More Philosophy for Teens: Examining Reality and Knowledge.

Title: More Philosophy for Teens: Examining Reality and Knowledge.
Author/s: Kaye, S, M. & Thomson, P.
Material type: Book.
Publisher/date: Prufrock Press (2007).
Format: Paperback (200 pages).
ISBN: 1593632924
Area and topic: Metaphysics and epistemology. Key/important issues/topics/problems. Thought experiments. Pedagogical aid and/or resource. Student text book. Practical philosophy.
Intended audience/ reading level: Secondary/lower (roughly 11 through to 14 yrs)
Purchasing and information: 1) amazon.com 2) fishpond.co.nz
Unique and/or salient feature/s: ‘More Philosophy for Teens’ follows on from the previous title ‘Philosophy for Teens’. Both books are classroom text books with activities and exercises. Whereas the first book focused on the area of ‘value’ (ethics, politics, aesthetics, well being), ‘More Philosophy for Teens’ is primarily concerned with epistemological and metaphysical issues.
Synopsis and/or additional information: The following information is sourced from the above links (see ‘Purchasing and information’). Other than information specific to this book, most of the additional information here is sourced from synopses and reviews concerning the first book in this series (see post, ‘Philosophy for Teens’). This information is however equally relevant for ‘More Philosophy for Teens’.

  • There are four sections each with four chapters:
  • Part 1) The Self. Chapters under this section include ‘Who am I’ and ‘Am I Free’.
  • Part 2) Knowledge. Chapters include ‘Can computers Think’ and ‘What if tomorrow never comes’.,
  • Part 3) The Universe. Chapters includes ‘Is the world around us real’ and ‘What is the difference between genuine science and pseudo-science’.
  • Part 4) God. Chapters include ‘What is it reasonable to believe’ and ‘What is the meaning of life.
  • volume ends with helpful information and assistance for teachers and students. Furthermore, although ‘ … arranged topically rather than historically in order to emphasize the connection between ideas, [each chapter includes] relevant historical details to offset the main text.’
  • Each chapter opens with a casual and realistic dialogue between two fictional teenagers who disagree about some (essentially) philosophical issue – e.g. does God exist? The main topic/issue presented in this dialogue (and the arguments for and against it) is then made explicit and the rest of the chapter is dedicated to expansion and exploration. With concern to each issue/chapter ‘the debate always includes a “thought experiment” to test the more controversial claims. At the end of each chapter are reading comprehension questions, discussion questions, exercises, activities, and reference for further reading’.
Strengths: As written in the preface of the book ‘Our goal is to bring philosophy alive through active learning’. The book does have a very ‘hands on’ approach; abstract ideas are made quite concrete with classic and age old problems being presented in a way that is contemporary and relevant to teenagers in their day to day lives. Each chapter is short, well structured and there is consistency and continuity throughout. Each chapter is designed to take up no more or less that one full two hour session. Although the text is set up as a philosophy course, the authors have clearly pointed out those chapters that are relevant to other secondary school subjects. Finally, the book (and its companion) is appropriate for lower secondary level students, a level that is under-represented for secondary school philosophy.
Limitations: The text lacks the breadth and detail that other texts on philosophy for school offer e.g. the VCE or the AQA (A level) series (see reviews). ‘More Philosophy for Teens’ is shorter in length/word count and is less structured than these other books/series with regards to school curriculum, standards and so forth. The book is written for an american audience.This is only a limitation however insofar as some of the phrasing and references may need amending to suit New Zealand students. The subject matter excludes topics and issue concerned with value which is an important branch of philosophy. Assuming this is a limitation however, this may be rectified by purchasing the first book in the series; together, both books cover all the main branches/subjects of philosophy. The age level book

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