Where Philosophy Is A Game

Why Cogito?

Ah, Philosophy. Why has such a critical part of human life been labeled boring and useless? Is it because philosophers tend to fill massive volumes with difficult words, because they deal with lofty subjects, or because they seem allergic to pictures?

Perhaps the answer is simply that the world is a complicated place, and articulating one’s thoughts about it can be quite the overwhelming task. But ask anybody who has graduated with a degree in philosophy (or even those who have gone through good philosophy courses) and they will tell you that they are ready for the world with more clarity and preparedness to act. The benefit of philosophy is not just than that it makes you sound incredibly smart at bars and parties–it makes you smart all the time. People with backgrounds in philosophy go on to become excellent lawyers, business people, doctors, carpenters, artists, programmers, and pretty much anything one can think of. This is because unlike so many other fields, philosophy trains people to  take ANY problem, break it apart, understand it, and construct solutions in a clear, concise, and often creative way. In other words, philosophers are the people of the future (not just readers of the past!).

The problem is that the current education system favors rote memorization, standardized testing, and classic book smarts as a means of teaching and education. Skills like creativity and divergent thinking are often are sacrificed to this aim (as others have pointed out).

People have multiple types of intelligence and learning styles, yet we have a system that predominantly caters to one very specific type of student: the student that knows the one correct answer on a standardized test and is a visual, auditory learner.

But once people graduate and get to the “real world”, suddenly the demands change and the emphasis is on collaboration and creativity – the opposite of what is taught in primary education.

It seems more and more apparent that in order to suitably prepare young people for the future, they need to learn critical thinking and analysis more than anything else. Coincidentally, philosophy teaches the skill that people need most: How To Think For Themselves. but how do we teach people something that has the reputation for being boring and outdated?

Literature on education is loaded with studies that support the idea that the best learning is done through play, because of its fun, careless, and self-motivated nature.  We can teach anybody anything if we can foster an environment for intrinsic motivation by showing them that the given subject is fun and worth spending time on.

In other words, learning = play. So let’s gamify how we learn!