Teaching Philosophy in Central Asia: Effects on Moral and Political Education
This paper investigates how an introductory philosophy course influences the moral and political development of undergraduate students in a Liberal Arts university in Central Asia. Within a context of rapid changes characteristic of transitional societies—reflected in the organization of higher education—philosophy provides students with the means to reason about moral and political values in a way that overcomes the old ideological tenets as well as contemporary reluctance to theoretical inquiry. Studying philosophy provides a remedy for deficiencies in both secondary and higher education, by improving general reading and reasoning skills, that enable the development of moral reasoning. Furthermore, familiarity with major works of moral and political philosophy can help students comprehend the patterns of social change, as well as surmount the issue of unsatisfactory theoretical foundations for social science.
KeywordsMoral reasoning Philosophy Central Asia Cognitive approaches
I am grateful to Maria Temmes and James Plumtree for comments on several versions of this paper and for fruitful conversations about teaching. I would also like to thank the students who agreed to take the questionnaire.
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