July 11, 2022
Return of the Written Journal
When I was a very young undergrad at Manatee Community College, I took a philosophy course with Herbert Frith. A major assignment of his course was a weekly journal: he provided the prompts and we responded to them in 350 words or so. They were generally ethical questions that you might encounter in the game Scruples, like do the ends justify the means, does might make right, etc. For example:
|“||Gorgias asserted that objective perception is impossible. Socrates agreed that it is highly unlikely, but claimed that through knowledge of the self, through knowing where we individually are most likely to distort data, we can come ever closer to perceiving what is truth. With this in mind, what are your subjectivities, biases, prejudices, tastes, etc.? Which have the greatest possibility of distorting your perceptions?||”|
I very much enjoyed these mini writings and did very well. These journal posts were kept in a spiral notebook; the prompt would be pasted at the beginning of a post and we would trade journal at the beginning of class and grade each other’s responses. Not only were these thought flexors, but also allowed us to practice writing. I plan to do something similar in my 1101 class this fall.
Instead of general philosophical questions, these journals will respond to weekly readings. I have begun to make a list of essays; I will assign one a week to be read and responded to for Monday’s class. I figure we can do 10–12 of these. Their four essays will be based on any of their journal responses.
. . .
- Baldwin, James (1955). "Notes of a Native Son". Notes of a Native Son. Boston: Beacon Press. pp. 87–115.
- Sagan, Carl (April 1996). "Does Truth Matter? Science, Pseudoscience, and Civilization". Skeptical Inquirer. 20 (2): 28–34.
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