Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, January 13, 2014


Let's introduce ourselves, Spring 2014 CoPhilosophy collaborators (I'll tell you in class Wednesday why I call the Intro class "CoPhilosophy").

I invite you all to hit "comment" and reply by posting your own introductions, and to ruminate as well in response to any or all of these questions:
What is philosophy? How do you think it differs from religion, science, and other generalized approaches to understanding our place in the universe? Do you like to think "deeply" about things? Why or why not? Do you think you are entitled to believe whatever you please, for any reason or for none? Have you had any experiences, heard any music, seen any films (etc.)  that impacted or influenced you in a way you'd call philosophical? Do you have any favorite philosophers, living or dead? Are YOU a philosopher? Do you have a personal philosophy of life that you can summarize in a few words?
Our first class meeting will consist mainly of introductions. We'll not spend much time going over the syllabus or talking course mechanics, there's plenty of time for that later. But I do invite you to peruse the Quick Start Guide, Daily Participation Scorecard, and Syllabus page links on our course blogsite (in the right margin). Let me know what's especially unclear.

I'm Dr. Oliver, aka James P., aka Phil, aka (despite my best efforts to discourage it) "Dr. Phil." I live in Nashville with my wife, younger daughter, two dogs (Angel and Lilli), and a cat named Zeus. Older Daughter is a college freshman a couple hundred miles away.

My office is in James Union Building 307-B. Office hours are MW 1-2,TTh 4-5, & by appointment.. On nice days, office hours will be outdoors (my door will direct you). 

I've been at MTSU for over a decade, teaching philosophy courses on diverse subjects including atheism, childhood, happiness, the environment, the future, and bioethics.

My birthday is Feb.14, we'll observe it on the 12th: bring cake and candy to class that day. Also a cure for aging if you've got it. (Last year someone brought biscuits and jam from the Loveless. That helped.)

My Ph.D. is from Vanderbilt. I'm originally from Missouri, near St. Louis. I was indoctrinated as a Cardinals fan in early childhood. My undergrad degree is from Mizzou, in Columbia MO. (I wish my schools weren't in the SEC-I don't approve of major collegiate sports culture or of violence in football, but don't get me started.)

My philosophical expertise, such as it is, centers on the American philosophical tradition of William James. Last year a student asked me to respond to a questionnaire. I did, and have continued to reflect on its excellent questions. "It was an honor..."

I post my thoughts regularly to my blogs Up@dawn and Delight Springs, among others, and toTwitter. Follow me if you want to. But of course, as Brian Cohen said, you don't have to follow anyone. (Extra credit if you get that reference... and real extra credit if you realize that my "extra credit" is usually rhetorical.)

Enough about me. Who are you? (Where are you from, where have you been, what do you like, who do you want to become,...?) Why are you here? (On Earth, in Tennessee, at MTSU, in philosophy class)? What intrinsic or voluntary meaning does your existence entail or imply? What are your thoughts on the other questions posed at the beginning of this post?

Hit "comments" below and post your introduction, then read your classmates'... and bear in mind that this is an open site. The world can read it. (The world's probably busy with other stuff, of course.)


  1. Anonymous7:30 PM CST

    Colton Anderson

    -Who am I? I am an eighteen year old college student from a small town. I love exercising, listening to music, reading, and watching sporting events.
    -Why am I here? I am here at MTSU because it offers a perfect mix of everything I enjoy doing. I am in this philosophy class because it is a general requirement and I believe that it is the most useful of the options that were available

  2. Erika Butler7:40 PM CST

    Hey everybody! My name is Erika Butler and I am a sophomore majoring in chemistry pre-med. I was born and raised in Nashville,TN since 1994. One good thing about me is that I love to laugh and always have a good time. One bad thing about me is that I'm really really shy at first, but once I start to get comfortable I open up like a book.

    I am here for two reasons: one is because this a general ed requirement, and two is because I would like to relive my high school days. What I mean by that is in high school I took a class called Theory of Knowledge that was only offered to certain students who juniors and seniors. The class was basically a high school level philosophy class, and it was my favorite class of all time. The discussions we had were so interesting, the things we learned were amazing, and the class taught me to be more optimistic about things that normally I would be closed minded about. I learned a lot about myself while taking that class. I learned how closed minded I could be at times, but I also learned how open minded I could be to things that most people would just ignore. I miss that class so much, but now I get to have the opportunity to relive it which makes me more excited.

    In addition to the high school class I took, I have learned about philosophers briefly in my World civilizations class that I took my freshman year. Unfortunately, I don't have a favorite at the moment, but by the end of this class I'm sure I'll have one. I hope you all enjoy the class as much as I will.

  3. Hey Everyone, my name is Gil Olerud from Smyrna, Tn. I'm a freshman in my second semester here and will most likely get a degree in mechatronics engineering. Who am I? well.. I'm a student, brother, son, friend, and follower of Jesus. I enjoy sports and the outdoors. The unique sport I play most is disc golf, and I tour around Tennessee and the southeast playing in tournaments. I also enjoy other traditional sports, my favorite being baseball.

    Why am I here?
    I'm here to fulfill a general education requirement, but I'm also in the class to learn about various philosophers and philosophies, in which I know very little about at this point. I love to here the ideas and philosophies of others. I'm also here in hopes to have a positive impact on others and to meet new people from different backgrounds. It will be cool to learn the philosophies of others in the class and to be exposed to various ideologies.

  4. Aaron Caveny8:39 PM CST

    Hey guys, my name is Aaron Caveny. I'm from Nashville, Tennessee. I'm a freshman business finance major. I'm a Christian and an athlete.

    I chose this course because it was a GenEd and seemed interesting. I enjoy learning about other people and why they believe what they believe.

  5. Hello, I'm Sara Brand. I took a three year break from UTC, then transfered here and changed major, so it's a little unclear what year of school I am in, but there's at least six semesters to go. I'm a studio art major, focusing on sculpture. I do special effects makeup as a hobby and hopefully future career, so if anyone needs to be bloodied up, zombified, or otherwise covered in liquid latex or gelatin, let me know. I'm also working on starting a figure drawing club, which would be open to art majors and non-art majors alike, if anyone is interested in joining or possibly modeling.

