Plato, Self-Inquiry and Romance
Shorter Version Published in the Humanist
Magazine, 1-1-11.

Plato, Self-Inquiry and Romance

Think about the “story” of your life.  If you are like most people, the plot line will revolve around the ecstatic peaks and crushing lows of your love life—from the intoxication of love found to the hangover of love lost.  These intense romantic feelings are so appealing that even when they lead us to agonizing and crushing disappointments, we often proclaim that we are the better for having had them.  As the saying goes, it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Thinking Critically About Critical Thinking
Many teachers say that students these days lack critical thinking skills. Yet many of these same students are
highly critical of these same teachers. In this essay I explore this contradiction.

How to Survive and Prosper in the Upcoming Paradigm Shift
or Why Nothing Works...and What You Can Do About It

A few years ago I had the idea of holding my philosophy classes in a Tipi. Almost all of my students thought it was a great idea, yet almost all of my colleagues thought it was a terrible idea. Why this difference between student and teacher? In this essay I speculate that there is a highly limited "academic world view" that teachers inhabit and students avoid.

Philosophy, Childhood, and Depth Psychology
This essay is an attempt to add depth and texture to philosophy—the depth of childhood and the texture of depth psychology.

Our Class Grading System
Thomas Aquinas says that the reason we study philosophy is not to learn the opinions of philosophers but to grasp the truth of the way things are. Similarly, grades measure something beyond themselves; they are not themselves the thing measured. Here I articulate my understanding of the truth of grades.

Christmas and Cramming
Except for the fact that students do a lot of cramming right before Christmas vacation, Christmas and cramming would seem to have little to do with one another.  On a deeper level, however, there is a connection.

Forrest Gump, the OJ Simpson trial, and the Collapse of the World as we Know 
The world as we know it is collapsing. Why is this? Is it because intelligence is unrelated to goodness? Is it because the increasing numbers of people who have strong opinions that are not based on investigation are increasingly dismissive of the people who do investigate? And what does any of this have to do with a Hollywood movie and a murder trial?

My Philosophy of Teaching
Everyone agrees that something isn't quite right in the classroom. What if it isn't the fact that students are lazy and incurious that is the problem? What if the problem is the fact that students are being profoundly morally betrayed?

Psychoanalysis and The Freeway
A new highway is going to be built in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Horrible. But how does the highway feel about this?

Why Creationism is bad for Religion
In terms of the assumptions of everyday American life, being "for" creationism and "against" evolution is thought to be an expression of religious devotion.  In this brief essay I use some of Sir Karl Popper’s ideas to show why creationism is bad for religion. 

A Declaration Of Independence as well as
a Manifesto in Progress for the Mont Alto Arts Project

A few years ago some of us on campus started an arts project. I volunteered to write a manifesto. It starts with an artist's "declaration of independence" (based on the original) and proceeds to five principles of art inspired by Ruskin and William Morris. (I lived for ten years in Bibury, the village in Gloucestershire that William Morris once called the most beautiful in all of England).

Thoughts on Holding a Philosophy Class
I often write letters to all the students in my classes. I found this one while updating my website. I am not sure if any of the students in the class I wrote it to bothered to read it. I rather liked it, however, and so I decided to post it here. 

 

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