Up@dawn 2.0

Saturday, January 31, 2015


We seem to be missing a few Author summaries from Thursday, or I am anyway. Every group's author, including peripatetics, must post a summary promptly at the end of each class so the rest of us can find a place to post. We'll go back on Tuesday to making sure that gets done.

Meanwhile, everyone, if you can't find your group's author summary you can post your  comments, FQs, DQs, & links here. Or wherever.


Socrates & Plato at the Googleplex cafe

In case you didn't get enough Socrates and Plato in class this week...

The founder of "Socrates Cafe" (and author of several Socratically-inspired books including the eponymous original title)

has a passion for inquiry -- and of a sort that transforms the way we relate to one another, to ourselves, and our world. A foremost specialist in the Socratic Method, he reminds us that we ought to ask questions – “not about any chance question,” as Socrates put it in Plato’s Republic, “but about the way one should live.” He encourages us to roll up our mental sleeves, turn on our childlike questioning lenses, and become our own best thinkers, askers, doers...
Christopher Phillips - Home


"Socrates in Love: Philosophy for a Passionate Heart"
(W. W. Norton & Company 2007)

Taking as his springboard for modern Socratic inquiry the five traditional forms of love as practiced by the Greeks of antiquity--eros (erotic love), storge (family love), philia(friendship love), xenia (stranger love), and agape (unconditional love)--Phillips sets out to explore, in a wide variety of venues around the world, with people of all walks of life, how we can become a more loving world today, and how we can and even must learn about the wise, loving ways of the Greeks of old--particularly those of Socrates, who embodied all aspects of Greek love at a time when his own beloved society was in deep decline, seeking to resuscitate those loving practices that might once again set his society on an evolving course.


 "Six Questions of Socrates: A Modern-Day Journey of Discovery Through World Philosophy"
(W. W. Norton & Company 2004)

In his successful follow up, Christopher Phillips poses “original” questions of Socrates--as recorded by Plato--in the most diverse cultural circumstances. This unconventional method of discussion brings out surprising commonalities--he begins with "What is virtue?" in the remains of an ancient marketplace in Athens and moves on to a Navajo reservation in the Southwest, where it turns out that the Navajo conception of virtue, hozho, includes a sense of order and harmony with the natural world both similar to and distinct from the conception of the ancient Greeks. In Detroit, Phillips discusses "What is moderation?" with a group of twenty Muslim women, some veiled, some not, who explain to him the Koranic notion of a "just mean" or "balance between extremes."
Phillips continues this work, venturing to foreign lands and engaging in spirited and provocative discussions with people from many backgrounds: Japanese fifth-graders, Somalian refugees, a Mexican museum worker, an Israeli university student, Korean Buddhists... The responses uncover surprising commonalities between cultures and reveal the deep connections between classical philosophy, modern life and the rich traditions and experiences of people far removed from the “canon” of Western academic philosophy.


"Socrates Café: A Fresh Taste of Philosophy"
(W. W. Norton & Company 2001)

In his bestseller Socrates Café, Phillips describes his extensive travels across the U.S. starting philosophical discussion groups and recalls what led him to start his itinerant program to begin with. Recounting some of the most invigorating sessions, he reveals sometimes surprising, often profound reflections on the meaning of love, friendship, work, growing old, and others among Life's Big Questions.


"The Philosophers’ Club"
(August 2001)

What is silence? What is wisdom? How do you know you’re here? Socratic dialogue—for kids? At least the answer to this last question is an easy, resounding Yes! The rest you’ll have to think about and discuss with your friends, which is just what philosopher Christopher Phillips is hoping for. He has long been leading thinkers of all ages on a thoughtful and thought-filled quest for knowledge, and this picture book models for young children that mulling over some of life’s big questions can be done anytime, anywhere.

And here's something different: Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won't Go Away, by Rebecca Goldstein. (More reviews at Goodreads)
Product Details 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Group discussion for 29Jan15

Section 8 group one discussed love. We decided that love is chocolate, sleep, sex, and a verb.