    I'm taking this class because I believe that good art should have good ideas driving it. While I have learned, and am still learning, a lot of techniques and skills from my studio classes, it's up to me to seek content, context, and inspiration for my work. I think philosophy is a great place to start with that.

    As far as a personal philosophy goes, it's a bizzare blend of conservative Judaism, Kabbalah, Deism, and skepticism that I'm still working on. My favorite philosopher, taking the loose definition of "lover of wisdom", is Mike Rugnetta, of PBS Idea Channel, it's a series of videos on YouTube and here: http://www.pbs.org/arts/exhibit/idea-channel-season1/. He explores and questions interesting intersections of pop culture and philosophy from multiple viewpoints.

  6. Christopher Winfrey9:47 PM CST

    Who are you? (Where are you from, where have you been, what do you like, who do you want to become,...?

    Hey everyone, my name is Christopher Winfrey, but you can call me Chris. I was born in Germany, moved to Fayetteville, North Carolina at 4 months and stayed there until June 2013, which was when I moved to La Vergne, Tennessee. Because I was born in Germany, I go there occasionally, and I have been to Italy, France, and Spain.

    I am a Computer Engineering Technology major, and will either end up with a minor in Mathematics or Computer Science. I'm a computer and video game nerd. I love listening to music.

    I'm hoping my education and interests can allow me to find a career with either a popular vehicle company (such as Nissan because of its proximity) or a government job with a six figure salary.

    Why are you here? (On Earth, in Tennessee, at MTSU, in philosophy class)? What intrinsic or voluntary meaning does your existence entail or imply? What are your thoughts on the other questions posed at the beginning of this post?

    I'm hoping that my degree and the education it represents will help me find my meaning on Earth, but I am a freshman, so I still have a few years before that will happen. I chose to take this course because I have very specific interests, and very few of the Humanities/Fine Arts courses actually interested me other than this course, Intro to Music, and Intro to Psychology.

    For a response to a few of the questions in the beginning of the post, I never knew much about philosophers other than commonly known ones such as Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle. The reading assignment did introduce more that sounded familiar, but it also solidified my decision that my favorite philosopher is Aristotle.

    I tend to only think deeply about topics that really interest me. If they aren't of interest, I don't feel that my thought process is as efficient.

    I also believe that everyone is entitled to believe what they please. While conflicting ideas may cause issues at first, especially if someone believes something different from what is expected, but these beliefs allow for growth and compromise.

    1. Chris,

      Are you an Army Kid? You said your from Fayetteville I was stationed at Bragg for a lil while. I was just stationed with 173D in Italy too.. You said you were computer science major.. Do you know Word Press Web Development I have a website that needs some work let me know if your interested.

  7. Hey everyone, I'm Zonelle(everyone just calls me Zoe or Zoey). I'm from the Caribbean, but I went to high school in Nashville. I'm currently a freshman pre-nursing major. Yes, I will be allowed to stick a needle in your arm in the next few years, scary thought, I know. I think the question "who do you want to become?" kind of trips me up because people usually ask you "what" do you want to be, not who. I'm not sure what my purpose for being in the world is, but I'm trying to figure that out like I have been for the past few years. I'm at MTSU for the nursing program even though it's really competitive, I think it's a challenge for me and I can really prove something to myself if I get in. I chose philosophy for gen ed because it was either this or theater, and I think philosophy will teach me to think more critically and in-depth and might possibly give me a different view of the world while exploring different points of view. I don't know a lot about philosophy, but I've always heard a lot about different philosophers such as Rene Descartes, Confucius, ect. I think we can all be philosophers depending on how open we are, how deeply we think, and how much we want to learn and know and grow as people. I think everyone is entitled to believe whatever they please in terms of freedom of speech and religion, after all, it is a free country. I also think that we have the responsibility of educating ourselves on other peoples beliefs although they may be different from our own and respect other peoples beliefs and keep an open mind. One of my favorite Philosophers might be Rene Descartes for his quote, "I think, therefore I am." I first learned it in French class(the French version, Je pense, donc, Je suis) and I've always thought it was a great motto to live by. It's somewhat motivational and teaches you that who you are depends on you. Your thought process(whether positive or negative)can control who or what you become.

  8. Who am I?: I am a once sought out baseball player, a writer, a musician, a scientist, I am one who favors knowledge above all else, and I am myself (a nineteen year old college student from a medium sized town in mid-west Tennessee). I want to become a Forensic Technician with specialization in bloodstain pattern analysis.
    Why am I here?: I always ask myself that question. The answer, however, is not quite that simple... Was I born to serve a higher purpose or am I just some kid that will make his way through life with no immediate signs of why I am doing the things that I do? Am I to be the main protagonist in the rags-to-riches story? Who really knows. All I can say is that I am here today in this philosophy class like the rest of you typing up this introduction, not because I have nothing left to say, not because I am not an interesting person (not to sound boastful), but because I too am directionless in life. Sure I have intentions on what I plan to be, but I seem to wonder "Why do I want this".
    What does my existence mean? That is a wonderful question. I feel that am obligated to answer honestly and without so much grotesque figures that I have had the decency to meet over my short 19 years. I feel that my existence means for me to help and comfort people to the best of my ability, but I also sense a hint of death, despair, and murder. Working with death but helping people to sum it up. This is something a psychic once told me during my taro reading, but I honestly never really thought about how it applied to me until last year during my freshman orientation and declared my major.
    Don't worry guys I will try my best to not let my past control my thoughts and take a more pessimistic view on everything. I will try my best to come into each discussion with an open mind.

