foods, including displays of dried fruits and nuts, an exchange of gifts between close family members, followed by an exchange of visits between neighbors and cousins. In some regions, there followed a traditional ‘period of misrule,’ where men would dress as women, and woman as men, children would lord it over adults and the poor would be served by the rich and the powerful would be publicly mocked by licensed fools. On the thirteenth day, the festival concludes with a family picnic, with music and dance and the quiet contemplation of the beauties of nature and some thought for future marriages and the exchange of such symbols of fertility as colored eggs.”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

 

Many of these Zoroastrian practices were mirrored in the festival of the winter solstice of the Roman-era cult of the unconquered sun. They would get absorbed wholesale into the Christian Easter and Christmas festivals, for Christ’s birthday was fused with the winter solstice, just as his death was tied to the spring festival.