Whooshup Reorganization

To reflect what this blog has become, the format has changed to emphasize the enormous number of useful links to resources we provide. To go to the whooshup blog and conversations about these resources, just scroll to the bottom of the lists of resources!

Monday, March 24, 2008

State of the Blog

Hello Everyone!

Karl here. I just finished a quick cleanup of some of the blog sections. I took a back up first, so if you miss some resource you expected to find, please email me and I will send you what I can. Several sections are gone. The Frappr map is now a link rather than a live Flash program.

For those who are browsing or checking back with our discussion group, there's lots going on that does not necessarily show on the blog. We are having intense and rewarding one- to two-hour discussions in Second Life, often in voice, but sometimes still by texting. There are four or five of us who meet every week, sometimes several times, and we have been able to hold lively, deep, enlightening, challenging talks about many topics having to do with the Dreyfus webcasts, and existentialist philosophy, and related subjects like history, culture, religion, virtual reality, and laundry. Actually the laundry was just thrown in to see if you are awake.

The momentum seems like it will carry into the foreseeable future with a combination of independent study, long-distance friendship, shared resources, and good discussions. Please join us if and when you can!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Avatars Speak

Had a voice discussion in Second Life Sunday afternoon with three avatars, it seemed to go pretty well! Perhaps we should focus on voice in the afternoons, and the chat bar in the evening discussion sessions. Seems that we have been mostly focusing on Heidegger, although also discussing the influence of Kierkegaard. We have been covering a lot of ground, and the online interactions continue to bring out a lot of good ideas. I get the feeling that people are working very hard at home trying to keep up with the material. Having 5 time slots a week has helped bring more people in, and accommodate every ones schedules. Given the nature of the material, I am not sure we would have come as far without the chance to meet in Second Life as we have been!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Why I Attend

I discovered the podcast lectures of Professor Dreyfus about this time last year. Once I started listening I was hooked and quickly listened to all that were available. Like many of you, I was contacted by Karl because I had directed an email to the professor. In my case, it was to let him know how much I appreciated the lectures and to lend my voice to those that were imploring him to podcast the Division II lectures.

I was initially interested in this idea of Karl’s but also a little hesitant. Did I understand the material well enough to talk about it? Would I be in over my head? I also was worried if I would be comfortable in Second Life. Prior to joining this adventure I had never been in a chatroom or posted on a blog. Maybe this wasn’t for me.

But, like many of you, I tried it. What I have found is that through this forum I can really become engaged in a way that I could not when I had listened to the podcasts alone. The interaction I have found in our discussions in Second Life has made this possible. I now find myself listening and reading more closely than I had before. I also get the sense why the sections are so important. They require involved participation by the students. Listening to podcasts alone misses what, I am now coming to see, is that vital element of discussion and interaction.

Last week johnjoe made the argument that Holly Martin did not fit into the category of the naive ethical as cleanly or neatly as the podcast made it out to be. The contention was that though Holly entered the film in this way, he ultimately experienced some growth and towards the end showed some evidence of being a Knight of Resignation in his relationship to Anna. She fielded many questions by me and others and in the end I found her interpretation very plausible and convincing. On my own, listening to the podcast and watching the film, I would not have considered this.

Tonight we talked about how closely related Fear and Trembling seems to be to Division II. How much of what Heidegger was doing in Division II is an attempt to secularize Kierkegaard. In a wide-ranging discussion, Karl made some powerful points about how problematic this is. After this discussion, I will be listening to future podcasts a little differently and be attentive to how they relate to the questions which were raised this evening. Again, without the discussion, this would not have happened.

Like you, I love listening to the lectures. Like you, I spend a lot of time doing it. But I have now come to see the discussions as essential in my effort to really try to understand what I am listening to. That is why I attend. Hope to see all of you there.