Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Spring Semester

I'm back at McDaniel now. If all goes well, this should be my second-to-last semester of school. I've started both of the classes in which I'm taking. On Monday (and tomorrow) I have Greek Myth and History. It's not really a course on mythology per se but rather the relationship of mythology to history. Dr. Evergates makes it no surprise that her history courses contain a pretty heavy amount of coursework (for example, our final papers for her class have to be a minimum of 20 pages) but I'm glad she does this, knowing how colleges these days are notorious for grade inflation. Apollonius and Thucydides are two of the writers we're going to read, although she promised she'd assign us some Homer.

The class I had today was Minds and Machines with Dr. Bradley. It touches on metaphysics and some philosophy of science, nothing like any other course I've taken before. First day of class he introduced the questions: what does it mean to have a mind?; Is the mind something we have, or is it something that one does? One of the students brought up the fact that ownership or possession implies that whatever you own can be lost, and you can't exactly "lose" your mind, since the actual loss of your mind would imply that you die. It reminds me very much of online debates over whether one "owns" him/herself or simply "is" him/herself. It also reminds me of some of the things Dr. Jakoby told us during the first days of her Magic and Mysticism class last semester: the concept of the mind being completely separate from the body is very much ingrained in Western philosophical thought (it comes from Plato) while other cultures believe that the mind and the body (and in some cases, the soul) are a single unit.

Tomorrow I have to go talk to Leahy and go over the projects we're doing both this semester and for a few weeks in the summer. I still have a lot I need to do.

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