Good to the last drop

Gave the last CoPhi finals of 2011, after one last round of presentations: Hannah on karma, Nick on abiding “Dudeism,” and Amanda on philosophy and coffee.

Amanda cited my favorite James quote on the subject: “A cup of strong coffee at the proper moment will entirely overturn for the time a man’s view of life.”  There’s a growing literature in the field of java studies. We’d already noted Uncommon Grounds a few weeks ago, in connection with Jennifer Hecht’s discussion of the Enlightenment (A festival of reason). As Steven Johnson knows, a cup is where a lot of good ideas come from. Amanda told us about Coffee: Grounds for Debate, which includes essays like “The Unexamined Cup is Not Worth Drinking,” “The Karma of Waking Up,” and “The Bean and the Golden Mean”.

Editors Austin and Parker write that

philosophy benefits from coffee, which sharpens attention and can heighten creativity… a philosopher is a machine that turns coffee into theories.

Well, that’s not so flattering. But “the concerns of philosophy demand our attention,” and I love the advice to “use your coffee time for paying attention to the world.” My experience is not just what I agree to attend to, it’s  what I’m actually awake for. And like the semester just concluded, it’s good to the last drop. It’s good just before a walk or a workout too.

Now, I must attend to grading.


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