Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


Plans for Monday

Greetings, Philosophy 12 folks,

I’m writing you this note from some 30,000 feet above the Gulf of Mexico with the hope that our class objectives for Monday aren’t stuck somewhere between a Caribbean vacation and Coquitlam with me. You might have heard about a plane skidding off the runway at JFK airport this morning, causing the closure of the airport for two hours, and then only partial service throughout the rest of the day. Waiting on a plane coming from New York to retrieve me from Barbados this afternoon, I left the island this evening long after initially intended. At some point tonight (Sunday), I will be arriving at JFK airport in New York hours after my connecting flight to Vancouver has departed, and will hopefully be back on the west coast some time Monday. [Update: we did indeed arrive too late for our flight from New York and are waiting to see about catching a standby flight on Monday night.]

Rest assured, those “extra” Caribbean hours were hardly wonderful, as I had already put on long pants and (gasp) socks for the first time in two weeks. As of 9pm this evening, it has been a decidedly sweaty and exhausting day.

Somewhere, the world’s smallest violin plays a mournful tune.

Regardless, I hope you’ve had a restful winter holiday, wherever you spent it, and are ready for our next three weeks of philosophy, where we’ll conclude our Aesthetics study, look toward a final unit in Social / Political Philosophy, and wrap up with final presentations. We will speak more about how these topics and activities will unfold once I’m back in our neck of the woods, but I have an outline for Monday’s class that I hope will help us move forward with our final matters in Aesthetics expediently.

If memory serves, I believe Aidan volunteered to lead class tomorrow (and this was just on the prediction that I would be jet-lagged, but still present…). Hopefully he is still up to the task of moderating tomorrow’s proceedings in my absence (and with the help of a TOC), but there is no reason the whole undertaking can’t take the form of a collaborative class discussion and synthesis of ideas that will guide you in the next few days.

What needs to be determined is the nature of the culminating Aesthetics assignment. If you recall, the group had broadly come to the consensus that each of us would undertake the vacation goal of having an Aesthetic Experience. Now (mostly) returned from our various adventures, the idea is to reflect upon and integrate these experiences within the contexts created by our initial readings in the unit prior to the break.

Beyond these broad strokes, and a few of the points outlined below, I would like each of you to consider your individual work thus far in the course:

    • Where do you feel you have been successful in class activities or assignments?
    • Which units or assignments would you like to have improved?

In considering these two questions, and looking ahead at a final presentation which summarizes your intellectual and academic growth throughout the semester, consider how you would like to present your individual learning about Aesthetics.

Discuss these options with the people sitting in your group tomorrow morning.  Brainstorm possibilities for sharing a brief anecdote of your aesthetic experience, and a summary of critical thoughts and reflections on what you have come to think the experience means.

As ever, and as Julie pointed out some time ago, my concern is not so much what you create as it is what you have learned. For Tuesday’s class, I would like to be briefed on what you have come up with in the way of shaping this assignment to allow everyone to share their aesthetic learning in a manner that challenges them and enriches our collective learning. This assignment will be an individual effort.

To that end, there are some questions that need to be answered in class Monday:

  • What is its timeline?
    • Likely, this should wrap up by this Friday, or Monday at the latest.
  • What can / should the final product consist of?
    • What questions, details, ideas or responses to the topic should be covered?
  • How should it be evaluated?
    • Rubric, peer comments, Self-Evaluation, Stars and Wishes as an oral activity?

Once again, I hope you all are restored after the break, and I’m looking forward to our January philosophizing! Thank you for your patience and in taking tomorrow’s tasks on while I work my way west.

See you all Tuesday,

Mr. J


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