The posting on our new “CoPhilosophy” blog of brief bios and thoughts on the question of what philosophy is, and to what extent each of ours has been influenced by others, is going well. Most intriguing so far, under the subject heading “William’s Thoughts,” a post containing literally nothing at all. My posted comment in reply to William:
I’ll bet your favorite philosophy book is “Being & Nothingness”… your favorite philosophical question “Why is there something rather than nothing?” But as one wit said to a colleague who posed the question: “If there was nothing you’d still complain.”
We’ll work on getting you some thoughts, and a public identity.
Reminds me of Gertrude Stein’s alleged empty exam, turned in to Professor James. “I’m sorry,” she supposedly wrote, “but today I do not feel like writing a philosophical essay.” His legendary and I hope not apocryphal reply: “Dear Ms. Stein, I often feel that way myself.” Her grade? A
Sometimes I sits & thinks, & sometimes I just sits.
NOTE TO STUDENTS: Next time before we get into groups, I’ll answer your questions about the course and the syllabus… so please read all of it before class, and identify any sources of confusion. When we break into groups you’ll each select a leader (or your first leader, if you decide to rotate the job), discuss your posted responses and whatever anyone has to say about Listening is an Act of Love and the value of listening respectfully to one another. If you’ve not read the book, take a look at the StoryCorps website or the Google books version and find a story that speaks to you. Try to formulate a discussion question about it, and share it with your group-mates. Browse the podcasts by category. Don’t miss Nashvillian Hector Black‘s amazing account of his daughter’s murder, especially if you doubt the transformative power of listening.
Something else very cool you’ll find at the StoryCorps site: animations, like this one of legendary storyteller and listener Studs Terkel:
I’ll circulate from group to group, to help everybody get comfortable with this format.
Isn’t this fun so far?
Postscript. William wasn’t being ironic, self-deprecating, or modest after all. He just couldn’t figure out how to post his thoughts. Now he has. Guess he’s not a Sartrean after all.
Post-PS. NOTE TO STUDENTS: A student asks, of a class he says he’s going to have to miss, “Is there any way that I could get any missed notes from class online?” You can always check my posts here, and your classmates’ posts on “CoPhilosophy.”