Have you ever taken a class in Philosophy?

Have you ever taken a class in Philosophy?

  • Yes

    Votes: 37 80.4%
  • No

    Votes: 9 19.6%

  • Total voters
    46
  • Poll closed .
  • #1
Math Is Hard
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Just a quick yes/no poll. But share any other thoughts you would like.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Ivan Seeking
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Yes, and I walked away with a profound appreciation for classical philosophy.
 
  • #3
Borek
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Yes, twice. Both were just called "History of philosophy". First one was boring - it went discussing philosophers one by one. The other was fascinating - it went explaining how the ideas evolved through time. Could be the difference was between lecturers, not the approaches.

It was 30 years ago, I don't remember anything. Or rather if I remember anything, I have no idea I learned it then.
 
  • #4
DanP
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Just a quick yes/no poll. But share any other thoughts you would like.


Hell no. Id shoot myself before the first week is over.
 
  • #5
ZapperZ
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I took 2 classes in philosophy (shock rings through PF!). Both were in philosophy of science/physics, and both were taught by Dan Siegel at UW-Madison, who was a high-energy physicist. That was the major reason that I took those two courses, that they were philosophy of physics courses that were taught by someone who actually knew the physics and not just someone with a superficial knowledge of it.

Zz.
 
  • #6
collinsmark
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Yes. It was mostly how to analyze statements using symbolic logic.
 
  • #7
nismaratwork
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For practical reasons yes, but lord it was painful.
 
  • #8
Jimmy Snyder
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I voted yes, but actually, it was a course in mathematical logic taught by the philosophy dept. Mostly we read and discussed the book "Godel's Proof", by Nagel and Newman.
 
  • #9
lisab
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I took a philosophy of science class. It was a horrible waste of time...and I can't believe it was 5 credits! E&M and QM were each 3 credits!

No correlation at all between the effort it takes to pass, and the number of credits earned.
 
  • #10
humanino
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There are some countries where one cannot begin the university level without taking a philosophy class, and where even decent scientist/engineering schools require to pursue for another couple of years a moderate study of philosophy. It appears to me that the US lacks independent thinking of their citizens. To put it bluntly : there is more to life than eating wings while watching football. Considering the likelihood that someone who did not take such a class would even click on the thread link, I am appalled at some of the comments here. It also explains the very poor level of the so-called "philosophy" section of this forum.
 
  • #11
nismaratwork
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There are some countries where one cannot begin the university level without taking a philosophy class, and where even decent scientist/engineering schools require to pursue for another couple of years a moderate study of philosophy. It appears to me that the US lacks independent thinking of their citizens. To put it bluntly : there is more to life than eating wings while watching football. Considering the likelihood that someone who did not take such a class would even click on the thread link, I am appalled at some of the comments here. It also explains the very poor level of the so-called "philosophy" section of this forum.

I didn't realize you knew where everyone in this thread was from, lived, or was educated. You're amazing!...


...One little problem: I for one certainly didn't relay my deepest feelings here... it's a poll in GD. Get. A. Grip. Mabye PHYSICS Forums is a good place to discuss philosophy, but it's still not a philosophy site... really... it's kind of the opposite.
 
  • #12
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In college I took three courses, one was Existentialism, one Taoism and the last Philosophy of Logic.
 
  • #13
arildno
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I studied philosophy for 1 and a half years at the university, right after I became a student there. Primarily, I studien German Idealism, with main foci Kant&Hegel (with some interspersed readings of Schopenhauer and Fichte).

While getting good grades, I was gradually dissatisfied with the humanities, and to my surprise found out I was delighted by the mental rigour in mathematics.

My youthful rebellion was to AVOID studying the natural sciences, since even my grandmother had studied university level anatomy. It felt suffocating with all those science-minded people around me (engineers, meteorologists, actuarians, biologists and so on ad nauseam..).

Now, I'm glad to say my rebellion ended when it did. :smile:
 
  • #14
GeorginaS
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First and second year university level philosophy and philosophical logic. I tend to be a fan of any material that hones critical thinking skills, teaches you how to think, and guides you w/r/t what to pay attention to.
 
  • #15
humanino
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Mabye PHYSICS Forums is a good place to discuss philosophy, but it's still not a philosophy site... really... it's kind of the opposite.
You did not understand my point. My point was that the general public should at least be familiar with the most basic rudiments. We have a rather educated crowd on PF. It is disappointing to find educated people dismiss philosophy as "a waste of time" or "I would rather shoot myself". How can one expect the general public to recognize the value of philosophy if a significant sample of educated people dismiss it ?

