For the first 6 weeks we'll cover three chapters in Herman's The Cave and the Light each class, spending an hour of class-time on each. The final twenty minutes of each hour will be devoted to discussion, either all together or in pairs. Some of us may choose to emulate Calvin and Hobbes, in roving pairs.
Beginning in week #7 we'll do a pair of Cave & Light chapters each class, plus material to be announced including selections from Gros's Philosophy of Walking.
We may spend the latter portion of our third hour at a happy alternate location, tba.
I'll provide short quizzes on each chapter, posted each Tuesday. You can also pose non-redundant quiz questions, or answer questions posed by classmates.
Write your answers down before class. (We'll allot a few minutes of classtime to finish this, if needed.) We'll go over the answers in class. You can claim a base on the scorecard (to be explained in class) for each correct quiz answer, and for each posted comment, proposed quiz question, discussion question, and link (to a relevant article, website, video etc.), up to a limit of five runs per class. (Four bases equals one run.) So, for instance: if on a given class date you had 10 correct quiz answers and posted a comment and a discussion question, that would be 12 total bases = 3 runs.
If this sounds complicated, it's really not. Be patient, you'll get it. Learning is fun.
Our first quizzes will be trial runs, to give everyone a chance to get the hang of the format and time to acquire and read the Herman text. If you do have the text, be sure to read the prologue (but it won't be quizzed.)
Beginning next week, everyone should post a short (250+ word) essay in reply to the discussion question of your choice before each class. We can spare a few minutes of class-time to work on those as well. We'll all need to sign up as site authors.
ch1-The First Philosopher
1. What was Socrates's "real crime"?
2. The goal of a virtuous life is ____.
3. What did Socrates express with his reference to Asclepius?
4. From what was Plato absent?
- Socrates famously claimed to know nothing, and indicated astonishment at being declared by the Oracle at Delphi the wisest Athenian. His great passion was philosophical conversation and ceaseless questioning of everyone and everything. Is this consistent with Plato's dialogic Socrates, so affirming of Platonic metaphysics and finally so weary of life?
ch2-The Soul of Reason
1. Which pre-Socratics said that everything and nothing change, respectively?
2. What's the modern version of Plato's cave?
3. What (from Plato's perspective) should be our slogan?
4. The final escape from the cave is ____.
- Can you grasp the concept of improvement or amelioration without also imagining the real and prior existence of a fixed standard against which to measure it? Is this the conceit, or the genius, of perfectionism? Are you a perfectionist? If so, do you regret it?
ch3-The Mind of God
1. What relationships did Plato but not Socrates attempt to clarify?
2. What Platonic obsession did Pythagoras provoke?
3. What is revealed, according to Plato, in the material world?
4. What two types of graduates did Plato's Academy train?
- Do we have good reason to believe that mathematics and geometry express a universal cosmic language, the language of nature, or that the same principles governing the natural world also apply to politics and metaphysics?