I have taught philosophy since 1996, when I was studying logic as an undergraduate at the University of Bergen. After this I taught philosophy of logic and language at the University of Tromsø for a few years, during my Masters and PhD. In recent years I have mainly taught philosophy to non-philosophers, either on the introductory level or more advanced philosophy of science.
Causation in Science, NMBU 2013-2019
I developed this course as part of the Causation in Science project, to engage students at NMBU in philosophical discussions about causation and the foundations of scientific methods. Stephen Mumford and I also used the course to plan and write two books: Causation – A Very Short Introduction and Causation in Science and the Methods of Scientific Discovery. In later years, I introduced risk assessment methodology to the course, taught by Elena Rocca.
Interdisciplinarity and Expert Disagreement on Sustainability, NMBU 2020
Elena Rocca and I developed this course in 2020 as a pilot to teach students about the non-empirical foundations of science, what we call ‘philosophical biases’. Many scientific controversies about sustainability can be traced back to different philosophical commitments that are tacitly accepted in scientific frameworks and methods. A digital conference was part of the course and the talks are available here. The student feedback was positive, and they wrote an open letter to the university management: A call for promoting critical thinking for interdisciplinarity…
From 2022, this course is offered by the Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Resource Management for all their Master students in a Norwegian and English version: MINA320 and MINA321.
Examen Philosophicum, NMBU 2015-
Teaching in the time of lockdown was a challenge, and all my students are stuck in front of the screen all day. To give them a break, I swapped the reading with podcast episodes. Students could still choose readings, but I wanted to cover everything in open access philosophy podcast episodes. Here are my lecture handouts for this class.
When I teach, I use the Mumford Method handout. For each lecture, the students get a handout containing my lecture notes. It includes a brief overview of the structure, contents and arguments of the lecture, with discussion questions on the back that we use in group work and for exam preparation. Here are my handouts from Examen Philosophicum, an introduction to philosophy class.
Some thoughts on teaching
Good or bad students – why do we need our students to be good before they come to us? A blog post on teaching.
The new normal: How the pandemic helped improve my course design, a text on how the pandemic changed us, published in Daily Nous
Filmed in the PHI102 class, 2017