  9. Hey everyone. My name is Caitlin. I'm currently a Sophomore majoring in Child Development and Family Studies with a minor in Psychology. I love music. I love going to shows, concerts and festivals. I also have a passion for animals. I have five dogs (Katy, Molly, Roscoe, Dallas, and Ellie), a cat (Daisy Mae), and a bearded dragon (Constance Nadine). My mom heads up a very large dog rescue organization (Westie Rescue of Tennessee). We're always looking for donations, volunteers, and adoptees. I tend to spend a lot of free time helping my mom with the group. I used to work at one of the vet's offices that helps my mom with the group. As of now, however, I'm currently without a job because school demands so much of my time and attention. I have a complete fascination with body modification. I have four tattoos currently and am saving for my fifth. I have several different piercings and after I obtain my degree I want to work toward becoming a piercer. I have some issues with anxiety and panic disorder as well as depression among other things. Due to the anxiety and depression, I tend to over analyze and over think everything, which can be a blessing as well as a curse. In some of my darkest hours I've found out things about myself and my view on the world that some may find disheartening, but I think overall that it has made me a better person.
    A little more about myself; I'm nonconforming to gender norms. I identify as gender fluid. I feel that I'm a blend of the male and female gender and really don't identify as either more than the other. I prefer to be referred to by the pronouns "they", "them", and "their". I understand that it's difficult for people to understand the concept and to refer to me in a way that makes me comfortable, and I'm not going to be upset if my peers struggle to do so. I have limitless respect for other people and the way they view themselves and the world, and all I can ask is that I receive that same respect. If anyone has any questions on the matter or doesn't understand my gender identity, asking questions will only further my respect for you.
    As for why I am here (in this class), I have a few reasons. I took a class that my high school appropriately named History of Ideas. We covered a lot of philosophy, though admittedly most of it was of the generic variety (Aristotle, Socrates, Des Cartes, etc), but what can you expect in a high school class? We did read several books by C.S. Lewis in the course, and he stuck out to me as one of my favorite thinkers and authors. If any of you have not read The Great Divorce, I highly encourage it. It really got me thinking about life and what comes after as well as how I view the religious beliefs of others. Also, if we have any Greek mythology buffs in the class, his book Til We Have Faces is remarkable and is definitely in my top five books written. I've basically taken this course to further my limited knowledge on philosophy as well as to allow me to get to know others and their ideas so that I may further solidify my own ways of thinking and perhaps incorporate knew concepts into my own personal beliefs.
    As to why I am here in existence; I think I'm here to shape and alter the lives of the people around me. Everyone has an impact on every person they come into contact with at any given point, and I think it is our job to make sure that our impact be beneficial. It's only natural to have unkind encounters, but even those can be a learning experience for everyone involved. I feel that it is my obligation to put my energy out into the world, bad or good, and leave a lasting impression. I feel I'm here to challenge the beliefs of others as well as to learn.

  10. Jason Dziadosz2:39 PM CST

    My name is Jason Dziadosz, am from Detroit Michigan, and have lived here in Tennessee for a little over 3 years. After spending a little bit of time in college when I was a bit younger, I started making money playing music, and was pretty successful in the field. I was signed and got some radio play in Michigan, but eventually decided I wanted a different life for myself. I moved here to Tennessee for a change of scenery. I'm probably one of very few people who came to Nashville to STOP playing music. I'm working toward a Master's in Industrial Psychology, and after that a Doctorate. Family, Music, and Football are what I love. Who do I want to become? Well, I'm already there. I know what's important to me and know what I want out of life. I'll continue to change and evolve as a person, I suppose, but have a pretty good foundation at this point in life.

    To me, Philosophy and Religion have some common characteristics. Both consider intangibles. Philosophy and Science have some differences, as Science is focused on empirical evidence, and can be tested through the Scientific Method; Hypotheses, experiment, variables, etc...

    Do I think deeply of things? YES. All the time, it's exhausting.

    I'm entitled to think what I want. How I act on those thoughts is a different story...

    As far as any experiences that have effect my philosophy on life, there have been many. I died, and was brought back to life once, that was intense...
    At times, I've lived a rough life (especially while playing music. You can imagine) have been put through and put others through a lot of pain, and have become a better person for all of it. My experience has made the concept of GRACE incredibly important to me. One definition of the word is "undeserved forgiveness", and that's the one that resonates with me. So much that I inked it on my forearm as a reminder.
    I don't have any favorite Philosophers, sorry!
    My outlook on life in a few words could be...
    Be good to others, never think you're better than those around you, no matter how rundown those others may seem, and forgive, accept forgiveness, and learn how to forgive yourself.

  11. Hi, I have been trying to figure out what I should tell you all so that you know me best. It is really hard to write who I am in just one small comment. I hope that I will get to know some of you better so that you can find out what I am really like. The best I think I can do is tell you some of the things that I enjoy, what I strive to do, and some of my life experiences. The other things I should mention is just the basics: My name is Kathryn, I am 22 years old, and majoring in engineering technology (haven't quite picked a concentration but it will probably be mechanical or computer).
    Some of the things I love the most are animals (I have two dogs, a cat, some fish, and some chickens) and plants. Actually, I love anything that is living and the phenomenons that occur in nature. I moved from the Bay Area, on the west coast, last summer and have really enjoyed seeing ice OUTSIDE. Everyday you can see something new and astonishing. This is closely related to my favorite philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, who believes nature and all of life itself is the source of divine inspiration, and that we all have it in ourselves to become what we want, as well as improve the world for other living things, whatever form it comes in. This is what I strive to do, improve myself in the ways I decide I want to, and make the world a better place for all living things. Of course this is a tall order so I sometimes fall short.
    Although this is more of a deep class, I thought an introduction to me would be incomplete without mentioning some of the lighter things I enjoy. I like good beer (my fiance is a homebrewer and my sister works at a trappist beer restaurant in Athens, GA), chocolate (who doesn't!?) and cooking (because I like eating!). I also like to play board games, though that doesn't seem to be as popular here as it was in San Jose (my hometown), including Carcasonne, Flux, Munchkin, Catan, etc. I also consider myself a casual video game player, my current favorite game is skyrim, but there is a reason why I listed it last.
    Anyway, thanks for reading this! It would be fun to get to know you personally.

    1. I like board games too, everplayed SmallWorld? It's my favorite right now.

    2. I have heard many good things about SmallWorld and it is top of my list to try. I haven't played it yet though!

  12. Hello,
    My Name is Adam Bartinikas, I'm from Richmond Virginia, here at MTSU to study Aerospace in the professional Pilot concentration. If you haven't already guessed I love flying and I have something in the nature of 200 hours flying, but that's enough about that. I'm 19, and I speak German nearly fluently, while learning Russian and American Sign Language(ASL). I enjoy the outdoors, and doing incredibly random things. I'm not very well versed in philosophy so therefore I couldn't tell y'all if i had a favorite. The only possibility negative thing about me everyone should know is that I'm incredibly honest and I tend to say whats on my mind so long as its not waaayyy too inappropriate.

