Meet the future of Philosophy and Humanities...
Below are pictures of previous students slipping into their introductory course to Western Philosophy and Humanities.
Philosophy is not about arguments, debates, and the caricature of cranky professors - not by a long shot! Philosophy is the key to unlocking the shackles that smother your curiosity, your wonderment, and your sense of self. Philosophy is not just a subject you learn. Rather, it's a lifestyle of wonderful, insatiable curiosity that will, if you let it, alter your way of being in the world.
Meet Sara Clodfelter
Here I am, not at a public library, but in my own library at my house in our very own Philosophy section (complete with a bust of Plato himself, bought in Athens! courtesy of my in-laws). The book I'm holding is Freewill by Sam Harris. I just finished reading through it (again) today because this week's topic is freewill. I love everything I've read by Sam Harris and we have a solid collection of his other works. They are not pictured here because we very frequently loan out our books to people, so the philosophy section of our library pictured here is not complete because our "library patrons" (friends) have "checked out" (borrowed) some of our favorites! The book I want to point out as my favorite philosophy book is not one that is typically (ever) found in the philosophy section. I am choosing to point out Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows because there is a quote from that book that comes to mind near daily in reference to my philosophical beliefs about the existence of a god. Aside from being the greatest contribution to the literature of my lifetime, the Harry Potter series is chocked full of philosophical value. I can't stress enough how annoyed I am by the American version of the first book being titled The Sorcerer's Stone instead of the original, English version: The Philosopher's Stone.
I digress... The quote was made by Hermione Granger and goes like this, "But that's - I'm sorry, but that's completely ridiculous! How can I possibly prove that it doesn't exist? Do you expect me to get hold of all the pebbles in the world and test them? I mean, you could claim that anything's real if the only basis for believing in it is that nobody's proved it doesn't exist!"
Of course, all seven Harry Potter books have valuable quotes, but this is the one that sticks with me and reminds me most of my own philosophical journey through my beliefs.
Meet Amanda Reznickcheck
Every college course I take, my son feels impelled to learn with me. This course especially tugged at his heart being only 8 he is trying to figure out life's greatest answers. So imagine our surprise when he accompanied me for this assignment, and look what we found! The book is not as complex as the ones we read, but without having a basic knowledge of philosophy it still asks the questions, we as adults are searching to understand. I chose the picture of the chicken and the egg, because oddly enough, that was the first chapter, in this book. The title is (Chicken or Egg, and how do we know). It goes about answering the questions using biblical information and states that the chicken was created first. The most interesting chapter was the last, keeping in mind that the book had only four chapters. The title of chapter four was (Would You if you could). The chapter went on to read the decisions that children make, and why do they make those decisions. Are children only doing what they are told to do or is there a subconscious that is put on mankind and his/her mind and heart, that God planned and we do not know about. This book led to endless questions from my son Christian, and now I have to take him back this Saturday to read more books on Philosophy.
Meet Shatika McDonald
I was unable to get to the public library so I went to my home library. What Does It All Mean, is a very good book. I have enjoyed reading this book this term. This is a nice starter book for anyone that is interested in philosophy. This book breaks everything down into simple terms so it is easily understood.
Meet Keeli Abney
In the philosophy section of library I stumbled upon the book titled, "Evolution and The Big Questions: Sex, Race, Religion, and Other Matters," by David N. Stamos. I found this book interesting because I have always been curious if how we have evolved as a human race has determined things such as racial issues and gender roles. I also have questioned if evolution could explain how God created the world and everything in it. After completing this philosophy course I have discovered I can consider myself as an agnostic. Everyone had always reffered to me as an atheist but I myself believed in a higher being of some sort, so I knew that wasn't what I was, I just question pretty much everything in life. I thought this book would be a good read because I enjoy learning about religion itself and how it's evolved because I feel it encourages me to learn more about myself. I also think, as a feminist, that if us as beings had evolved differently, the "woman" wouldn't be seen as so dependent when compared to a man. I like learning about socialism as well so this seemed like a good read for me personally to invest some time in to form some conclusions of my own about how evolution relates to how modern society itself is set up and how as a civilization operate and functionalize today.
Socrates comes to life!
During our Summer term, students had the option of taking a written Final Exam or take the Final Exam orally along with a presentation of their favorite topic. Ms. Doe, an artist in her own right, presented the Greek Senate with Socrates taking center stage. She concluded, Socrates had no choice but stand by his word and drink the poison and the Senate had no choice but put him to death. Ms. Doe then successfully displayed how Socrates words, ideas, and concepts have reverberated throughout time. Awesome Work!
Meet William Matthews
Due to my curiosity being piqued in this class, I recently ordered two philosophy books on Amazon. The first book is by Oxford University Philosophy Professor Anthony Kenny, it is called A New History of Western Philosophy. It covers historical and philosophical topics from ancient times until the end of the 20th century. I bought this book so I would have something that could help me develop some sense of perspective on the evolution of Western philosophical thought. It provides me with both a timeline and basic explanations of different schools of thought. The second book is entitled:"Newton's Philosophy of Nature" by Sir Issac Newton. I have always been fascinated with Newton, but always as a scientist, and not so much as a philosopher. However, some of the things we've covered in class have made me want to take a look at his metaphysical outlook (his foundations of science and so forth). Thanks... William Matthews.
Meet Juanita Smith
The reason I choose Plato's Phaedo is because it was one of the first books I ever read that introduced me to Philosophy. It also contains the first extended discussion of the Theory of Forms and Plato's final moments of Socrates' final hours and his compelling myth about the fate of the soul after death. I always find this book every few months and read it as I spend a lot of time in the library. This class has expanded my philosophy knowledge.
Meet Tera Murphy
I visited my local library philosophy section for the Explore the Library project. The book I choose to take a closer look at was Mediations by Marcus Aurelius. The first thing that came to mind when I saw the name Marcus Aurelius was the movie Gladiator. I remembered that Marcus Aurelius was the ill emperor in the movie that was the wise mentor for the main character Maximus. Marcus Aurelius was Roman Emperor from 161 AD to 180 AD. I find it really interesting the Marcus Aurelius was both an emperor and a philosopher. The book Mediations was actually a journal that Marcus wrote to himself with various notes that he wrote to help remember ideas and use as a self-guide.
Marcus Aurelius was a stoic philosopher. Stoic philosophers generally believed you should recognize what you can control and not stress over what you cannot control. This idea helped all people from all walks of life in Rome handle their stress and anger because they set realistic expectations and did not allow themselves to get so upset when things that they could not control did not go their way.
The book Meditations is broken down into 12 books which are more like chapters. Book 1 is notes that Marcus made explaining lessons that he learned from various family members and friends and the gods. The remaining eleven chapters are collections of thoughts, questions, and quotes that Marcus has noted for himself. The general themes repeated are the importance in philosophy, stop worrying what other people think and do, the soul, nature, and death. One quote I really like by Marcus Aurelius is "you have to assemble your life yourself - action by action. And be satisfied if each one achieves its goal, as far as it can." I think it's good to remember that even if you don't reach your goal, you should be satisfied with what you have achieved when you have made it as far as you could. I think we let ourselves get too disappointed when we set a goal and then are unable to achieve it and instead of looking at how far we have come, we immediately look at the situation as a failure and not value what we have achieved. I really enjoyed some of the ideas in this book. Marcus Aurelius has some pretty amazing quotes and ideas.