H-01 Jeanette, Josh, Bryce and Dr. Oliver's Peripatetic Discussion

During our peripatetic adventure, we decided to discuss the nature of reality. The essence of the question was whether or not we believe reality is an illusion. Firstly, we talked about how reality is what our senses make of our surroundings; how our interaction with our environment simulates a sense of reality. Josh's argument, I believe, attempted to define reality as our physical perception of nature. In this model, reality is what the agent makes of the universe. I think that out of this notion comes ideas and philosophies, like religions! Its an attempt at rationalizing our own existence. The conversation inevitably led to the mathematical nature of our universe (probably because I was there to bring it up as I usually do...). A deepening understanding behind the structure of nature leads many to perceive reality much differently. With a few relatively simple equations and theorems, one can, in theory, recreate the physical universe. We may not know everything, but we've had a good start at attempting to. Josh then asked me why, if everything is just a product of a conglomeration of equations, the universe is not static and unchanging? Herein lies the heart of scientific exploration. Why do objects move through space-time the way they do and why does energy behave the way it does? The answer is, no one knows why exactly nature behaves the way it does, but we know it does! All we can do is look at all the data and make inferences. Energy seems to flow to its lowest possible state, which sort of offers an explanation to Josh's question (we'll have to talk more about this!). On the other hand, we spoke of the perceived reality of our own consciousness. On this topic, we seemed to have no firm grip of what our thoughts and actions mean in terms of their implications on true reality. If someone were to drop some LSD, he or she will see that internal reality is malleable and subject to extreme change. I made the assertion that reality is a library of discrete facts attained through interaction with one's environment; when those 'facts' are messed with, like with the lysergic acid, one's sense of reality becomes greatly perturbed.   

John Rawls

If you're on YouTube much, I suggest you subscribe to the School of Life series. Here's their latest, on the great American political philosopher John Rawls.


Group 3-1 Janie, Jeffrey, Holly, Ben

Our group expanded on the ideas of love and marriage. As a group we were all surprisingly of the same mind. We think the idea of perfection in finding a partner is unrealistic.

We compared what we knew about the ideas about arranged marriage to modern ideas of love. In those situations it is not love that drove the decision but practical ideas about likes, dislikes or a list of resume like qualities. This idea opposes our modern western ideals about love. But interestingly the advent of internet dating sort of goes back to looking people for the logical reasons before an emotional understanding. However it could be argued that a profile is just a list of pre recs required for such a connection.

We thought that love is a complicated emotion. And many times a result of familiarity and we noted the connection it required with both the a very complicated emotional part of our brain and at the same time a more physical instinctual desire or something. We also mentioned the French president has a wife and children but several public mistresses which seriously conflicts with the way we view marriage in America.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Section H1, Group 2, Sub-Group Drew-Evan-Daniel-Austin

Our group took a walk around the COE in true peripatetic fashion, discussing our thoughts on Plato's idea of Eros and Perfect Disembodied Love. We established that the type of love that was discussed in the Symposium was Eros, which is a romantic or physical love. Aside from Eros, there are two other types of love: Agape, which is an all-encompassing and unconditional love, and Philos, which is a more general type of brotherly love. We seemed to come to the conclusion that we didn't really agree with Plato's idea of true love being a transcendent experience with the Form of Beauty, since this type of relationship had altered the original definition of Eros. Upon further discussion, we moved topics to the Theory of Forms. If there is a perfect Form for every physical object, what about abstract ideas like numbers, or colors, or even art? Do these concepts also have perfect Forms? How can we discover the nature of these abstract Forms when the ideas themselves are abstract?

