Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Philosophise with him, dude"

I recently completed a short introductory course on philosophy through DACE which I really enjoyed. The course covered epistemology and metaphilosophy using Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy as the main text, along with an introduction to logic and how to (de)construct an argument.

It was nice to read Descartes' arguments first hand (well, translated, so second hand, really, or maybe one-and-a-half-hand) but for me, the best thing about the course was after we had settled in and people started getting comfortable with each other, and became willing to challenge both Descartes and each other. Having ideas bouncing backwards and forwards being argued and getting different points of view was very stimulating.

I'm now looking forward to the second part of the course, next term, covering philosophy of politics and ethics, but I don't think I would take it any further. I enjoy the mental stimulation of discussion and reading, but I have a horror of essays (hey, I was a science student!). I do sort of wish that we had got some philosophy at school (when I was somewhat inured to the essays) that encouraged critical thinking, although part of me thinks that I probably wouldn't have got as much out of it then, when I didn't appreciated learning as much as I do now. On the other hand, something would have stuck and I feel it would have probably made me a more rounded individual (and I would have quite happily dropped art and music to make room for it in the curriculum).

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