I do actually conceive of one answer. I know of at least one rather talented mathematician who did dismiss philosophy. To clarify, I knew him in school, so I can tell he was a good technician, but since I lost touch with him I can not tell how he did at the research level. In any case, the idea is : since he was gifted in mathematics, he developed a frustration with his failures in philosophy. One can expect this contrast not to occur within the general public, so maybe the small statistical sample here reflects this anomaly.
 
  • #16
Evo
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A person's opinion may be colored by their experience. The Evo Child took philosophy in High School and loved it and her teacher (she thought her teacher was the wisest man on earth). It was her favorite class, it was all she would talk about, he changed her life. She couldn't wait to take philosophy in college, assuming it was going to be on an even higher level. The professor was so bad that she withdrew from the course, she was crushed, I've never seen her so disappointed.

My encounter with philosophy was a waste of time, the teacher obviously didn't understand it. Of course my school had a lot of really bad teachers, but I won't derail the thread.

So let's not tell people they are intellectually deficient if they didn't find the experience enlightening. Perhaps the classes were really bad.
 
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  • #17
turbo
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My very first philosophy course was a critique of a book-in-progress (Meta-ethics) being written by the department head. The course was for grad students and seniors only (I was told) but I talked to the prof and he let me take it for credit, not just audit it. I never had to take an introductory philosophy course after that. I just signed up for any course that I wanted with introductory requirements waived. Philosophy was a blast!
 
  • #18
arildno
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As I wrote, I studied philosophy for some 1 and a half years.

I don't think it was a waste of time, but I did realize that philosophy won't be an abiding passion in me.
 
  • #19
nismaratwork
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You did not understand my point. My point was that the general public should at least be familiar with the most basic rudiments. We have a rather educated crowd on PF. It is disappointing to find educated people dismiss philosophy as "a waste of time" or "I would rather shoot myself". How can one expect the general public to recognize the value of philosophy if a significant sample of educated people dismiss it ?

I do actually conceive of one answer. I know of at least one rather talented mathematician who did dismiss philosophy. To clarify, I knew him in school, so I can tell he was a good technician, but since I lost touch with him I can not tell how he did at the research level. In any case, the idea is : since he was gifted in mathematics, he developed a frustration with his failures in philosophy. One can expect this contrast not to occur within the general public, so maybe the small statistical sample here reflects this anomaly.

Better marketing? More accessible language for the general public? Face it, 'Rel-Phil' has terrible marketing, and no desire to adapt to a modern setting; thus moribund.
 
  • #20
You did not understand my point. My point was that the general public should at least be familiar with the most basic rudiments. We have a rather educated crowd on PF. It is disappointing to find educated people dismiss philosophy as "a waste of time" or "I would rather shoot myself". How can one expect the general public to recognize the value of philosophy if a significant sample of educated people dismiss it ?

I do actually conceive of one answer. I know of at least one rather talented mathematician who did dismiss philosophy. To clarify, I knew him in school, so I can tell he was a good technician, but since I lost touch with him I can not tell how he did at the research level. In any case, the idea is : since he was gifted in mathematics, he developed a frustration with his failures in philosophy. One can expect this contrast not to occur within the general public, so maybe the small statistical sample here reflects this anomaly.

I can't speak to the whole of the non college educated general public only that I am one of them and I for one love reading philosophy, I never took any classes in the subject and I was one of the ones who thought it would be dreadfull, but once I started to discover philosophy I was hooked, atleast to a good number of the schools of thought.
 
  • #21
turbo
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I can't speak to the whole of the non college educated general public only that I am one of them and I for one love reading philosophy, I never took any classes in the subject and I was one of the ones who thought it would be dreadfull, but once I started to discover philosophy I was hooked, atleast to a good number of the schools of thought.
If you haven't read any Kierkegaard yet, you might want to give him a try. Interesting mix of theology, psychology, and philosophy. It helps if you can read his works in their historical context. Without that, you might go "Huh?" a lot.
 
  • #22
nismaratwork
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I can't speak to the whole of the non college educated general public only that I am one of them and I for one love reading philosophy, I never took any classes in the subject and I was one of the ones who thought it would be dreadfull, but once I started to discover philosophy I was hooked, atleast to a good number of the schools of thought.