  13. So I began to ponder about some American Philosopher's and really enjoy Jonathan Edwards ideas and sermons from the 1700s, he had a huge impact on The Great Awakening, focusing on the absolute sovereignty of God.

    Here are two links with more information:



  14. 1. Who am I?
    My name is Tyler Todd. I am a Junior Mechanical Engineering Technology Major. I was born and raised here in Murfreesboro. I enjoy the outdoors (hiking, backpacking, and snowboarding). I work at a local bakery here in the Boro but am currently looking for a job related to my major.
    2. What is philosophy? How do you think it differs from religion, science, and other generalized approaches to understanding our place in the universe?
    I do not know much about what philosophy is but with looking it up I would assume it is general about thinking deeply about life’s tough questions. I think it differs from religion, science, and others in the way that philosophy answers questions about ourselves rather things questions about the world and other outside things.
    3. Do you like to think "deeply" about things? Why or why not?
    I usually think deeply about religion. I am a follower of Christ. I believe that by deeply thinking about the Christian faith and studying scripture greatly strengthens my faith.
    4. Do you think you are entitled to believe whatever you please, for any reason or for none?
    Yes, I can believe anything as long as I have a reason to.
    5. Have you had any experiences, heard any music, seen any films (etc.) that impacted or influenced you in a way you'd call philosophical?
    I believe music, movies, and other media are intended to inspire people. But they don’t always inspire them in a good way. If I don’t agree with a song or movie I use that to strengthen my other thoughts of why I don’t agree with it. Although I think a lot of media can open up philosophical thoughts.
    6. Do you have any favorite philosophers, living or dead?
    I do not know of any.
    7. Are YOU a philosopher?
    Sometimes I think deeply and have philosophical thoughts.
    8. Do you have a personal philosophy of life that you can summarize in a few words?
    I believe in life you need religion, motivation to do things that make you successful

  15. Maegan Allen4:06 PM CST

    Hi, my name is Maegan Allen. I am 18 years old and a Nashville native. This is my first year at MTSU and I am undeclared. I live off campus with my boyfriend of four years, Austin and our black cat, Nollie. I took this class for no reason in particular, I of course need it for gen eds, but I have always enjoyed deep thought and I hope to use this class to open my mind to new ways of thinking.

  16. Erin Herbstova11:29 AM CST

    Hey! My name is Erin Herbstova and I am originally from south Florida I moved to Tennessee about eight years ago because of a series of really bad hurricanes and my mom felt like it was time for a change of scenery. I am a freshman this year however credit wise I think I am technically a sophomore. I am currently a biology major with a pre-med pathway. My future career goals in science consist of conducting genetic or stem cell research. I am looking forward to a trip this summer with MTSU to Ghana, Africa with Global Brigades, which is a medical trip for ten days to help the people of Ghana receive proper dental care, access to medications and routine check ups. I love to travel and see different cultures one of my favorites was going to visit the Mayan temples in Mexico and learn about the history.

    I also travel a lot throughout most of year, except in the winter, competing with my horse, Tye. I absolutely love horse back riding and have been riding since I was seven years old. I ride in a disciple know as eventing which consists of three phases: dressage, stadium, and cross country.

    My family is a really neat mash up of cultures and nationalities. For starters my mother grew up in Czechoslovakia and my father grew up in Israel. My two cousins are Russian and one of my sisters is Cuban. My grandparents are from all over Europe like Germany, Austria, and Hungary. So the accents between all of us is very interesting when we get together especially when you add my southern accent into the mix.

    So the reason why I am taking this class is because I needed the credit and I felt that philosophy would go the best with psychology and sociology which I need for the MCAT. I don't know much about philosophy but I do really enjoy thinking and contemplating ideas which I got to do in High School with the International Baccalaureate Program. I am looking forward to this class and being able to develop so new opinions.

    1. Morganne Stanfill2:30 PM CST

      I also have been riding horses since I was seven. I unfortunately gave up competing in shows to follow my passion in volleyball.

      Also, my aunt, by marriage, was born and raised in Czechoslovakia.

  17. I am Jay Mashburn I am a 20 year old sophomore, I attend Mtsu because I liked the campus and thought that the school would be very fun to come to. I liked the campus except when it rains. I am a psychology major. I really have no understanding of philosophy so if your'e looking for someone smart in your group then I am not that guy and if I happen to be in your group I am sorry.I do not normally think deeply it takes way to long. Philosophy is the study of wisdom or something like that. I do believe it differs from science and religion and all that because everyones thoughts are different so its going to be unique, As far as where we are in the universe I have no idea. I do believe to believe or not believe with or without reason that is our right given as we come out of the womb. No experiences that I can recall. David Hume if I would to say anything because he was considered the father of psychology. He happens to be dead. No, I am not a philosopher, here is my philosophical stand point in life "No worries".

    1. Shante'4:38 PM CST

      I'm with you Jay. I have no understanding on philosophy and would not be able to help anyone. so picking me would be a bummer. I figure it's lots of other in class the same way though and we will all be learning together. But, like you again I really don't like doing a lot of deep thinking, heck my brain isn't as young as it use to be.

  18. James McVey1:01 PM CST

    I'm James McVey, a 22 year old senior from Mount Juliet, TN. I transferred from UTK last semester. I am currently studying Journalism.

    I registered for this course because I have never taken a philosophy class and it interests me. I've been asking questions for as long as I can remember, always seeking more fulfilling answers. I am not religious.

    It's hard to pick a favorite philosopher, although I am familiar with many. I am currently reading "Thoughts of Marcus Aurelius."

    In my own words, I think philosophy is a tool used to encourage people to seek a deeper understanding of life.

    I'm looking forward to our discussions with Dr. Oliver and the rest of the class!

  19. Hi i'm Nereisa and I am a freshman. I'm 19 years old and I was born and raised in Georgetown, Guyana. I enjoy the great outdoors. I like to go to the beach, rock climb, play monopoly, zumba and many other things.

    I am a Global Studies major. I'm not yet sure what i'm going to do with that degree but i have a few things in mind.

    I don't know anything about philosophy but i am willing to learn. I believe everything happens for a reason and i do not question the universe.