H01 Group 1 Peripatetic Discussion

In our walk around the BAS and LRC, our group discussed the practical difficulties that arise in relationships when disagreements inevitably happen.  We started by talking about the "laundry list" of requirements for a perfect other half, mentioned in the larger group discussion, and we said either that there was no such thing for us, or that it was less a pre-decided list that we kept and more a code of standards that, if not upheld in a relationship, caused friction.  We differentiated between this sort of disparity of expectations and a difference in belief.  For example: one participant said he and his girlfriend held vastly different political and religious beliefs, but they both believed that they were entitled to their own opinions, so the relationship worked.  We then discussed situations that could complicate a relationship:  What if two people love each other, but their career and life goals would lead them in very different directions?  What if one prioritizes the relationship more than the other?  What if one wants a family and the other doesn't?  The answers to these questions, we eventually concluded, are somewhat situation-specific.  In general, we said to the first that the two must decide which is more important to them--their relationship or their career goals, bearing in mind that too much one-sided sacrifice (one person giving up all his/her career pursuits to follow the other person) could lead to resentment and automatically deprioritizes one person in the relationship.  To the second and third, we said that if a person is in a relationship, and especially if that relationship leads to a family, the partner and family are the number one priority.  If a person is the type to put work first in most situations, he or she needs to look for human connection in good friends.  If there is a disagreement about whether to have kids, the couple should weigh the one's desire for a family against the other's desire to not have kids and decide if they can work it out.

H01 Group 3-2 Peripatetic Discussion

Our group spent the majority of our walk pondering the question of whether or not we still "kill Socrates" in the world of today. We believe that ,any people who ask questions like he did are often silenced in today's society. We decided that normally we label these people as "conspiracy theorists" and disregard what they have to say. Also, we came to the conclusion that just as in Socrates's day, most people don't like admitting that they are wrong or that they do not know anything. In the end we said that acceptance of widespread belief is generally considered more important in the world of today than search for the truth.

Team Ball is Lyfe Section 12

Today we all went out and walked, talked and thought like peripatetics. We had many discussions going at once. One of the most important was the question of reality as we see it. Jackson asked a mind boggling question: Are our shadows our true reality and we are their shadows instead of it being the other way around? We discussed this and started to go further into the question of reality, Jana asked another question, "What if we live in someone's dream?" We again discussed and realized that we have no idea or proof of what reality is. We have our senses to tell us that we exist but we don't know where in this expanding universe we exist or from whom do we exist. So this got too deep and we decided to change topics and some of us talked about 3rd world countries and their difficulties. We went on to ask the question of whether 3rd world people would be fine living in Plato's Republic. We ended up deciding from our experiences that 3rd world people have changed, somewhat westernized themselves to cherish democracy and not give in to a totalitarian government  unlike centuries ago when most 3rd world countries were under a monarchy or another form of totalitarian government.  

Group 3

Part 1:
We discussed the question "What is love?" We walked around Peck Hall discussing that it's a complicated emotion, topic, and concept.

- Heather Steekley

Part 2:

We discussed the topic of, "What is it like to see the world through someone else's eyes?" We decided that life is subjective. No one is going to see the same thing the exact same way as someone else.

- Tyler Wren

Quiz Jan.29

1. (T/F) For Socrates, a conversation that ended in everyone realizing how little they knew was a failure.(LH p.2)

2. (T/F) For Socrates, wisdom consists in knowing lots of facts. (LH p.3)

3. Plato's parable of the cave was intended to illustrate the distinction between appearance and reality, and to introduce his Theory of ______. (LH p.5)

4.Does M.M.McCabe prefer to teach by lecturing Socratically? (PB p.8)

5. Who said Eros is the search for your other half? (PB p.12)

6. What's good about Plato's concept of Eros as contemplation of the Form of Beauty, according to Angie Hobbs? OR, What's bad about it? (PB, p.17)

1. Do you think the point of conversation is mainly to demonstrate that you already know what you're talking about, or that someone or other in the discussion does? How else might it be possible to think about philosophical conversations?

(If you're discussing politics, religion, ethics, metaphysics, science-vs.-superstition, or some other Big Question, do you presume that one of you is right and everyone else is wrong? Do you consider that you all may be partly right and partly wrong? Do you expect to gain from such conversations or do you shun them? What would Socrates say?)

2. Can an ignorant person be wise? Can a knowledgeable person be ignorant?

3. Do you think ordinary life is a misleading appearance, and reality something most of us fail to perceive? Why or why not? How should we go about seeking to discover reality, if it is in fact elusive?

4. Do you like sitting and listening to long speeches, sermons, and lectures? Do you get more out of them than you do from conversations with your peers? What do you see as the benefit or the deficiency of Socratic dialogue?