Of all things, surely philosophy can be autodidactic; it practically seems like a tradition!
 
  • #23
dlgoff
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For me it was "Logic" and "The Philosophy of Science". I remember that the Philosophy of Science course involved one paper. Mine was about refuting Kant using Einsteins theory of relativity. Don't ask me how I did that, but I got a B in the course.
 
  • #24
Ivan Seeking
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Autodidactic? Perhaps, but the same can be said for any subject as long as one doesn't have to take test. By chance [it's a long story] I never had a trigonometry class. I had to learn it on the fly while I was taking my first Calculus class!

It seems that I was extremely lucky. In the classical philosophy class, we mostly focused Aristotle, Plato, Descarte, and Socrates. It was a lot of work, very rewarding, and a life-changing experience. I also took a political philosophy class given by an old 60s radical - he [a white guy] actually rode on the bus with MLK through the South! For obvoius reasons, that class focused on modern political philosophies. It was interesting but not nearly as memorable as the classical stuff, from an academic point of view.

This thread makes me think there is a serious shortage of good philosophy teachers.

As for the difficulty compared to physics and math, well duh! Nothing can match the intellectual rigor of math and physics.
 
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  • #25
Jimmy Snyder
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For me it was "Logic" and "The Philosophy of Science". I remember that the Philosophy of Science course involved one paper. Mine was about refuting Kant using Einsteins theory of relativity. Don't ask me how I did that, but I got a B in the course.
E = Kant
M = Wrong
C = 3 x 10^8
E = MC^2
 
  • #26
dlgoff
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E = Kant
M = Wrong
C = 3 x 10^8
E = MC^2

Dang. I could have saved a lot of time writing that paper. What was I thinking?
 
  • #27
nismaratwork
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Autodidactic? Perhaps, but the same can be said for any subject as long as one doesn't have to take test. By chance [it's a long story] I never had a trigonometry class. I had to learn it on the fly while I was taking my first Calculus class!

It seems that I was extremely lucky. In the classical philosophy class, we mostly focused Aristotle, Plato, Descarte, and Socrates. It was a lot of work, very rewarding, and a life-changing experience. I also took a political philosophy class given by an old 60s radical - he [a white guy] actually rode on the bus with MLK through the South! For obvoius reasons, that class focused on modern political philosophies. It was interesting but not nearly as memorable as the classical stuff, from an academic point of view.

This thread makes me think there is a serious shortage of good philosophy teachers.

As for the difficulty compared to physics and math, well duh! Nothing can match the intellectual rigor of math and physics.

You could, but for someone to teach themselves professional-level QM (applied chemistry, teaching, etc...) from the ground up (post avg high-school) would be astonishingly rare. I would also question the capacity of say... the Navajo Chanting Ways to be "autodidactic". There are things that, by evolution of complexity, or by design, are very hard to learn by yourself, and other subjects are amenable to self-study. Beyond that, some subjects DEMAND self-teaching, so... it's a complex issue that would be hard to make a definitive statement about.

On the other hand, impressive that you taught yourself trig! People are capable of amazing feats, there's no doubt about that.
 
  • #28
DanP
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On the other hand, impressive that you taught yourself trig! People are capable of amazing feats, there's no doubt about that.

There is the story of John Moffat, a painter exposing in Paris, who had no undergraduate degree, corresponded with Einstein, then he was admitted to Imperial College in London (or Trinity College Cambridge, I have no idea really) for a PhD based on his original work in physics. It;s the only man who I know did that and never had any formal education in physics.
 
  • #29
Jimmy Snyder
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It;s the only man who I know did that and never had any formal education in physics.
Faraday is another.

Edit: I should say, Faraday was a successful physicist who never had a formal education in Physics. Since Moffat had a PhD, he did have a formal education. There was a guy who worked with Hubble too, but I can't recall his name.

Edit 2: Milton Humason.
 
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  • #30
nismaratwork
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There is the story of John Moffat, a painter exposing in Paris, who had no undergraduate degree, corresponded with Einstein, then he was admitted to Imperial College in London (or Trinity College Cambridge, I have no idea really) for a PhD based on his original work in physics. It;s the only man who I know did that and never had any formal education in physics.

That's pretty damned impressive!
 