  20. Ethan Hancock2:45 PM CST

    The name's Hancock, Ethan Hancock, I am from Henderson Ky. I transferred here to pursue a degree in music business/audio production. While in Henderson I attended a community college completing most of my basics so when I registered here I didn't have to take the boring typical college classes I chose to take classes that really interest me. I chose to take Philosophy because I consider my self a deep thinker, someone who always wonders why something is this or something is that. Also I believe that philosophy could be important in the music field. It's sort of a two birds one stone scenario, even though I find it hard to believe we ever had a shortage of stones and a abundance of birds. Anyways looking forward to having fun this year and learning a lot from this class.

  21. Hello my name is Jaime Wold, i just moved here in may from Largo, Florida. I was born and raised there for 18 years. I am now 19 and a sophomore at MTSU majoring in Agribusiness i would like to pursue a career in wildlife management after graduation.

    Although i do not know much about Philosophy or any American Philosophers i am in this class because my humanities credits did not transfer when i moved. It only made sense to take a new class that haven't already taken, so at least retaking a course would be interesting and productive.

  22. Shante'4:26 PM CST

    Hi my name is Shante'. I am a sophomore, who transferred from Southwest Community College in Memphis, TN back in the fall. I am recently divorced after seventeen years of married and one daughter. She is a freshman attending APSU in Clarksville, Tn. I am studying Education. I had worked as a Special Educational Assistant Teacher for the Shelby County Schools systems in Memphis for the pass ten years.
    Why am I here? I figured, since my daughter had graduated high school and was leaving home for college, I had just gotten a divorced, and I had to start over on my own. So, why not start somewhere else; therefore, I decided to come to MTSU. Believe me it's not easy starting over in your mid 40's.
    I have heard that taking philosophy is a deep thinking subject. like I need to think any deeper. I just want to enjoy life. I always say if I could just SLEEP, EAT, & PLAY I would.

  23. Dylan Aycock11:55 PM CST

    Hello there,

    My name is Dylan Skye Aycock. I was born on Feb. 14 in Birmingham, Ala. In 2004, I moved to the small town of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, and lived there until I graduated high school in 2013. There truly isn't much in Lawrenceburg besides the occasional tractor pull and county fair, but I learned to appreciate its other interesting aspects after awhile. Like I mentioned in class, I enjoy reading, writing, music, and going on adventures. I like many other things, but try to do all of those mentioned as much as possible. Also, I may appear shy and somewhat reserved for awhile, but I genuinely love meeting new people and learning about their views and opinions. Personally, I am not very religious, but am respectful towards the beliefs of others. That being said, I do have ideas and theories as to why we are here, and maybe some of those ideas will come up during our group/class discussions. Until then, just know that I'm always discovering new aspects of myself, and a major part of that is discovering my own philosophy (which, by the way, I am still figuring out.) And like the great Emerson said, "To be yourself in a would that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."

  24. Jordan Huschke12:45 PM CST

    Hey guys! I'm Jordan Huschke.

    I was born in Turlock, California on August 3rd, 1995, that makes me 18 years of age. Shortly after being born, I moved to a small town in Tennessee. A lot of people ask me, "Why would you move from California to Tennessee?" Well, Tennessee wasn't exactly where my parents wanted to be but I guess they didn't have much of a say being in the military. Anyways, I was raised in Ashland City and resided there until August, 2013. Now I live in Murfreesboro! Yay! I'm a freshman at MTSU with a pre-vet major (which will be changing very soon to psychology). I also ride horses for MTSU and have been riding since I was 8 years old. I don't exactly like to claim my country side, by the way. I'm a city girl at heart. I'm far from shy and love meeting new people.

    Why am I here? Why am I here in this life, on earth, I don't really know. I haven't exactly figured that out yet. However, I do know why I am in philosophy! I've recently learned that psychology and philosophy go hand in hand. Which is awesome because as I mentioned before I'm changing my major to psychology. I'm also interested on learning the theories of different philosophers and everybody else's view on life, religion, etc. I personally have lost my own beliefs over the years but maybe we can find them again!

    I'm still trying to figure out who I am and why I'm here but I love my life and I know those questions will be answered eventually. (:

    "The whole world is beautiful. You just have to know how to look at it."
    -David Eddings

    1. I love David Eddings, which is your favorite of his books/series?

  25. Yousef Al-Ansari1:37 PM CST


    My name Yousef Hassan Al-Ansari. Was born on a beautiful fall eve in 93. Location was Murfreesboro, TN. A year after my birth i was quickly transported to a small country in the middle east called Qatar. I lived in Qatar my whole life till I moved here to Murfreesboro in the summer of 2012 to attend MTSU. Huge fan of baseball, strange movies and Emo music. I enjoy thinking deeply about things because I like to get a deeper understanding on why one would think that way or act that way. I write lots of little things on post-it notes. Mostly ideas and lists of things that i might never finish or things that i have heard people say. I don't have a favorite philosopher at the moment. Maybe I will one day.

  26. Morganne Stanfill2:00 PM CST

    Hey you guys!

    My name is Morganne Stanfill. I was born on a summer afternoon on July 19. Most of my family is originally from Missouri about an hour outside of St. Louis (which is one of my favorite places in the world). Yes, I was raised a Cardinals fan. I have lived in Columbia, Tennessee for most of my life. It was a small town, and I was ready to get out. I am now a freshman at Middle Tennessee State University (obviously). I am an undeclared major. Although it freaks most people out that I have no idea what I'm going to do in life, I am completely comfortable with it.

    Why am I here? Well, I am in this philosophy class because it met my general education requirements, was recommended by another student and friend of mine, and it seemed interesting. I do not have a favorite philosopher, but I am hoping this class will change that!

  27. Stephanie Byars2:02 PM CST

    Hello everybody! :) I'm Stephanie. I'm a freshman majoring in Business Administration, and I'm from Hendersonville, TN. Most of my free time is spent reading, baking, and participating in theatre. Theatre is probably one of my favorite things to do. I enjoy all aspects of theatre, and the two I've been involved in most are acting and lighting design. My favorite role thus far has been playing Veruca Salt in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

    Why am I here? I'm at MTSU so I can earn my business degree and hopeful get a fulfilling job. More broadly speaking, I haven't completely figured out why I'm here, but it seems the older I get, the more I learn about myself and the world.

    As for philosophy, I definitely am not an expert and am hoping to learn more from this class. I've been somewhat exposed to various philosophers and their ideas through previous classes, but this is my first full blown philosophy class, so I'm interested to see what this class will bring.