5. What's your definition of love? Are you looking for your perfect match? What makes for a good marriage or relationship?

6. Do you like Plato's concept of Eros as Perfect Disembodied Love? Why or why not?

Socrates in love, at the cafe

Here's another cartoon for you to re-caption. (I have this one on my office door.) Maybe that's Socrates, Alcibiades, Aristophanes and friends on their way home from the Symposium?

Our CoPhi discussions of Socrates, Plato, Platonic love, Higher Love, and human reality will echo the observation of M.M. McCabe, that our culture's almost forgotten how to have an amicable conversation in which everyday people get together
to discuss with others in this open-minded, open-ended way that allows them to reflect on what they think and us to reflect on what we think, without dictating, without dogma, without insistence, and without imperative... to be true to themselves: to be sincere about their beliefs and to be honest... and to have some respect for their companion.
Christopher Phillips was similarly inspired when he created Socrates Cafe,
gatherings where people from different backgrounds get together and exchange thoughtful ideas and experiences while embracing the central theme of Socratizing; the idea that we learn more when we question and question with others.
The point is to foster mutual understanding, empathy, respect, and collaborative enlightenment, to break down barriers to communication, to go beyond the superficial plane of trivial and meaningless talk that so often characterizes our public exchanges, to put partisan prejudice aside and really listen to one another.

And, as with the great Gadfly himself, the point is to puncture the pretense that only a few of us really Know, and are licensed to engage in such discourse. No: philosophy is supposed to be for everyone. If more of us did it, well, what a world it could be.

We can talk across lines [of partisan division and mistrust] by talking about what we love, because a lot of us love the same things: our kids and grandkids, our country, the natural world, the idea that people should be able to get ahead in life. Then we can talk about our doubts, because we all doubt that what we love is being served well. Beginning a conversation with loves and doubts rather than political ideologies opens a new door to dialogue, driven by story-telling rather than political point scoring. ("Reclaiming 'We the People,' One Person at a Time")
This is the Socratic dream of one Parker J. Palmer, who runs retreats based on something he calls a Circle of Trust. Like Chris Phillips, he wants "to help people step back from the noise of modern life, reflect, and return more centered and effective in their vocations." 

"Talking about what we love": that's what Socrates was all about, at his ancient Symposium and in Phillips' Socrates in Love. Let's do it too.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Section 12 Quiz Questions

1. Who characterized walking as gymnastics for the mind?

2. Who was the philosopher that planted 1.5 acres of tree and made a path he walked every morning?

3. How many miles did Henry David Thoreau walk in his life?

4. Who was Thoreau's landlord?

5. Did peripatetic philosophy entirely cease, with the destruction of Athens in 267 A.D.?

6. Who are John Man and Robert MacFarlane?

7. Who started "This I Believe," and brought it back?

8. What does "TIB" invite citizens to do?

9. What does Jay Allison say our time has in common with the 50s. (or: What does he say we're not doing well?)

Section 8 Group 3

1. What country did philosophy flourish in the 20th century?
2. What method did Aristotle use to teach philosophy?
3. Was Aristotle's class exclusive or open?
4. What does Solvitur Ambulando mean?

1. Who made a walking path around his 1.5 acres estate to walk and meditate?
2. What did Thomas Hobbs install onto his walking stick?
3. Between Aristotle and Plato, which class was exclusive and which was open?
4. What does "Solvitur Ambulando" mean?
5. Back in the Greek era, who were known as the peripetetics?
6. Who did the peripetetics follow?

Group 1 Discussion Summary - Tuesday 1/27/15

We discussed the question, "How do one's surroundings influence one's morals?" The first example that came up was vegetarianism vs. eating meat and/or killing animals for food. Rather than debating the morality of either lifestyle, we used this dichotomy as an analogy to explain how cultural context influences a person's sense of morals. A lifelong vegetarian visiting a beef farm for the first time might be horrified, but a cattle farmer who grew up in that environment is used to it. Similarly, people tend to accept the moral trends in which they are immersed. For example, many German citizens in Nazi Germany felt powerless to contradict the Nazi regime. It was noted that it is often much easier to make moral judgements in retrospect. We discussed the human medical experiments that took place in the concentration camps and concluded that even if valuable results had been produced, there are other humane, morally acceptable means of advancing scientific knowledge.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Team Ball Lyfe group 2 section 12

Today our group discussed why we thought it was important to have the site like "This I Believe". We all agreed that this was a great tool that anyone and everyone could use to help express themselves more freely. Our group also discussed that "This I Believe" counter acts all the negative things out there on the internet and allows us to see a different side of the world through the essays that people send in. It allows us to connect with people and benefits all of us by showing that we are not alone.

