[lit-ideas] Re: Can U Read Kant?

  • From: "Torgeir Fjeld" <phatic@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 13 May 2008 19:42:51 +0100

Just came back from watching the new Las Vegas movie with Cameron Diaz. I
found it pretty funny -- parents watching it along side me found it
mostly not so funny. I believe dad found it loaded with cliches. I
thought it had lots of clever intetextual references.


I remain,

Torgeir Fjeld

----- Original Message -----
From: "John Wager"
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Can U Read Kant?
Date: Tue, 13 May 2008 09:17:59 -0500

Phil Enns wrote:

    . . .The issue for me is not the
    'U' but the reference to Kant.  If, as educators, we are supposed to
    adopt the ways and manners of our students, leaving behind canonical
    texts and big ideas, who cares whether you or 'U' can read Kant?  On
    this account, being able to read Kant would be like being able to read
    Phoenician, both equally pointless in this YouTube 'communication
    environment'.  However, if being able to read Kant is in any way
    worthwhile, which seems to be the implication of the title, then how
    are the recommendations given, new electronic devices and transforming
    universities into YouTube communication environments, relevant to the

  Philosophers and philosophy teachers are a subversive lot! If anybody
  can figure out a way to use
  technology to do something it isn't supposed to do, I'd say it will
  probably be philosophers.  As a
  very crude example, I've been teaching an introductory level online
  ethics class for a few years now,
  and we do indeed read a few short selections from Kant's "Grundlegung" 
  online.  I keep getting
  the same questions from students about the readings, and I keep
  asking students the same questions
  when they come to me saying they don't "get" Kant. So I put those
  questions online, inside the
  reading, and make students stop and think about what they are reading
  WHILE they are reading
  it. Their replies go to my email; every student has to reply to all
  the questions in all the readings. I've
  found that this works much better than asking for replies listed at
  the end of a reading, or on a so-
  called "study guide" that doesn't produce as close a reading as these
  tutorial questions produce.

  If you want to see a slightly earlier version of this, there is still
  a page on the department's public
  website that shows how it works. It's here:


  So yes, reading Kant matters, especially to freshmen community
  college students, and yes, it is
  important to adopt to the "ways and manners of our students" as well.

  "Never attribute to malice that which can be     
  explained by incompetence and ignorance."        
  John Wager                  john.wager1@xxxxxxxxxxx                           
          Lisle, IL, USA

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