Why Philosophy Is so Important in Science Education

Why do scientists look down on philosophers? And are they right to do so?

Both Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson are known to have dismissed philosophy as rather useless. Here, they're shown attending the premiere of 'Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey' in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Each semester, I teach courses on the philosophy of science to undergraduates at the University of New Hampshire. Most of the students take my courses to satisfy general education requirements, and most of them have never taken a philosophy class before. 

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What do we do with all the chemical elements? This ingenious periodic table shows you

An interactive periodic table with pictures makes it easy to see how each element is used.

The periodic table is an important but rather dry scientific tool. It lists all the chemical elements, ordered by their atomic numbers. Elements with similar behavior are grouped in the same column (called a group), with metals generally on the left and non-metals (gases) on the right. Rows are called “periods” - hence, periodic table.

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How metacognition, thinking about thinking, can help improve your life

Studies reveal the impact of strategic thinking on studying and other areas of life.

Pixabay

Metacognition, thinking about how you think, has been shown to help students improve their grades. Stanford University researchers published a new study that outlines a 15-minute thinking hack that led to an average improvement of one third of a letter grade for the participants. 

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Parents in Spain Are Raging Against the Homework Machine

Spain and the US have very similar compulsory school hours and homework requirements. There's a good argument for rallying against this trend.

Homework has been around since… well, since schools first existed, and I remember doing a ton of it myself as a kid. I also remember refusing to do my homework, sitting on the back steps, watching geese fly over, wanting to be out bird-hunting with Dad, Mom in the kitchen, yelling “Get in the house and do your homework!”

For families with precious fewer hours each day to spend time as a family, homework can be a drag. A big one

Before parents in Spain called for a "Homework Strike," The Spanish organization CEAPA (Confederación Española de Asociaciones de Padres y Madres del Alumnado) surveyed parents about homework, and 82% of those who responded believed that their children received too much of it; just over 50% of them believed it harmed family life.

If you consider the amount of compulsory hours students are required to be at school, the United States is right up there with Spain so it's likely there would be a similar frustration with homework in this country. And in fact, there is.

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Study: Teaching Students Philosophy Will Improve Their Academic Performance

A recent study demonstrates significant benefits of teaching young students philosophy.

There are many attempts to improve student performance which result in a host of measures, ranging from misguided to inspired. Such efforts include not assigning students homework, recalibrating standardized tests to account for unfair background advantages, or subjecting students to the hard-to-fathom Common Core standards. But a recent endeavor in the UK found another solution which actually appeared to have worked - the students were taught philosophy!

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