Monday, February 14, 2005

Phil Me With Osophy!

As the title suggests, the time between the last post and this one has been overwhelmingly philosophical in nature. Which, by my standards, is an invariably positive situation. The main reason for this philosophic theme has been the Metaphysics essay I've been diligently working on over the past few days. It's not due until a week from next Thursday, but as I have another essay due that week as well, plans to go out of town the preceeding weekend, and no clue what the expectations are in this country and how they might differ from those to which I'm accustomed, I figured getting the thing done early would be a highly beneficial accomplishment.

So, much of my spare time has been spent in reading for and pondering the essay (which is on George Berkeley's theory of empirical idealism (the theory that matter doesn't exist, all that really exists are minds and ideas, and that what we call material objects are really just ideas in the mind of God) and why it presents just as skeptical a picture of reality as does materialism). All yesterday I locked myself in my room to read commentaries on Berkeley's theory and type up my essay, my only glimpses of the outside world consisting of periodic glances out the window to admire the fantastic and ever-changing sky through my window (and a two-hour respite in the evening for some student-produced musical stylings in the Meeting House). At the end of the day I had 2800 words of a 2000 word essay. So this evening (after a lovely, relaxing morning of church, lunch, a GLORIOUS walk through Stamner Park, and a cup of tea) was spent cutting and reorganizing the essay to fit the limit. Which it now just about does. So now I just have to find someone who knows how they grade ("mark") these things and get them to read through it for me and make sure it's ok.

But that's only the tip of the philosophical (and metaphorical) iceburg. In addition, there was a Skeptics Anonymous discussion of reincarnation which continued over into a nearby cafe and a conversation on free will's requirement of a supernatural aspect of reality. I also attended this week's meeting of the Philosophy Society, which was on the qualities inherent to an Infinite Being. And there was the Friday discussion group on the meaning of the verse "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through me" (which is, admittedly, veering over into theology), and of course, the meeting of my Metaphysics seminar on Thursday afternoon.

I even went to see a theatrical production at the Arts Centre on campus which was arguably philosophical in nature. It was called Disembodied, by the David Glass Ensemble, and was one of those "darned modern productions" you hear so many complaints about by the more conventional theatregoers of today, with no discernable plot, periodic interludes of music and disjointed sound effects, a public restroom as a central location, bits of the set constantly falling to pieces, stylistic movements, and frequent repetition. But it was cleverly done, the physicality was fantastic (the main actor had extensive training in mime and dance), and there was a post-show discussion that cleared up a lot of the ambiguities. So overall, it was a pretty interesting experience.

But perhaps the most exciting development in my philosophical activities was the formation of a plan to go to London next Friday to hear Hilary Putnam (one of the most famous philosophers of our time, as I can only assume you're aware) speak on The Epistemology of Just Warfare. I'll be accompanied by a fellow student of philosophy, another American in my Metaphysics class, and one of the few (sometimes the only), besides myself who regularly contributes to class discussion. We'll be taking the megabus, which is cheaper than the train but takes longer and is less frequent, meaning that we'll actually end up arriving in London a few hours before the talk and staying in town a few hours after it's done, providing time for some exploration around town, which should be really fun. Quite looking forward to that excursion.

The weather gets ever warmer, the days longer, and the first daffodils peeked out their golden curious heads this morning. I hope spring is similarly revealing itself in your own locality, and I wish you a victorious Valentines Day. A bientot!


Blogger Knightley said...

Our daffodils here in Northwest Washington have also come out--very, very early. Winter only lasted about five weeks, including precisely no snow-days from school.

12:32 AM  

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