ADHD - Just an excuse to boost your Performance?

This has been a subject that has cropped up lately with some frequency. Given that most of us are Pre-Med and considering the alarmingly high use of Amphetamines in Medical School, I was wondering what the general consensus on this matter was? Stimulants (as in the drug class) as an academic performance enhancer, good or bad?

Here's the link to the brief, and somewhat vague article. http://medicineabuseproject.org/assets/documents/NPSFactSheet.pdf

Section H1 Group 3 1/27

Our group discussed how being with other people impact how we think. We believed that it depends on who you are with and what they believe, and that open minded-ness is key. However, we also said that you should make sure you don't lose your own personal philosophy/change to please others. Pros of philosophizing with others are that it opens your mind and can be productive to thinking. Cons are that other people can sometimes be a distraction to your own thoughts, and that thinking alone allows for refinement of ideas. In society today, we believe certain things, like that the internet and certain news channels make it easier to find extremes in beliefs (cyberbalkanization). We also believe that many people have stopped debating ideas and it has turned more to fighting and trying to prove yourself right--there is a mind set of "You can't be wrong", like it is shameful to reform yourself. Sometimes only people with the strongest beliefs speak out.

Author posts, Section H1

Group 1 -

Group 2 - In our group we began discussing the question posed by Ben Burton, "Is it better to ask questions or to answer questions?" Ultimately we came to some base conclusion that the acts of asking and answering questions build off of each other and are co-dependent. The two are connected terminally. Also, in asking a question you are asking two: the original question and for someone to answer.
 Secondly, we discussed divine vs. innate inspiration. After thorough discussion, we came to the conclusion, among others, that this answer is solely up to the perspective of the individual. Also, inspiration comes from within, but it may be sparked by nature and is driven by the observation of the individual; nothing is separately inspired. Eventually our discussion led to the consciousness of computers. Does consciousness demand that there is no original author, no programmer? Also, the Turing test is bull.

Group 3 -

Author posts sec.12

Group 1 - If we were a peripatetic, we would choose to stop and go home for the following reasons: major breakthrough, tired, bleeding feet, hungry, thirsty... We admired Bill Gates philosophy (He plans to give away 90% of money to various charities).

Group 2 -

Group 3 - Our group talked about our best and worse/most embarrassing outdoor experiences. These experiences included camping, hiking, traveling, and fishing in both the best and the worst/most embarrassing.

Quiz Jan.27

1. What was the name of Aristotle's school?

2. Did peripatetic philosophy entirely cease, with the destruction of Athens in 267 A.D.?

3. Who are John Man and Robert MacFarlane?

4. Who started "This I Believe," and who brought it back?

5. What does TIB invite citizens to do?

6. What does Jay Allison say our time has in common with the '50s? (OR: What does he say we're not doing well?)

And some DQs:

1. Would you like to have attended Aristotle's school, Plato's, neither, or both? Why?

2. Do you consider yourself an active or a sedentary person, by preference? (If given a choice, on a lovely Fall day, would you rather stay in and play video games or go out for a walk/hike/run/bikeride/swim/etc.?)

3. What's the most memorable outdoor experience you've ever had?

4. Have you ever attempted to share your beliefs, convictions, core principles (etc.) in public? (Ifyes, would you say you did it in a spirit of evangelism and proselytizing, or in a philosophical way? What's the difference? And if no, why not?)

5. Are you a good listener? (Do you try to understand the points of view of those who disagree with your beliefs, or do you simply dismiss them as just wrong?)

