Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring '11 student survey

What course(s) would you like to see offered at MTSU next Spring, or eventually? Click "reply" and rank your preferences, if any. Please indicate your current student status. (MTSU Students: pass this along to any of your peers you think might be interested in commenting.)

__ Native Wisdom and Environmental Responsibility. Environmental ethics course with an indigenous (esp. Native American) emphasis. What can we learn from traditional cultures about our relation to the land, the planet, and other forms of life? And what are the limits of "tribal" ethics?

__ Experimental Philosophy. The new "X-Phi" movement is really not new, American philosophy has always emphasized experimentalism. Empiricism has always sought "data." But maybe its time has come again?

__ Facts & Values. Is it really true, as David Hume said, that you can't get an "ought" from an "is"? Was Sam Harris right in his recent TED Talk and his forthcoming book to oppose that view? What are the implications of a thoroughly naturalized ethics?

__ Experience. How much deference do we owe to other persons' experience when it differs from, or even contradicts, our own? What kind(s) of pluralism should we defend and practice? We'll look at James's Varieties of Religious Experience, Sagan's Varieties of Scientific Experience, and Emerson's famous essay "Experience," among other sources.

__ [Your suggestion(s) here].


Anonymous said...

Facts & Values

Rebekah H said...

Sorry it's late, won't help for that meeting this afternoon.... but I'm intrigued by "Experience" and "Experimental Philosophy." There is certainly a conception that philosophers sit around and think all day, rather than posing actual problems and solutions. Is that one of the things involved in Experimental v. Empiricist?

Phil said...

"X-phi" definitely is an effort to get philosophers up out of their armchairs and into the hard data of actual research. We'll inevitably find our way back to the armchair, but when we get there we'll have something tangible to ponder.

"Experience" raises the question: can subjective events-- presumptively beyond the reach of objective inquiry-- rationally settle questions of belief and conduct?

Thanks to all who replied privately. Your thoughtful responses will be taken to heart.

It's looking like Environmental Ethics will be offered again next Spring, with a twist of Native Wisdom. But I'm committed to bringing the issues & perspectives raised by "X-phi," "experience," & "Facts & Values" into my classes-- whatever they're called.

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