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02/02/2015

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Alan, that intro course sounds really interesting. Would you be willing to share a syllabus (here or by email)? I wonder if I taught one of your articles on teaching intro as single subject about a decade ago when, at FSU, I taught a course to the grad students on teaching philosophy. I look forward to your posts.

And I encourage people to check out your Philosophy Songs on your website!

Thanks so much Eddy. Martin Benjamin generously used my Teaching Philosophy articles in his Michigan State seminar on teaching philosophy (which traveled as well to many campuses) for several years. (What an inspiration he was; listening to him was about as close to Socrates as I ever got!)

I'd be glad to email my syllabus to you or anyone--just click on my B&W smugshot above (generously and mercifully replaced by Thomas for one that made me look like Wittgenstein looking for a poker) and there's a mailto you can use on my UW bio page. I'll warn you that my syllabus is not day-to-day, and only contains a thumbnail curriculum and a justificatory bibliography. If there is sufficient interest in how the curriculum works in my course, I might take time to set it out in detail here on Flickers. I do have an incomplete text to go with the course, but honestly more than half of what I do is still only in my head. (Several years ago I compiled a complete audio MP3 record of an entire course (except for a neat determinism-is-not-fatalism presentation that I love--I forgot the recorder that day), but that would be way too tedious for anyone to endure, and my classes evolve semester-to-semester anyway.) If you follow what I talk about here this month, at least you'll get a strong sense of the major moves of the class, except for the zombies stuff late in the month. But I'll say this much about the general sequence for it:

(1) The practical place of FW in traditions of Western (US) law and how those have radically changed recently.

(2) Determinism (as plausibly reflected in matters of mental illness) as a threat to FWa (incompatibilism).

(3) The dilemma of determinism as (a) an interesting problem and (b) a conceptual management tool for the FWx problem.

(4) The positions on FWx via FWa incompatibilism, FWb compatibilism, and FWx skepticism and exemplary philosophers for each.

(5) How the various positions would work out in laws that took the various positions seriously.

I warn my students this is not an easy course, and though it may well be more difficult than my upper-division classes and lots of students frankly are not up to it, I have gotten much more positive feedback than negative over the years. Quite a few former students were inspired to go on into law, including one that I hired to do my divorce a few years ago!

And yeah, I've done satiric parodies about philosophy since the late 70s, including my latest last year about PFOs. It's almost a compulsion--maybe why I'm interested in FW!

Alan, your intro course sounds very interesting. I may give something like that a try very soon. BTW, I enjoyed reading your bio (the one Thomas posted). As someone who teaches a 5/5 load I can relate!

Looking forward to your posts and nervous that I need to follow you.

Gregg thank you so much. No one, but no one here on Flickers does such an incredible job of juggling teaching with lots of impressive professional work. If I had a hat, I'd be tipping it!

Alan, what a great idea for an intro course. I may try a similar model in the future! Thanks for sharing.

That's way too kind Alan. I tip my hat right back at ya!

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