  28. Hi :) My name is Jordan Peffley. I am an 18-year-old freshman from Maryland and am attending MTSU for the songwriting program. I have been writing songs since I was 5 years old and have been leading worship at various churches for the past 4 years. I am currently in the process of recording my first worship album with the help of some other students--I hope to become a worship artist for my career.

    I am taking this class because I love going deeper with what people believe. I feel that it is every individual person's responsibility to understand WHY we believe what we do. I am looking forward to learning more about my own beliefs as well as those held by others.

  29. Hello Everyone,
    My name is Vagif Seidov I am 25 years old. I am originally from Azerbaijan, which used to be part of the Soviet Union. Our family came to America when I was 7, I have been raised in Fairfax VA. I am an Active Duty SSG in the US Army. The Army has sent me to MTSU to finish my degree and commission as an Officer. My wife Tera and I have a wonderful daughter who is 4. In addition to spending time with my family and my career in the Army I am the owner of iFixiUnlock we Buy Sell Repair All Electronics and unlock cellphones. I like to believe that I am a deep thinker at times but do not let deep thought consume me. I am the type of person that seems to make light of some serious situations I think that has to do with my profession. I do not know much about philosophy and that is the reason I am in this class. I look forward to discuss many topics with you and am looking forward to learning something new.

  30. ryan cox6:48 PM CST

    Hey everyone I'm Ryan Cox. I'm 21 years old and currently a junior for a business administration major. I live locally here in Smyrna Tennessee but I originally moved to Tennessee from Ohio. As for me as a person I enjoy rock music, most movies that are not horror genre(as I typically find them boring), and video games.

    My own personal philosophy on life is to do what ever you have to to be personally happy. If you're happy, regardless of what you do or who you are, I'd say you've lived a pretty good life. What I hope to gain from taking this class is a greater understanding of what philosophy is, and different possible ways to view the world from a perspective I've never tried before.

  31. Anonymous6:52 PM CST

    Hi everyone! My name is Elizabeth Ormand. I am a Junior/Senior, I am one class away from being considered a Senior. I am a photography major, global studies minor. I would like to make an impact on the world through my photography and travel the world while doing it. Basically, I want to be a Storyteller. I want to be able to tell the story of someone in the world that otherwise would not be told.

    I took this class because i needed to fulfill my last gen ed and this class sounded interesting. I do like to think deeply, and since i have arrived at college i have noticed that my view on things that I have been raised with have changed into a slightly different or completely opposite opinion. So I am anxious to see what this semester has to offer and am very excited to hear the discussions we will have in class.

  32. Hi there~ My name is Kierra Johnson, but everyone just calls me Kiki, or "Keeks" or Toogy... I prefer Kiki, but just so you all can point out who I am, I'm the black girl with the afro up in the front, an afro that I love and cherish. Anyway, I was born and raised in Russellville, Arkansas and moved up to Antioch, Tennessee once my mom became married to my step-father. I'm a freshmen and my major is Digital animation and I minor in Graphic Design, the ultimate goal I want to accomplish with a degree in animation is to be an animator/creator at Cartoon Network Studios or Studio 4*C; so if you see me doodling, don't take offense, I PROMISE I'm listening.

    Personally I consider myself a skeptic when it comes to any belief or idea, this has nothing to do with past experiences I'm just naturally stubborn and refuse to hop on any type of bandwagon, but that doesn't mean I just flat out take it out of consideration. I'd like to believe that I live in a world of possibilities, so hearing the different ideals and beliefs of other people has always been interesting. Which is why I decided to take Philosophy. It's a great opportunity for me to learn about the different ways people think. My best friend and I are always having "Philosophical discussions " about religion, human origins, and humanity in general. She likes to point out that my way of thinking is more practical yet extreme. (I have no idea how that's possible, nah, yea I do) But I guess I just want to take this class to learn all that I can about life and thinking in general.

    My own personal philosophy has nothing to do with trying to find some hidden truth about life or humans, I feel it's a little pretentious that any ordinary human can claim to know all about life and what's going to happen when i's all said and done. I'd rather work on becoming a better person in general, in the sense that I'm more open-minded and excepting of the beliefs of others. And of course I'm stoked to see what the course has in store for the subject of Metaphysics.

    1. Brianna Carroll10:03 AM CST

      I really love this last paragraph! You are so right in saying that it is a little pretentious. Couldn't have worded it better.

  33. Anonymous7:40 PM CST

    Hello, my name is Long Nguyen, I am currently 20 years old and a sophomore in MTSU. I am 100% Vietnamese. I currently work as a server over at Cathay Asian Bistry off of South Church Street. I was born in Vietnam and moved to the United States at the age of 3, and was raised in Nashville, Tennessee. I moved to Murfreesboro for my college education. My current major is CIS (Computer System Information) and my minor is business administration. I basically changed my major multiple times, because I am very decisive.

    Why am I here? I am basically here for my final gen ed class. I picked this class specifically, because my roommate didn't think I would pass this class, but I am going to prove him wrong! Also, I find this class can be interesting and can also boost my knowledge to understand more about philosophy or life itself.

    1. Hahaha best reason to take a class ever!

  34. Mikayla Dahlgren8:45 PM CST

    Hello, my name is Mikayla Dahlgren, I am 19 and a freshman at Mtsu. To be honest I came to mtsu for all the wrong reasons; however, once I started I have came to love this town very much. I grew up in a small town in Tennessee. I love to travel this summer I went everywhere from NewYork to Florida, I love to write, and read when I have time. I am a nursing major I currently have my CNA license and I love helping people in need!
    I took philosophy because it was the most interesting choice for my general education that was offered; however, I also love to listen to others views on life and to have a deeper thought process.

