Monday, November 25, 2013

Philosophy course

mary adam christmas card 1 2013Just finished the last quiz in the Introduction to Philosophy course I've been doing, and watched the last lecture earlier today. There's an optional essay as well. I learned a lot from it, including what philosophy is, which (it turns out) is not quite what I had thought. I'm glad I did it, wish I'd done something along those lines years ago. It's like necessary orientation in any field of study. I will take some time to assimilate it. Meanwhile, I've signed up for another Coursera/University of Edinburgh course next year in the Philosophy of Science which was by far the most interesting section for me and I'd like to follow it up (aesthetics was not covered).

I think we had the same professor with steam punk goggles as A.J. Jacobs in the article linked below (from the New York Times, 21/4/13), an opinion on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). My previous experience of online learning in my art degree resembled his in many ways.


The bike shed said...

Sounds brilliant

Philosophy is just brilliant and so misunderstood in the UK - I believe it is standard curriculum in parts of France. The real point is that it teaches you to think in a clear and ordered way - I read a quote recently that was something like, 'think wrongly if you like, but think clearly!' (Maybe that was from you, not sure...)

There are some excellent popular philosophy books and I'd recommend Noel Carroll - Philosophy of Art. There's also quite a nice little book called 'But is it Art' by Cynthia Freeland.


Mary Adam said...

"The real point is that it teaches you to think in a clear and ordered way"

-- Yes! It takes a bit of getting used to and can land up in weird territory. But standing back and considering the options feels so right. It was very basic and short, it could easily be part of a standard curriculum as you say. One regret, I'd like to have learned how to refute sophistry or sophistical arguments, alas that wasn't included. Am looking out for another MOOC.

Thanks for book recs.

The bike shed said...

If you mean by sophistry the use of clever but misleading arguments, then there are a number of ways.

One approach to sophistry is to pay careful attention to the words on which the arguments turn - in many cases we will find there is a double meaning or inherent contradiction.

At a more detailed level the arguments can often be refuted or shown to be trivial by the use of formal logic which breaks down sentences into truth statements and seeks to test their compatibility.

But at an everyday level, we tend to know when we are being deceived even f we can't quite explain why - think conjurers. Best just to ignore!

Mary Adam said...

Yes, clever but false arguments, that's what I meant. It can be maddening especially when the culprit is someone in authority. But I think you're right, probably best to ignore. Thanks Mark.