Introducing students to philosophical thinking is a key aspect of the Waldorf High School experience. Greek Thought, a 10th grade Main Lesson Block, explores the works of the pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Along with reading and discussing Plato’s Apology, students also explore selections from The Republic, The Symposium, and Phaedrus. The course not only helps students understand Greek philosophy in its historical context, but also its potential relevance for contemporary times.
During senior year, a particularly profound Main Lesson, taught by English Teacher, Alexios Kritas, focuses on the Transcendentalist Movement. Students are guided in examination of seminal American literary figures such as Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller and Whitman. Taking inspiration from Emerson and Thoreau, students learn the basics of argumentation and draft essays expressing personal core values.
The importance of studying philosophy is underscored in a recently published opinion piece in The New York Times written by Former Secretary of the Treasury, Robert E. Rubin. In the article, Mr. Rubin explains how learning philosophy was more use to him than any business or economics class.
“I’m asked from time to time which undergraduate courses best prepared me for working at Goldman Sachs and in the government. People assume I’ll list courses in economics or finance, but I always answer that the key was [my] philosophy course… For me, embracing these two perspectives brought me a sense of calm in what were incredibly stressful situations.”
Learn more about how philosophy has been useful throughout Mr. Rubin’s career by reading the full article here: The New York Times