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!

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.


foundrysmith said...

I think you summarized it pretty well. It is easy for me to go off on personal tangents, and the group discussions put some focus and raise questions that I wouldn’t have considered otherwise. Also, one is compelled to try to come up with some coherent arguments and questions to share with the others in the Second Life setting. I am not sure if I would be studying as hard if I was just casually listening to the pod casts - it would be all to easy to move onto something else! But listening, reading, and then writing and discussing the pod casts more or less forces one to become more intimate with the material.

I recently picked up a book by Robert Solomon, “From Hegel to Existentialism”. In it he relates the story of the meeting of Gilbert Ryle and Merleau-Ponty at a conference. “Aren’t we after the same thing?” asked M-P, to which Ryle replied “I hope not!” Although that might be true for giants, as we are trying to see a long way by standing upon their shoulders, I think we are after the same thing, and so far the experiment in Second Life seems to be working.

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