18 September, 2008

Philosophy Colloquium

More or less on the side I'm taking a one credit philosophy colloquium this semester. It's quite a bit of fun, and a good way to get in some extra philosophy wihtout doing something insane like taking 18 credits...instead of only 17...

Anyway, it's a pretty cool format: each Friday there's an hour long lecture led by a different Philosophy professor. There's no set theme to all the classes, so students can come to whatever lectures they want to if they're not signed up for the class. If you are signed up, you basically just have to come and then write three short reflective essays throughout the semester.

So far we've had three classes, all of which have been interesting. The first dealt in a very inventive manner with the question (so pressing nowadays) of whether objective reality (or truth, or definitions, or whatever you prefer to call it)should take precedence over subjective experience. As the professor put it "if my favorite ice cream flavour is strawberry, but I get the strawberry flavour only when I eat the mint chocolate chip ice cream, which is really my favorite?" I'm sure you can imagine how amusing and fascinating that discussion was, especially considering that he never explained his point in any terms other than the above ice cream metaphor and people seemed to have a really hard time realizing that he was talking about something so pertinent at all.

The next was on identity vs. existence - does it matter more that something exists as a seperate object in its own right, or that it is in some sense the same as other individual objects of the same type? (An example would be three identical copies of St. Augustine's Confessions; it would be absurd to say that two people reading different copies hadn't read the same book).

That's all I really have to say right now. It's not very interesting, unfortunately, when all I do is write "ooohhh, this certain thing was oh so interesting buuuuuut... I don't have time to elaborate". Oh well. I really ought to work on writing an essay for afore-discussed class, so I'm signing off for a noble purpose.

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