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After the first lecture November 14, 2008

Posted by Andy in Idea History, pedagogics, philosophy.
Tags: , , , ,

So the first lecture is now over and I was fairly happy with it. I used this document as my powerpoint (I’ve converted it to a pdf) and lectured from 0915-1200, with two 15 minute breaks.

The students seemed to enjoy the presentation. Since the first part was meant to persuade them all that they all use teleological and deontological ethical judgements of some kind, there was a lot more student participation at that point. And they were model students. However, when I rushed through historical background from Augustine to Kant (I know, I know – this can not be rushed) there was obviously less opportunity to discuss. And that was planned. However, the final part on Kant, which was a lot more philosophical, would have benefitted from further student participation. But I found it really difficult to work out strategies for this without just asking questions I know the answer to.

Presenting that amount of material in so short a time meant introducing a lot of names without really having the opportunity to explain what they were all about. My supervisor suggested that presenting G E Moore’s theories without saying “who he was”, and on the other hand naming Leibniz’s and Spinoza as people (time and place) but without having time to explain what a monad was, was essentially pointless. And I agree.

I used the Big Time Line when doing the history, which did help quite a bit. But I was wary of swapping between the powerpoint and the time line too much. Which meant that I couldn’t always put all the names into perspective. I think I’ll continue to use it when necessary, but will have to learn to use it well.

My supervisor mentioned that at some point I’m going to have to be clearer on the difference between a good action and a good person. Kant’s ethics is as far as I can tell based on their identity (a good action preserves the possibility of being a good/autonomous person capable of further good actions). The most prominent theory that builds on the distinction is presumably virtue ethics. But that wasn’t really mentioned in the textbook or the teaching objectives. Not sure whether I’ll bring it in at some point.

I was satisfied, but teaching for three hours in a row takes it out of you. Next Thursday I do a 3 hour morning and a 3 hour afternoon! We shall see. Now I need to prepare next week: Mill and biblical ethics on Wednesday; Levins/Løgstrup Thursday am; The New Testament Thursday pm.

I’ve also made an appointment to learn about screencasting next Monday, and hopefully read my lecture in on Tuesday. If I’m organised enough, I might even read in one in advance.


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