Brief debriefing

Wed 07 May 2008 09:55 AM

Yesterday was the last day of class, and so it was time for the usual debriefing. I asked slightly different questions in 17th&18th c. Philosophy than last year, so I can't compare numbers directly. Considering favorite and lease favorite material with respect to philosophical content, the results were these:

yay boo

Descartes 4 5

Locke 5 2

Berkeley 3 10

Hume 7 3

Kant 4 1

Even moreso than last year, even students who find Berkeley engaging and interesting tend to be boo about his philosophy. I am surprised by the dearth of Kant haters, but they appear in a moment.

We also ended up discussing philosophical style, and so I had them indicate which text they found the most enjoyable (least unpleasant) to read and which they found most unpleasant (least enjoyable). Most enjoyable is a tossup between the texts not written by Kant, least enjoyable is a transcendental landslide:

yay boo

Descartes' Meditations 7 -

Locke's Essay (selections) 4 -

Berkeley's Principles 5 1

Hume's Enquiry 6 1

Kant's Critique (abridged) - 23

In my Theory of Knowledge class, I ended with a lightweight question: If you had to summarize the course on a t-shirt, what would it say? Answers tended toward what would make a funny shirt, rather than toward what would convey wisdom. For example:

"I've always had a soft spot in my heart for evil demons."

"ARE YOU SURE IT'S A BARN? (and not a cleverly disguised mule?)"

"You won't know what knowledge is, but you'll know what it's not."

"Knowledge: It's not just for brains-in-vats anymore."

In a similar vein, some students volunteered mottoes for bumper stickers:

"In fake barn country, beliefs in the vehicle are not justified."

"My other car is Nogot's Ford."

Now the only thing between me and a summerful of research is reams of grading.