Tyson Cut Back to Part-Time

I have news! Gleefully wonderful news! I won’t be posting nearly as much as in the past (which you have likely already noticed) — because I’ll be teaching an evenng Philosophy course.

The class is at Anne Arundel Community College, starting January 26th. I am hurridly cobbling together my syllabus and making plans to both excite and torment my students’ minds…

I’ll still blog, but not nearly as often. Brain will pick up some slack, and perhaps Roger as well. 

For now, some questions:

  • For those of you who took Philosophy in college, what did you like best — and least?
  • For those who did not take it, what do you fantasize such a class would be like?

Thanks for any insights you can share…


9 Responses

  1. i liked questions that still make me think.

    one day my professor came in and told us that years ago he’d been in an awful accident and as a result had a brain transplant so that he had his body but someone else’s brain and asked us if we thought he was living his life or the life of the person who’s thoughts, memories, and electrical responses he really had…turns out it was just a mind boggling question and he hadn’t ever been the recipient of someone else’s brain. every once in a while i like to sit and tackle that question. i’m still stumped to be honest.

  2. Oooooo… i might use that one! Tx Megs…

  3. Fantastic news! I loved my philosophy class; it inspired me to keep reading.

    Megan, what a neat question. I love thought experiments like that.

    I think the best thing a good philosophy course does is to equip people with tools to push their thinking forward. Good philosophy is about exploration, examining and questioning what we think we know, and learning how to untangle our thoughts. It’s more about a method than a set of answers; philosophers disagree about the most fundamental things, and I think good philosophy teaching shows people how to get in the game, construct good arguments and carry their end of the conversation, rather than herding people to foregone conclusions. I don’t think it’s as much about what people conclude, as how they get there: can they argue for it? Can they anticipate objections? Do they know what William James called the ‘cash value’ of adhering to a particular argument — every argument we make has strengths and weaknesses; there are no knock-down arguments, you always have to give something up to hold something else.

    I have an acquaintance who also teaches philosophy at a community college. He has a signature line which I love, and which I keep in mind when I teach:

    “I have the questions for all of your answers”

  4. Ty, is it a general survey course, or focusing on a particular area?

  5. It’s general, “Introduction to Philosophy,” and I seem to have a remarkable amount choice in what I teach…

  6. Sounds fun, especially since you plan to ‘excite and torment’ people’s minds . . . I hope some of your class’s discussions will find their way to this blog. My best wishes to you for a great class!

  7. One way or another, I’m sure they will, thanks!

  8. I like daniel dennett in the way that he keeps close to what science can tell us. I read the following story somewhere concerning his education at Harvard.

    When dennett started his education he got into a student group which discussed philosophy outside of class. This particular time the subject were the phenomena of arms “falling asleep”. While everyone else thought in terms of the mind experience Dennett pointed out that there may be physiological arguments to this. He were meet with puzzled gazes.

    In other word, it should be challenging to the mind, but be sure to bring the practical aspect to the table as well.

  9. Well done on landing the teaching role – sounds like great fun. I did a whole three years of Philosophy and loved it – especially ethics (eg. consequentialism [hiss, boo] vs deontology [hurrah!]), and the maddeningly insurmountable problems around the endurance of personal identity. Plus anything on human nature and the nature of a Good Life…

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