Dialogue, Debate, and Narrative

Streaming Media


Eric Yang, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Santa Clara University, reflects on his recently completed, two week course in which students learned and practiced different philosophical methodologies as employed by historical philosophers, in particular Socrates, Thomas Aquinas, and Confucius. Students started with a close examination of Socrates’s use of the elenchus or the method of cross-examination, and we’ll practice the method by trying to answer certain questions: What is virtue? What is knowledge? What is bullshit? What is awesomeness? They then explored the method of disputation in Aquinas, focusing on condensing arguments and accurately summarizing objections and opposing positions, and we will hold formal debates in class following the medieval format. Finally, they studied the approach of Confucianism by reflecting on the sayings and actions of Confucius or sages who are regarded as moral exemplars. They then practiced this method by closely observing moral exemplars and trying to imitate similar patterns of decision-making and action. They concluded by assessing the strengths and limitations of the various approaches as well as attempt to devise other philosophical methods.

Type of Work


Event Name

Hamilton College Summer Program in Philosophy

Event Sponsor

Philosophy Department, Hamilton College

Event Location

Clinton, NY, USA

Presentation Date


Hamilton Areas of Study


Hamilton Scholarship Series

Hamilton College Summer Program in Philosophy

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