  • #31
nismaratwork
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Faraday is another.

Edit: I should say, Faraday was a successful physicist who never had a formal education in Physics. Since Moffat had a PhD, he did have a formal education. There was a guy who worked with Hubble too, but I can't recall his name.

I was going to say, Faraday, from Wikipedia (emphasis mine)
Wikipedia said:
Faraday was born in Newington Butts,[8] now part of the London Borough of Southwark; but then a suburban part of Surrey, one mile south of London Bridge.[9] His family was not well off. His father, James, was a member of the Glassite sect of Christianity. James Faraday moved his wife and two children to London during the winter of 1790-1 from Outhgill in Westmorland, where he had been an apprentice to the village blacksmith.[10] Michael was born the autumn of that year. The young Michael Faraday, the third of four children, having only the most basic of school educations, had to largely educate himself.[11] At fourteen he became apprenticed to a local bookbinder and bookseller George Riebau in Blandford St[12] and, during his seven-year apprenticeship, he read many books, including Isaac Watts' The Improvement of the Mind, and he enthusiastically implemented the principles and suggestions that it contained. He developed an interest in science, especially in electricity. In particular, he was inspired by the book Conversations on Chemistry by Jane Marcet.[13]

At the age of twenty, in 1812, at the end of his apprenticeship, Faraday attended lectures by the eminent English chemist Humphry Davy of the Royal Institution and Royal Society, and John Tatum, founder of the City Philosophical Society. Many tickets for these lectures were given to Faraday by William Dance (one of the founders of the Royal Philharmonic Society). Afterwards, Faraday sent Davy a three hundred page book based on notes taken during the lectures. Davy's reply was immediate, kind, and favourable. When Davy damaged his eyesight in an accident with nitrogen trichloride, he decided to employ Faraday as a secretary. When John Payne, one of the Royal Institution's assistants, was sacked, Sir Humphry Davy was asked to find a replacement. He appointed Faraday as Chemical Assistant at the Royal Institution on 1 March 1813 .[2]
 
  • #32
Jimmy Snyder
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I don't think Newton had an education in physics either.
 
  • #33
Jimmy Snyder
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Benjamin Franklin too.
 
  • #34
Ivan Seeking
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You could, but for someone to teach themselves professional-level QM (applied chemistry, teaching, etc...) from the ground up (post avg high-school) would be astonishingly rare. I would also question the capacity of say... the Navajo Chanting Ways to be "autodidactic". There are things that, by evolution of complexity, or by design, are very hard to learn by yourself, and other subjects are amenable to self-study. Beyond that, some subjects DEMAND self-teaching, so... it's a complex issue that would be hard to make a definitive statement about.

On the other hand, impressive that you taught yourself trig! People are capable of amazing feats, there's no doubt about that.


Trig is probably the easiest subject in math to self-learn. I was lucky that this was the only math deficit from high school. [btw, the record showed I had taken it, but it was records error caused by a change in schools during my junior year of hs]

My point was that while a person can study any subject on their own, there is no way to know if they are "getting it", or if they are limited to a superficial understanding of the subject. Without guidance and testing, there is no way to determine the quality of the education received.

In QM esp, I often read the chapter and thought I undestood it, only to discover that I had no idea how to even start the first homework problem. Without the homework problems, I would have believed I understood the material when I didn't. Philosophy has the same problem. One can read books without truly understanding the subject. In fact, this is true of most subjects. I know I got a lot more from my history of England class than I would have by simply reading the book. I had a great teacher who made it an experience, rather than just a class.
 
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  • #35
nismaratwork
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Trig is probably the easiest subject in math to self-learn. I was lucky that this was the only math deficit from high school. [btw, the record showed I had taken it, but it was records error caused by a change in schools during my junior year of hs]

My point was that while a person can study any subject on their own, there is no way to know if they are "getting it", or if they are limited to a superficial understanding of the subject. Without guidance and testing, there is no way to determine the quality of the education received.

In QM esp, I often read the chapter and thought I undestood it, only to discover that I had no idea how to even start the first homework problem. Without the homework problems, I would have believed I understood the material when I didn't. Philosophy has the same problem. One can read books without truly understanding the subject. In fact, this is true of most subjects. I know I got a lot more from my history of England class than I would have by simply reading the book. I had a great teacher who made it an experience, rather than just a class.

I agree completely.
 

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