"The Preachers chiefly shall take heed that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe and believe, but that which is agreeable to the Doctrine of the Old Testament and the New, and that which the Catholick Fathers and Ancient Bishops have gathered out of that Doctrine." A proposed canon of Elizabeth I, 1571

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Location: Bedford, Texas, United States

I am a presbyter in the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas (Anglican Church in North America). I serve as Chaplain at St. Vincent's School and as a canon of St. Vincent's Cathedral Church in Bedford, Texas. In addition to my parish duties and teaching Religion classes in the school I am also the Middle School Social Studies teacher.

Monday, November 02, 2009

How would you do in my middle school Philosophy class?

I am teaching an elective "Introduction to Philosophy" class this year at St. Vincent's Middle School for our 6th through 8th graders. It is a wonderful class, full of many of my best and brightest students. The discussions are lively and frequently quite deep. Honestly, I have an eighth grader whose papers would get solid marks in freshman Philosophy at UT-Austin (well done, MNM!) and eleven-year-olds whose questions in class reflect a depth of insight uncommon for people three times their age. All of the kids are really getting into the material. I am so proud of them!

Take a crack at the exam I am giving them this morning. Would you make an "A"?

PHILOSOPHY EXAM: Plato and Aristotle

1. What is the world of “eternal Forms” for Plato and how does it relate to the world we experience with our senses? (15 points)

2. What does Plato think happens when we “learn” something? (10 points)

3. What was the name of the school that Plato founded in Athens? (5 points)

4. What is Aristotle’s theory with regard to “substance” (a.k.a. “essence”) and “accidents”? (15 points)

5. Describe what Aristotle thought the “form” of a thing is. (15 points)

6. How did Plato’s ideas about women differ from those of Aristotle? (10 points)

7. What is the structure of the ideal society in Plato’s “Republic”? (30 points) Discuss the three different classes of people and how the government and the rearing and education of children were supposed to work.

BONUS: In the 13th century A.D. a Christian philosopher named Thomas Aquinas adapted some of Aristotle’s thought to explain what takes place in the Holy Eucharist. Describe this doctrine, using the proper terminology. (up to 10 bonus points available)


Blogger Gary said...

Dear Plato,
Thanks for the Cave!

10:04 AM  
Blogger Jeff Fish said...

I would do well, but I have a PhD in Classics. I dearly wish I could have had teaching like yours I was young. I wouldn't have had to spend a decade of my life catching up. Keep up the great work!

7:28 PM  
Blogger Jeff Fish said...

I meant to say *when* I was young. Now I am old and can't type!

7:29 PM  
Anonymous BillB said...

Do you have any remedial training materials? I got a resounding 0%. I am only uneducated in the Classics not dumb; hey, I am holding onto a 4.00 in SMU grad school. The retriaing may have to wait though until I get my MS.

10:27 AM  
Blogger Robin_G_Jordan said...


This is really off topic. But the canon you quote at the very top of your blog was proposed but never authorized so it does not actually form a part of the Church of England's canon law and consequently its doctrine.

I am glad to see that your class is enjoying the study of philosophy. Do you also teach them logic? The words of Professor Kirk in The Lion, the Witch, and Wardrobe seem so applicable to so many young people today.

11:14 AM  

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