Prof. Guy: Philosophy Camp for Adults? It Could Work.
November 3, 2017
Contact: Office of Government and Public Affairs
Fred Guy, director of the University of Baltimore's Hoffberger Center for Professional Ethics and an associate professor in the Division of Legal, Ethical and Historical Studies, says adults may benefit just as much as teens did from his idea for a "philosophy camp." Asking adults to work together for a week, to think hard about the big questions in life, may encourage empathy, self-awareness and more, he says.
Prof. Guy hosted UB's first Philosophy Camp for young people this past summer. Every spot was taken, and the effect he had hoped for—when teenagers get to know each other, they become better attuned and even eager to share their experiences—happened organically.
In an interview in The Big Think, Guy says he is considering whether this immersive camp setting could be benefical to adults, too.
"I think the best way to approach adults with fairly fixed moral codes is to do what I do in my philosophy and ethics classes: Put them in positions from which they cannot escape without thinking. By this I mean challenge adults with ethics case scenarios that put them at the center of the issue and have them justify on moral principles the decisions they make in these scenarios," he says. "The adults will be what we call the primary moral agent, who is responsible for the ethical dilemma or problem. Or they may be the moral recipient, who is adversely or positively affected by another's actions.
"Most people just say things like, 'Well, it seems to me to just be the right thing to do.' Or, 'I wouldn’t want to be treated that way, so I followed the Golden Rule.'"
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