  35. Hello my name is Robert Hoppenrath and I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois until I made the move to Tennessee about 1 and 3/4 years ago. I am an Education major and have not decided entirely what I want to teach. I love politics and government and am leaning towards those topics to teach about. But philosophy is something I have always been interested in. I am in philosophy class because I need to take the class to get my degree. As to my existence on this earth, I can't really say why I am here I haven't actually ever been able to come up with a valid reason. My favorite philosopher is probably Nietzsche, mostly due to his beliefs on religion and critical thought. Although I do enjoy Emerson as well

  36. Hi all,

    + My name is Jasmine Keithley.
    I was born in West Palm Beach, Florida raised in Wilson, North Carolina and now I'm on my own in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. I am a sophomore at MTSU and I am a fashion merchandising major with a minor in entrepreneurship. I have fallen in love with Tennessee and when I "grow up" and have to start thinking about full-time jobs I hope I'm lucky enough to end up in Nashville (or one of my top 6 places I'd love to live in my lifetime). I make a lot of lists. I journal... a lot, probably while drinking a cup of coffee or chai. I work and go to school. I have a goal of reading 50+ books in 2014. I'm obsessed with all things coffee. I love cats and foxes. Hmm..what else.. I take instagram a little too seriously and I really enjoy concerts/record shops and hiking. I take to many road trips and I really enjoy getting tattooed. If I'm ever missing you could find me in one of five places: a coffee shop, a record store, a thrift/antique shop, a park or tucked away in my apartment.

    + I took philosophy because I would really like to get a better grasp on all things related to philosophy. I enjoy anything that challenges me. I also love learning about anything new. I've never had a philosophy class so I thought this should be fun. I figured I would put my education to great use. I over-think.. all the time & most of my friends tell me I'm way to deep most of the time.. which I secretly enjoy.

    +My favorite philosopher... good question. I'll get back to you later with that. I don't believe I know enough about anyone in particular to have a "favorite." I also do not want to form my opinion on who my favorite philosopher is based on what tumblr post I reblog. So.. we will see who's my favorite by the end of the semester after changing my mind about a gazillion times (like I do with most things)!

    + Sorry about all of the weird +'s and //'s (can you even put a " 's " in front of a + and //? ..not sure, I'll get back to you on that one as well) but I'm really into making things look different. So, my apologies!

  37. Anonymous9:46 AM CST

    Hello classmates! My name is Brianna. I'm a sophomore here working on my bachelors in Psychology. I want to move back to East TN when I'm done with that and go to UTK for my masters in counseling. I want to be a school counselor then eventually have my own office to practice pediatric counseling. I'm extremely artistic and have been my entire life. However, I do not want a career in the arts. I feel like once a hobby becomes a job, it's no longer a hobby, and therefore loses its appeal. But that's just me. So I realized how much I like helping people and how interested I've always been in the way that people think, I constantly find myself observing people's behavior and wondering why they act a certain way. After working in a BigBox retail store through high school, I realized that I had absolutely no desire to ever work with the general public again. However, I love children and appreciate their innocence and would love to help them NOT become half of the adults I encountered every day. I figured that I might as well use my artistic side for some good use and decided that if it helps children to communicate and express themselves, I am open to doing art therapy with them. I'm extremely excited to be here in school working on my dreams, it's an awesome thing to watch them come alive before your eyes!

    I have an awesome job on campus and have been involved in organizations as well. I look forward to getting to know all of you and having a great semester!

    Oh..and naturally, my favorite philosopher is Henry Miller. Author of The Inhuman Artist. I have been quoting him since I was 15 or so but just recently found out that he is recognized as a philosopher. I did a painting that incorporated one of his quotes that is hanging in my room that says, "To paint is to love again, and to love is to live life to the fullest."

    Another one of my favorites is ~ "The artist is the opposite of the politically minded individual, the opposite of the reformer, the opposite of the idealist. The artist does not tinker with the universe, but instead recreates it out of his own experience and understanding of life."

    ^This is my philosophy of life, or at least of my own.

    1. Brianna Carroll10:04 AM CST

      Also, I'm not too familiar with BlogSpot so sorry for posting this as anonymous!

  38. Hello everyone, my name is Carson Odom. I'm 18 years old and am currently in my second semester at MTSU. I'm in the midst of studying Business Management and plan on graduating in the Spring of 2014. My dream is to go into vocational ministry. I've had an extraordinary opportunity to spend time in a village in Togo, West Africa. While there, the orphans and people there had more of an impact on me than I had on them. My dreams opened up of traveling the world and ministering to people who are lacking in physical needs along with spiritual.

    Who am I? Nouns to describe me... A younger brother to a mechanical engineering major and an older brother to a joy-filled kid with Down Syndrome, an athlete that loves sports and watching them, a reader, an exerciser, a son and a friend. Over three and a half years ago Christ saved me. I've been opened to the glory of His greatness.

    Why am I here? I'm philosophy class because it's part of my general education. I'm at MTSU because it was the cheapest route of education and only 20 minutes from home. I'm in Smyrna, TN because it's the town I've lived in since the day I was born. I'm in the United States only because I don't have enough money yet to travel the world and explore the cultures that my mind is so ignorant to.

    Do I like to think deeply about things? I love to. I always catch myself, especially when in some place new, examining everything around me and just taking everything in. I'm always picking up something or noticing everything about my surroundings. I try to think in the deepest way possible in order for the lives of others to be better.

    Do I have any favorite philosophers? I don't. I've never ventured into the area of philosophy or studied those who have. I'm taking this class in order to come to a better understanding about philosophy and those who have studied it.

  39. Hello everyone, my name is Layton Switzer. I am twenty five years old. I graduated from the College of Charleston with a BA in history and a minor in political science. I was planning on attending graduate school for history, but decided last minute that I had no desire to do that. I have always loved music and tinkering around with logic (I am sure most of you know, but for those who do not, 'logic' is recording software). So, I decided to enroll at MTSU for audio production.
    Why am I taking this class? I also have always had a fascination with philosophy. I took a few philosophy classes at CofC and really enjoyed them. So here I am.
    Am I a deep thinker? Absolutely yes. I love meta physical questions. I even love unsettling questions, like considering whether or not our consciousness can or will continue to exist after death.
    My favorite philosopher is definitely Bertrand Russell. He is one of the great Analytic philosophers, and his work in Principia Mathematica helped to ground logic in mathematics.
    I am very excited about this class and the discussions it will bring!

  40. Edward Davila12:02 PM CST

    Who am I? I am a single gear in a much larger machine and my metal is comprised of everything I have learned and everything I am.

    Why am I here? I am here to enhance my metal and enlarge my importance to the machine that is the world. Just a few strong gears can change the machine.

    Do I like to think deeply about things? I think about things as much as I can to put them in perspective. I will sometimes walk through a track beside my house so that I can think under the stars.

