General Discussion: Introduction to Philosophy

  • @knachel Wow, it’s excellent that you have already drafted some material we could use. And I agree with @geoslack on including some basics on informal logic in intro courses. I do that too. So I’d be happy to have that included.

  • @geoslack I’m not sure there will be entire chapters on different ethical theories, but really, that’s a decision to be made in connection with whomever is editing the ethics section (and with the consideration of mirroring the level of detail within the other sections).

    We don’t have a section planned on the philosophy of mind, but could do so, if you’d be willing to write something for that or possibly serve as general editor for it. There are already a number of people listed in a post above who said they could work on ethics.

    Being a section editor doesn’t really require any experience, I think; heck, I don’t have any experience being a general editor either. It just means that one is responsible and on top of things, and makes sure those who said they were going to write something actually write something. It also means connecting with the general editor (me) to ensure some kind of consistency among the different sections in terms of length, overall approach, etc.

    I guessed you might know @robinderosa1 and @scottarobison!

  • To anyone who couldn’t find them in the list of messages above, or to new people: here are two google docs that might be of use.

    1. A general development document with a list of things to do:

    2. A plan of action, including Table of Contents, on which we could take notes about specific sections:

    3. A spreadsheet with a Table of Contents and a list of people interested in the project:

    Please put these in a folder on Google Drive so you can easily find them again!

  • @clhendricksbc Yes that sounds great! I’d be happy to contribute something on philosophy of mind. This could be an account of some basic positions on the mind/body problem and a discussion of the possibility of thinking machines. I’m not sure where it would end up going in the overall structure of the text – it could go under metaphysics, or perhaps be a stand alone section. I guess we’ll see how that shakes out and what exactly will end up in the metaphysics section. Is there any sense of that yet?

  • @geoslack Glad you could make it to the event. Sounds like Mary Lou was good as usual. And glad Robin passed on the info for this!

  • Sorry for taking a while to respond. I agree with @drrobertfarrow that illustrations might be helpful in conveying some concepts, but I think they should be accompanied with a fair bit of exposition. If we are going to use illustrations, I think that, like the text, they should be similar (if not unified) in style. For what it’s worth, here’s an example of what can be produced fairly quickly:
    I think it’s obvious that, while the pictorial representation can aid the student in forming a conception of the subject, a more thorough treatment would be necessary to both underscore the differences between property dualism and monism, as well as to illuminate various flavors of the latter.

    I also think it would be worthwhile to preface every chapter (and also the entire book) with a general discussion of what’s to come. As for the articles themselves, I think one viable approach is to do continuous reviewing - meaning that someone would pre-write a basic structure of a chapter, then it would be open to amendments and discussion, upon which the author would make more changes for the next review, and so on. This would avoid a situation in which someone commits to a very specific structure of a chapter only then to be faced with requests for additions and rearrangements that ultimately render the original version unrecognizable. But I am fine with working either way.

    PS Are we going to do philosophy of science?
    PPS @clhendricksbc, my master’s dissertation fits into philosophy of mind, so you can add me to the philosophy of mind contributor group.

  • administrators

    @unfalsify said in [PHIL] Introduction to Philosophy [lead: Christina Hendricks, UBC]:

    PS Are we going to do philosophy of science?

    As a general principle (though I will let @clhendricksbc answer definitively), this Intro to Phil should be able, over time to:
    a) grow to accommodate new sections
    b) allow a prof to select a subset of sections to create a tailored “Intro” for their needs.

    So, (again, deferring to @clhendricksbc) I would say that that there would be a place for Phil of Science, though where it sits in the priority list is another question!

  • Hi everyone!
    I hope it’s not too late to jump in on the band-wagon, but I stumbled into the proposal for this project a few days ago and would really like to participate.
    I have a BSc. in Combined Honours Physics and Astronomy from UBC, but I’ve entertained a healthy passion for philosophy my whole life. I am mostly interested in the philosophy of science and what I deem to be the metaphysical connection between mathematical abstractions and concrete physical phenomena.

    I am glad to contribute as necessary, but I would very much like the section on ‘metaphysics’ to be well-informed in what contemporary physics thinks on the matter – i.e. causality, interpretations of quantum mechanics and so on.