6. Do you agree that we live in a time of intolerance and incivility, when it comes to dissenting points of view?

Author posts Sec.8

Group 1 -  We discussed a variety of topics including morals; differences of morals do not make you a good or bad person, merely different. We have a disconnect from the outdoors and seem to have a stronger connection to MMORPG's and the internet but the experiences that we do have outside and with other people are much deeper and bring us very great joy.

Group 2 - Today we talked a little about our beliefs and how walking can either influence or hinder your training of thought. Some of us also believe that walking can thinking helps deep thinkers based off visuals of higher powered individuals pacing back and forth and etc.

Group 3 -

Graphic Philosophy

Supply a caption. If the class likes yours most, you get a run.

What the dog said: "Solvitur ambulando, Diogenes."

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Section H1 Author posts

Group 1 - Our group discussed freedom.  We contemplated the idea that the most complete freedom we can have allows us free choice until something we do would limit someone else's free choice.
-Sarah Anderson

Group 2- Our group had a conversation about the question, "what is freedom?" We came up with a few different theories, but a theme was the physical nature of freedom: that is, how the laws of physics restrict our freedom. Also, we discussed the idea of freedom inside of societal structures (in which we all exist). This 'freedom' is conditional based upon what the moral standards of the society is.   - Bryce Marion

Group 3 - We defined a personal philosophy not as one's set of morals, but as one's approach to living, or as the application of the sums of their experiences. In regards to the necessity of a personal philosophy, we said that for some, it is necessary to have their philosophies to be set within their minds to achieve peace, while for others, trying to decide where they stand on philosophical issues is a source of anxiety. So, it is necessary for some and not for others to have a personal philosophy to be happy in life. -Noah Delk

Section 12 Author posts, groups 1 & 3

Post your DQs, FQs, comments & links here, Section 12/groups 1 & 3.

Group 3- Group 3 discussed question six concerning freedom. We looked at the cultural, political, and moral aspects of freedom. Overall, we decided freedom is good to an extent.-Annie
Group 1 - Group 1 discussed how we think having a personal philosophy contributes to living a good life. We thought that having a personal philosophy allows one to establish their own moral values. It also allows them to live by their own accord, and to be happy with who they are.

Team Ball is Lyfe (Group 2) #12

What do we think "wisdom" means?

We had many different opinions on what wisdom means.

Some of those include learning things throughout daily life and being able to actually apply them. We had varying thoughts on whether age or experience is the ingredient for wisdom, or whether it is a combination of the two. In addition, we discussed how wisdom has changed over time due to more discoveries and advancements in technology.

Lastly, we decided wisdom has more to do than with just intelligence; it is about being able to put yourself in different perspectives of people who have gone through situations we can all learn from.

Quiz Jan.22

The first part of our Daily Routine (see the right-margin sidebar on our homepage) will be a crowd-sourced quiz consisting of six questions to be drawn from the Factual Questions (FQs) you've posted before class (supplemented by my quiz questions) pertaining to the day's assigned reading.
When you get to class, immediately join your group and begin discussing the proposed FQs & DQs. Select one or two of each and designate a member of your group to go up and write them on the board. When we have six good questions we'll do a quick quiz, then go over the correct answers.
You can pick up additional runs by having your FQ picked for the quiz, by acing the quiz, by transcribing and posting the quiz, and in other ways (again, see the right-margin sidebar).

Each group should also select and write on the board one or two Discussion Questions (DQs) - see below.*

Today we'll select our three discussion groups. Perhaps you'll all have posted enough FQs about today's readings in P & PB to generate our first quiz. But just in case you haven't, here's a prototype we can use today (and emulate in the future):

1. (P 1) "Philosophy" (the word) is derived from the Greek word meaning what?

2. (P 3) The caricature of a philosopher is of a brilliant person who is hopeless at dealing with what?

3. (P 6) Does Nigel think philosophy is all you need (instead of art, literature, history, psychology etc.)?

4. (PB xi) Who's the "favourite" of the philosophers polled in Philosophy Bites Back?

5. (PB xi) Name another philosopher who received several votes.

6. (PB xxiii) Robert Talisse names John Stuart Mill as his fave. What was Mill's most famous book?

