Philosophy Gives You Powers

  What does freedom mean to you? What does success mean to you? What does a friend mean to you? Questions provoking profound thought, perplexing students. Confusion clearly printed on all faces. Then, understanding.


Arjun Deepak, Bear Hub Staff

To high- schoolers, sometimes freedom does not even extend as far as the bathroom. School can feel like a constant monotony of following the exact same schedule every day, learning exactly what is on the board, and doing exactly what you are told. Philosophy facilitates students in their own self-discovery about the world around them. Ethan Moss, a senior, loved  “when we talked about the freedom stuff from like free will and if we actually have a choice or you don’t have a choice.” Daunting and abstract topics, like free will, can be intimidating to students but Philosophy gives them the tools to attack and dissect these topics leading to a richer understanding of the world around them. A world they will very soon be entering. 

Today’s lesson in Philosophy Honors was based on the Socratic dialogue of Euthyphro by Plato. The dialogue centers around Socrates questioning Euthyphro, a supposed expert in piety, about the subject. Socrates asks Euthyphro to define piety to him; Euthyphro goes through 5 different definitions, each time Socrates presenting an objection causing him to refine his definition. Eventually, Euthyphro can no longer answer Socrates’ questions and leaves.

Mrs.Powers, the teacher of Philosophy Honors, took this concept and applied it to today. For homework, students received terms, such as “successful” and “friends”, and wrote what it meant to them. The next day in class they wrote the terms and definitions on the board. Then, as a class, just as Socrates did, they questioned all the definitions bringing out the problems in them. Questions like, “Can freedom exist with consequences?” and, “Can you truly be free?” were raised and discussed at length leading to a fuller understanding of these terms normally taken at face value.