    My favorite philosopher as of right now is John Locke for having such a powerful impact on our constitution.

  41. Who am I? I am a Freshman in college. I am looking to achieve great goals, but I'm just starting out. I hope to graduate with a BA in Computer Science and hope to learn a lot more while at MTSU.
    Why am I here? I am here because I thought that philosophy would be interesting. I am here to try and acquire a higher level of thinking.

  42. Anonymous1:25 PM CST

    Who am I? My name is Zachary Lynn Duncan and I am a freshman here at MTSU. From what I do know about my family, there is a lot of French blood that runs through me. My fathers side of the family is all from Louisiana.
    Why am I here? I want to expand my knowledge greatly, study many different things and form my own opinion on life. It would be awesome to explore the universe, maybe one day.

  43. Who Am I? My name is Seagle Hunt and I am a sophomore. I am originally from Chattanooga, TN. I wanted to get away from home but not so far that I couldn't stay in touch, so I came to MTSU.

    Why am I here? I am a very opinionated person that is interested in the opinions of others. I like trying to figure out what makes people think the way they do and why they think differently than me.

  44. Hi my name is Sam Cook. For anyone above the age of thirty: I was not named after the famous singer (that was simply a happy coincidence). I am junior at MTSU and studying English as my major. I am also learning Japanese (probably because of my obsession with anime) and may choose it is as my minor should my plans to study in Japan work out. I like video games, computers, and all things nerdy.

    I picked this class because I think having a basic knowledge in Philosophy will help to strengthen the arguments I make in the essays I write for my upper division English classes. I rarely proofread, and that's why half the things I type will probably read more like a foreign language than English. My favorite philosopher is Socrates for his use of rhetoric.

  45. Hello everybody! My name is Jesse Noe. I'm from Manchester Tennessee. I'm 22 years old and I'm a freshman here at MTSU :) I am excited to get to know all of you, and get your perspective on things. I don't have a major yet but my focus is pre-med.

    Some things to know about me is, I am a Mormon and I served a two year mission for my church to korea, and I speak korean! if you speak korean we will be best friends;) haha I love to play soccer! I love learning! I love listening to music.
    I am a wood worker, and making things out of wood is a hobby.

    i hope we can learn a lot from each other, and have some really good conversations;)

  46. Brandy Barnes2:54 PM CST

    Hello! My name is Brandy Barnes. I am 23 years old, but will be 24 at the end of February. I work two jobs (both is with kids) and attended classes full time. I will be graduating MTSU in May 2015 with a degree in Geology. After that I plan to get my Masters, research earthquakes in undeveloped countries for a few years, then possibly go back to school to obtain an Environmental Law Degree. As a teenager, I was terrible at Science, I was without a doubt my own worst enemy. I was determined to fail it and be bad at the subject before I even gave it a chance. I took an Earth Science 1030 class with Professor Cribb when I was about 20 and became very interested in the study of our planet Earth. I was amazed at the different topics I began to learn and I was fascinated everyday when attending class. Due to an incredible teacher and a thrilling subject, I final declared myself as a geology major at MTSU and I have not once been disappointed. I was undeclared for 2 years and felt "home less," until I found a passion for science later in life. I encourage you to keep you mind open, especially if you are undeclared. You might be pleasantly surprised.

    Why am I here? Well, I suppose I just answered that, but I am specifically in the philosophy course to retake it. I have Chronic Urticaria, which is a idiopathic hives conditions. In the last 5 years that I have had this condition, none of my team of doctors nor myself, can find a reason as to why these hives persist, but that is a topic for another day. When I was 20, I was not in a good place with my condition and new medications, therefore causing me to miss quite a bit of classes and since of my medications required 13 hours of sleep, school work took a back seat. Unfortunately, I ended up letting my grades slip. Due to my ambitious grad school choices, I am retaking philosophy in order to fix my previous grade and gpa drop.
    In case you were wondering, I am doing much better now and had perfect attendance last semester.

  47. Who am I? My name is Allie Benson and I am a freshman majoring in special education. I was born in California but grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. One of my brothers is a songwriting major at Belmont University which is basically why I ever came to Tennessee. My favorite things to do are hiking and going to music festivals and concerts with my friends.

    I'm basically in philosophy because I'm very interested in the fundamental key to living a whole and happy life. I like to say that I'm at peace of mind and know what I want in life, but I'd like to broaden my knowledge in philosophy so I can carry it on with me throughout the rest of my life.

  48. (Posted for John)-I'm John Connor Coulston, and, before you ask, yes I realize there's a popular movie character that shares my name. No, I have never seen Terminator, but I will eventually.

    Anyway, I'm from Brownsville, TN. It's a small town approximately 45 minutes east from Memphis. I spent my whole life there until moving to Murfreesboro in August. I originally was drawn to MTSU for its EMC program. However, after several lackluster encounters with participants in the EMC program and a newfound interest in journalism, I swapped into the journalism program. I wrote for Sidelines all last semester and am now the Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor. I love doing it and am gaining valuable experience in the process.

    As for my philosophical back ground, I've always been interested in Philosophy, but have never fully dove into it.I've have multiple philosophical experiences from music, movies, etc, but most importantly life experiences. I grew up with very open-minded parents with strong moral philosophies so I was able to venture into whatever beliefs I wanted all while knowing the difference between right and wrong. My upbringing coupled with losing my father three years ago to cancer has led me to a certain way of thinking. Hopefully during the tenure of this course, I can solidify my philosophical beliefs after learning of the various philosophies of others and famed philosophers.

  49. My name is Tori Hartline, I am currently a sophomore. I grew up in Atlanta, Ga but currently call Chattanooga, TN my home. I spent my first year of college at Oklahoma State to cheer for the best program in the nation but have since decided to be closer to home.
    I am a Psychology major and aspire to be a Cultural Psychologist soon after plenty of years of school. I am in philosophy because it interested me.

  50. Zachary VanDusen2:01 PM CST

    Hey guys. My name is Zachary VanDusen. I am a freshman and I am an undeclared student. I was born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania and moved to Tennessee when i was 12 years old. I have been here ever since. I took philosophy because it was a requirement (and because my advisor kind of urged me to take it). I plan on walking on the football team during the upcoming season depending on the health of my knees.