Important dates:

SUBMIT YOUR FINAL PROJECT by email by Monday, 5/9 at 11:59 PM.
SUBMIT YOUR FINAL PORTFOLIO by email by Wednesday, 5/11 at 11:59 PM.

The following is an optional, extra credit assignment.


Add a section to your portfolio (like where “About me” and “What I’ve learned” are) saying “Extra Credit”.  In this section, write a 250-500 word reflection and analysis on the representation of philosophy as you experienced it in your culture(s).

Here are some questions to think about: What ideas about philosophy did you hear growing up?  More recently, when you registered for this course and told people you were going to take a philosophy course, what did the friends you grew up with and/or your family say?  If you’re from somewhere else, what was the place of philosophy in the society you come from, and how do you see it affecting the way you look at philosophy here and now?
This isn’t an interview project, nor is it a research project about “Haitian philosophy,” or “Pakistani philosophy” or “Cape Verdean philosophy”…this is you, reflecting on your memories and experiences of people around you talking about philosophy.
When I evaluate this exercise, I’ll be looking for: clarity of communication; precision of examples and ideas; and depth of analysis and reflection.

Don’t forget: today we meet in E-230, the e-portfolio lab, for peer critique and workshopping of your e-portfolios.

Here are the sign up sheets for presentations.  Your presentation should be a 3-5 minute presentation offering the “highlights” of your e-portfolio, including  but not limited to your final project.  These will be timed.  There will be 3-5 minutes for Q&A after your presentation.  In your presentation, you will use your in-progress e-portfolio to “show and tell” some of your favorite parts of your work from this course.  Your final project should be the featured element of your presentation, but it should not be the entire content of your presentation.

The “don’t steal someone else’s spot” and related rules for conferences apply here.

You are signing up for a day, not for a specific timeslot or order within the day.  In other words, you are signing up to present on April 25, not to present first, or last, or second, or whatever, on April 25.  We will decide the order on each day of the presentations.

Only some spots on each day are open now.  Once those are full on all four days, I will open up the blacked-out spots on each day.  This is to ensure that we have an adequate number of presentations each day.

Please try to arrive to class a few minutes early on the day of your presentation.

VERY IMPORTANT: make sure you use the sign-up sheet appropriate to your section of the course (1:00 PM or 2:30 PM).

1:00 PM

2:30 PM

Here is a link to the interview of Cornel West that we watched a few minutes from today.

There was a question in the 2:30 class about what Cornel West meant when he referenced the blues.  This is an example of blues music, by one of my favorite singers, Bessie Smith, “After You’ve Gone”.  Blues music evolved over time–a slightly later musician was Muddy Waters.  Here’s a recording of his “I can’t be satisfied”  And finally, here is an article by Lewis R. Gordon on the intersections between philosophy and the blues.

Please use this spreadsheet to sign up for your conference for the week beginning April 11.

The same rules apply here as for the previous conference.

These conferences are for problems and support.  When you come to your conference, bring a specific problem you’re encountering in your final project, and we will work on it together.

Now that we’ve worked together to develop some of the tools and sensibilities of philosophy, what should we do as philosophers?  That’s what we’ll be considering this coming week (beginning April 4).

Please read the following two articles.

Excerpts from Utopia by Thomas More

“Intellectuals and Power”: A conversation between two 20th century philosophers

“At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell ‘I have to go to work—as a human being. What do I have to complain of, If I’m going to do what I was born for—the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?’” —Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Frankl video:

For Monday, 3/28 and Wednesday, 3/30,here are the following readings.  I will have hard copies outside my office, hopefully by Wednesday.

Before Monday’s class please read:

Blackburn, Think, Chapter 8; readings on Stoicism (excerpts from Epictetus’ Enchiridion), suffering (Viktor Frankl (please read from “Long after…” on page 58, up to “vegetate as did a majority of the prisoners” on page 81)), grief and death (excerpts from various thinkers)

Before Wednesday’s class please also read:

 Excerpts from “The Needs of the Soul” from The Need for Roots by Simone Weil (1949, trans. 1952) SKIM the whole thing and then choose one or two of the needs Weil identifies to focus your reading attention.

Today, BHCC opened late due to snow.  All conferences scheduled for noon or later will take place as planned.  If you need to change your conference time, that’s OK, just select a different empty timeslot on the spreadsheet and put your name in there.

We do not meet as a class today.  We also do not meet as a class on Wednesday.  Both of these class meetings are canceled in order to make time for conferences.

Don’t forget, your final project proposal is due Friday, by email.

Later today, I’ll post links to the readings for next week, the “How should we live?” readings.  I’ll also have hard copies outside my office, probably by Wednesday.