Is this too much to hope for these days, especially within 100 miles of the U.S. Capitol:
(3) One of the things I like most about teaching philosophy is that in a philosophy class people with hugely different viewpoints are expected to sit in a room together and discuss matters politely and reasonably. In my animal rights class, vegans talk to hunters–without anyone going berserk. In my course on the meaning of life, religious students talk about life with atheists–all in a mode of mutual respect. In a contemporary moral problems class, if you’re skilled, you can get pro-life and pro-choice students to talk to each other calmly, and even see eye-to-eye on some issues. This is great preparation for being part of an inclusive “community of reason,” one in which nobody’s sent into exile just for the “crime” of accommodationism, thinking one way or another about sexual harassment policies, etc.
“Why philosophy helps,” at In Living Color. More, there.