*Some possible DQs (after the quiz we'll vote on our favorite, to kick off a brief class discussion followed by longer group discussion, which - if it's nice out - some of you may wish to do peripatetically):

1. What do you think "wisdom" means?

2. Do you think philosophy should be "practical"? Why? How?

3. How do you think having a personal philosophy might contribute to living "a good life"?

4. Who's YOUR favorite philosopher? Why?

5. Do you think a philosophy has to be popular to be good?

6. What does it mean to you to be "free"?  (OR, Why is freedom important?)

During the Last 10 Minutes of each class, each group selects an author to post the beginning of a summary of their group discussion, to be edited and extended later after class if necessary. (The author gets a run, as does the day's bell-ringer who'll let us all know that we just have 10 minutes left.) Before next class, everyone in the group should post a comment in reply to your author, as well as a FQ and a DQ pertaining to next time's assignment.
UPDATE for Section 8, Jan.22: Fun class today!- despite the pandemonium at the end when we couldn't quite get ourselves sorted into discussion groups. But we'll get it done on Tuesday. You can post your comments and questions (FQs & DQs) here or in subsequent posts, pending selection of your own groups' authors next week. jpo

Day 2

We get down to business today, selecting discussion groups and finding out which of us already has a favorite philosopher. Mine, as I've already indicated, is William James. I'll try to say why, today.

It will be interesting to check in on that question again at semester's end. I don't expect my preference to change, but yours might.

Be sure to start forming the habit of reading the "Next" announcements and posting questions (factual and discussion, FQs & DQs) about the assigned readings before each class. In future, you'll post in the comments section of your group's author post. But today, you can do it here.

UPDATE for Section 8, Jan.22: Fun class today!- despite the pandemonium at the end when we couldn't quite get ourselves sorted into discussion groups. But we'll get it done on Tuesday. You can post your comments, questions (FQs & DQs), and links here and in subsequent posts, pending selection of your own groups' authors next week.

We have at least one group in Section 8 that has already given itself a name, not a number: "Philthy Philosophers." I like it!

But, one of our scorecards walked out the door. If you have it, please bring it back on Tuesday.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Opening Day!

Day One of the Spring Semester has arrived, at last. I'm ready to begin sharing the value of philosophy, to talk about what philosophy's for.

Today it's all about introductions, so scroll down to the post of that title and add yours. In class I'll invite you all to introduce yourselves in person by asking two questions: Who are you? Why are you here?

I always post my own thoughts anticipating the day's proceedings at my dawn blog (today's dawn post title, appropriately if redundantly, is the same as this one's). I sometimes follow up with a look back at my day blog. I also tweet, @Osopher, if you want to follow me.

But you don't have to follow me, of course. Or anybody. You're all individuals. I'm looking forward to meeting you shortly!


Monday, January 12, 2015

What is philosophy for?

Smartest bit of wisdom about the love of wisdom here is at 2'50": most good philosophers do not underestimate the value of a good walk.


Let's introduce ourselves, Spring 2015 CoPhilosophy collaborators (I'll tell you in class Tuesday why I call the Intro class "CoPhilosophy").

I invite you all to click on "comment" below, and reply with your own introductions. Tell us who you are, why you're here, and anything else you'd care to share (bearing in mind that this is an open site). Also please include your section number (#8 for the 9:40 class, #12 for 1 pm, or #H1 for 2:40).

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

My office is 300 James Union Building.. Office hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:15-12:45 & by appointment. On nice days, office hours may be outside. (If so, there will be a note on the door.) I answer emails during office hours, but not on weekends. Surest way to get a quick response: call or come in during office hours.

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 Ph.D. is from Vanderbilt. I'm originally from Missouri, near St. Louis. I was indoctrinated as a Cardinals fan in early childhood, so I understand something about religious zeal. 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, as I'm sure to tell you again.)

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

I'm a peripatetic, and will encourage you all to join me in that philosophical lifestyle as often as possible during discussion time. (If you're not sure what peripatetic means, scan the right sidebar. Or ask me. Or look it up.)

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)? 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.) 
Please include your section number (#8 for the 9:40 class, #12 for 1 pm, or #H1 for 2:40).