Up@dawn 2.0

Thursday, January 26, 2012


We'll finish Baggini next time.
T 31 Baggini 4-conclusion (Meaning and purpose; Against religion?; Conclusion; Why I’m Not a ChristianFuture of an Illusion (Freud vs. Lewis)

Even though we haven't been using the group structure as a small-discussion platform, let's continue using it to focus our posts & comments. Group 1 gets "meaning and purpose," group 2 "against religion?",  group 3 the Conclusion, group 4 Why I’m Not a Christian, group 5 Future of an Illusion (Freud vs. Lewis).

Please let me know if you want to return to the small-group discussion format, at least occasionally. So far it's seemed that most of us are comfortable speaking in the large circle arrangement, though some may sometimes feel shut out. So a mix might be better for some.

Also, in case you missed my earlier comments:

I just want to put in a word of appreciation: I really admire the respectful and articulate level of discourse you've all been hitting in the course so far, in the classroom and in this space. It's been a real treat reading and listening to your contributions. I'd be inclined to keep this site up and running and maybe even open to the wide world after semester's end, if there's any interest in doing that.
One more thought: the quality of blog posts has been so good, if anyone wants to do a thematically-related series of posts in lieu of a more formal essay for the midterm or final project I'd be fine with that. 
Postscript, following up on part of Thursday's discussion:
One of the many interesting turns in yesterday’s A&P discussion came when someone suggested that it’s presumptuous of nonbelievers to assume the ultimate explanation of life and existence must necessarily be scientific. How do we know we’re not  so low on the evolutionary escalator that all our big categories (including “scientific” and “religious”) won’t eventually be swallowed up by forms of intelligence we can’t begin now to fathom? Perhaps our heated debates about god and cosmology will all be left in the dustbin of natural history. (continues) 
Rachel in A&P the other day read us a quote she found on Julian Baggini’s blog, averring the joint testimony of both modern philosophy and psychology as to the irrelevance and unreliability of feelings in establishing truth. (continues) 
Post-post... My provisional final thoughts on Baggini...


  1. I'm nailing my reformation of protest on the door of separatism and casting my vote in favor of open class discussion as well as continued encouragement to share thoughts, ideas, and essays on the blog.

    I personally enjoy reading and hearing about everyone's thoughts, and, even though I don't always agree, I always learn something.

    Where else can one enjoy a discussion of rainbows, sunsets, gods, and the cosmos.

    1. :) I, too, enjoy both the structure and discourse of this class thus far. I am slightly concerned with the test questions and our posts containing "factual" questions, but as long as we all do the reading, I'm sure no one will fail.

      My vote is to continue large class discussion with the very rare small groups...I still want a few of the small groups for a few reasons; 1. There are a few of us who dominate the discussion (I'm very guilty) 2. This leaves a few people in almost, in some cases total, silence, and 3. Smaller groups usually result in a more focused discussion on one or two topics as opposed to the very enjoyable yet highly erratic large group scenarios wherein 20+ ideas are thrown around and the general discussion shifts by the half-minute.

  2. No one will fail, I'm almost certain. But it will be good if everybody identifies facts, or at least topics, worth knowing as we go along... then each group might select a handful of its "best" factual questions for the exams.

    And I do want to give the more reticent folk an opportunity to speak. So we'll probably do at least a few small-group discussions.