Freedom and Responsibility: A Parent Forum on Remote Learning

May 3, 2020 11 AM (EDT) 

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to alter the educational experiences of millions of American students, teachers, and their families, we want to provide them with thoughtful forums on issues and topics that are now taking on new meanings. In this session, we discuss how are current learning and teaching environments are prompting new reflections on our ideas of freedom and responsibility. 

The closing of schools (and the closing of many other establishments and instutions) involves a loss of freedom. How is this being experienced by students and their families?

And yet remote learning has also freed many students from the meticulously timed schedule of the normal school day. Are they enjoying this ‘freedom’? Or is it causing challenges of its own?

Philosophers often relate the concept of freedom to the concept of responsibility. One thought many people have is that we should only be held morally responsible (praised or blamed, rewarded or punished) for the actions that we are ‘free’ to commit. Another thought is that holding a certain position or occupying a particular role (for example, being a teacher, a student, a parent, etc.) involves having certain responsibilities.  Are the changes to our freedoms changing our roles? And are changes to our roles leading to changes in our responsibilities? 

These are some of the questions we will be addressing in our forum for parents. Please join Ariel Sykes, John Torrey, and Joseph S. Biehl for a live stream discussion on both the Young Philosophers of New York Facebook page, and the Gotham Philosophical Society Youtube channel and raise your own questions and concerns in our live chat, or send questions before hand to [email protected] 

Ariel Sykes is the Assistant Director of the Ethics Institute at the Kent Place School. She is an endorsed practitioner of the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children, and co-founder of the NYC High School Ethics Bowl.

John Torrey is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at SUNY Buffalo State. He holds a BA in Philosophy and Spanish from Morehouse College and an MA and Ph. D in Philosophy from the University of Memphis. He has developed precollege philosophy programs since 2010. 










Joseph S. Biehl, PhD, is the founder and Executive Director of the Gotham Philosophical Society and Young Philosophers of New York. He is the father of three boys, all in the NYC public school system.