A quick summation of this class so far for me would be: I have no idea what I’m doing. The types of learning and thinking this class has introduced to me are quite unfamiliar. For example, the “Talk with me” paper, the stereotype of the lone thinker is debunked in the context of philosophy, saying instead that philosophy, at it’s core, is a social activity and should be treated as such. For me, I had always thought of philosophy as something that was done in your own mind, and to some degree, I still do. Of course, discussing opinions and coming to some kind of agreement or understanding is completely necessary in a debate setting, but when I’m presented with many new ideas at once I need time to process. I cannot develop a fully fleshed out argument or opinion on the spot, I need time to think about the information I’ve been presented and make my own conclusions from it before I can delve into the debating scene. This is in contrast with the principle that for philosophic discussion to occur there must be at least some dissent. I disagree somewhat, as I feel that time alone is needed to digest information and really find where one stands on a certain point, but I also agree that one can only get so far by shutting one’s self in and delving into your own mind. I also disagree with the point that dissent is always valuable, even if the dissenter is partly, or even completely wrong in their opinion. The point that dissent is needed to move away from repeated dogma can be true in many cases, however, are the people dissenting not also usually the people preaching dogma? Those who dislike change and will stick to their beliefs no matter how society is changing can be problematic as they can hinder society, as a whole, from moving in a positive direction. So, in some cases dissent is not only not valuable, but actually prevents progress.
On a more personal note, when this assignment was being discussed I was extremely confused and a little overwhelmed. It was only discussed in vague terms, which I’m not at all used to when it comes to school projects. Then, when the class met in room 111 (The couch room, my favourite classroom in the school without doubt) it was said that we were going to make the criteria. Here’s a little snapshot of what I was thinking: “????????¿¿¿¿¿¿¿¿?¿?¿?¿?¿” In what class, on this earth, does the class get a say in the criteria? Apparently, the answer is this one. Of course, this sent my academic and structure focused mind into a complete panic. I can’t deal with the amount of responsibility that no criteria, or very little criteria, implies. It’s like, if you put me in an infinite field with no boundaries I would probably just ball up into fetal position and lay there in wait of rescue, I just wouldn’t know what to do with myself. I personally need limits to an assignment to be successful in it because it’s easier for me to be creative in a set margin, which sounds extremely contradictory I know. Also, in terms of the mindset that this class introduces, I feel like I have too much of a “scientific” mind to approach philosophy. To me, if I can’t measure it or define it, then what’s the point of discussing it? That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but that’s kind of the gist of my thinking.
As a whole, I think the first part of this course for me will be largely discovering more about and improving/changing myself before I can really get into big discussions. However, that doesn’t mean that I just won’t participate and will sit in my chair with my perfect eyebrows furrowed in thought, I will still do my best to get involved in discussions as much as I can, and besides, arguing with people has always been a strength of mine. So, in conclusion, do I now have kind of an idea of what I’m doing? Yes and no. Maybe. I don’t know. We’ll see.