February 2012

Week Four: Smith & Marx
By Lee Trepanier on February 08, 2012

 This week we went over selected writings of Smith’s and Marx’s in order to highlight the differences between capitalism and communism. The students seem more receptive to Smith’s idea than Marx’s because Smith paints a portrait that is more practical and realistic to them when compared to Marx. That is, although they are sympathetic to Marx’s goals, the students do not think they can be achieved practically. Economic equality is an admirable goal, but how do you actually achieve it was the reoccurring question for the students when we looked at Marx. Rather than false consciousness, I would attribute this attitude to the practical nature of Americans as well as to their common sense.

Week Five: Review Drafts
By Lee Trepanier on February 15, 2012

This week I meet with the students individually to review the drafts of their essays in lieu of meeting together as a class. Although it is time consuming and probably more work, I find this method more effective in ultimately producing better essays: students are forced to write a draft of their essays and then revise it after I critique them. My suspicion is that students haven’t developed the habits of revising their essays with the end result a mediocre essay. Hopefully by forcing students to meet with me with their drafts, they will start to realize that the “first cut” is often a poor essay.

Week Six: Aristotle
By Lee Trepanier on February 21, 2012

This week we went over selected excerpts of Aristotle’s Politics and Ethics. I was surprised how well the students took to Aristotle’s idea, especially the central role that virtue plays in his ethical and political thought. Although they complained that Aristotle doesn’t “get to the point” in his writings, they were receptive to his ideas of human nature and politics. In this sense, students seem to have an instinctive reflex for traditional morality in spite of the popular culture. I found it both refreshing and reassuring.

Kirk and Bradford Resource Lists
By Jeffrey Dennis Pearce on February 22, 2012

For those interested, I have created two links resource pages:

http://ghostly-kirk.weebly.com/, a page dedicated to the ghostly fiction of Russell Kirk, and

http://mel-bradford.weebly.com/, a page dedicated to the life and work of Mel Bradford.

Neither page is meant to be exhaustive, but they are meant to assist interested searchers by gathering many scattered links into two convenient locations. Though the pages presently have a lot of links on them, they are always works in progress, and will continue to grow in length.

Thank you,
Jeffrey Dennis Pearce

Week Seven: Rawls
By Lee Trepanier on February 24, 2012

 This week we went over Rawls, which the students found difficult to understand but ultimately agreed with his argument probably because the end result is so familiar to them. The students have reached a point in the semester where they are familiar with each other and their political perspectives, so there is a nice exchange of ideas transpiring in the classroom. Interestingly, I find most of the students to be libertarian in their politics, although they may not know it themselves. I have noticed this trend recently, and I haven’t been able to figure out why this has been the case.

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