The Situation Of Political Attitudes (And A Defense Of Philosophy Courses)

I was interested in the situation of political attitudes. So, I looked it up. According to this source, political attitudes are shaped by family, gender, religion, race and ethnicity, and region.

Most of us tend to think that our political views are nuanced and that our beliefs are properly, rationally formed. But this may not be the case. Our beliefs on politics appear to be heavily shaped by things like where we live or what our family happens to believe.

I used to teach a section on political philosophy when I taught Introduction to Philosophy. That means, I used to introduce students to thinkers they may not have read before, such as Karl Marx. I often found that students generally had poor views of Marxism before we got into the section on Marx. However, when I introduced them to his thinking, they began to open up and actually think—like never before—about Marxist theory and their own political views.

It’s a shame, however, that people have to wait until college to be exposed to different thinkers. Not everyone gets to attend college. A philosophy course may be one of the best arenas to experience an upheaval in political attitudes because, in philosophy, often your grade depends on how well you argue. That is, how well you avoid fallacies. But not everyone gets to take philosophy, unfortunately, and the major itself is castigated as a major that will do nothing for you once you graduate.

If we want to form our beliefs ‘properly’, if we want to be rational about them and not rely on tradition, location or the color of our skin when we think about politics, a philosophy course on the subject is probably the way to go.

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