    Cheers to everyone and looking forward to hear from you all!

  • Hi @sebastian.higherlearning, and welcome! Nice to see a fellow UBC person here! It’s definitely not too late and there are multiple ways to contribute to the project. I will put you on our list of interested people as someone who is interested in philosophy of science and metaphysics.

  • administrators

    Hello all, I’ve just gotten off a great call with @clhendricksbc, where we’ve developed together an approach for moving this project forward. This is based in part on work we are doing with a project not dissimilar to this one, The History of Technology., where we have broken the project into small chunks/sections, and focused on completing these small chunks “one at a time.” (The approach is laid out in some more detail in this blog post, “If We All Chip In, the Effort Will Be Minimal and the Benefits Great”).

    Proposed approach to the Open Intro to Philosophy

    Here is a a breakdown of a proposed approach for Intro to Philosophy:

    • Identify volunteer section editors for (only) 2 sections (to start)
    • Ask those 2 section editors to break their section into 5(+ or -) subsections, ie make a mini table of contents for that section
    • Agree on a rough desired length of each subsection (in the History project outlined above, each section should be ~1000 words … I am not sure if that is an appropriate length for )
    • Once the above is done, we ask our current contributors (you!) to take on a subsection, and/or make more pointed requests for collaboration from the broader Philosophy community.
    • We (ie Rebus) can help each section editor find more contributors if necessary
    • And the section editor will (ideally) be responsible for making sure their contributors contribute (with support of course from Rebus) …
    • And once these 2 sections are off to the races, we can start focusing on the next 2 or 3 sections we wish to complete.
    • When completed, these sections can be “published”, which we believe will help people see what we are doing, and, we hope, will encourage others to join us

    NOTE: we can be pursing more than 2 sections at once, but this approach allows us to focus our efforts on completing a manageable chunk of work.

    How does all that sound?

  • So, along the lines of what @hugh posted today, I’m contacting people who had suggested they might be willing to be section editors.

    According to what I wrote down on our spreadsheet list of people (go to the tab at the bottom called “people”), @cliftows would consider being a section editor for aesthetics, and @geoslack for either aesthetics or ethics.

    So I’m now formally asking if you two would be willing to be section editors. I can say that Hugh and others at Rebus are completely committed to helping out in any way they can, as am I! I would work with the two of you to get started, to decide on some common guidelines like approximate length of each subsection or chapter, to find contributors, etc.

    What do you say?

  • @clhendricksbc I’m in, though I have just begun a new semester, so I am not sure what the timeline will be or whether I will be able to make the expected progress according to the timeline. But I suppose that can be worked out.

  • @cliftows That’s excellent! Our timeline is our own, though ideally we’d like to have at least one section relatively soon rather than in a year from now. I will find your email address online and we can start working with @hugh and/or others from Rebus on next steps.

    We will document what we’re doing as we’re doing it, but I don’t think we need to burden this whole forum with all our messages about specifics!

  • A question for this group: In talking with @cliftows, a question came up for me. We had talked a bit about including some primary readings where possible (e.g., public domain or CC licensed) as well as writing chapters ourselves.

    But this could mean that some parts of the book could have primary readings and others not, because some parts may be more historically oriented and others not so much (the former might have more public domain readings available, e.g.). Or it might mean that there are some primary readings but only for things before the 19th century, so then the rest of a section on, say, aesthetics has no primary readings b/c it’s about things after the 19th century.

    Any thoughts on the best approach here? Should we focus more on this being a textbook without embedded readings but with introductory text about such readings? Or should we include some, recognizing that this means the book will be a bit unbalanced with some sections having them and others not?

    Or, other ideas/thoughts?

  • @geoslack I’m here doing another push to see if you might be willing to be a section editor for either ethics or philosophy of mind. Please see Hugh’s last post, above, for what we’re thinking in terms of what section editors might do.

    We’re now thinking the easiest way to get this whole thing really started, after we’ve talked about a number of things on this group, is to focus in on a couple of sections and work out what we’re going to do by working on those. We’ve got @cliftows for aesthetics and I thought you had expressed possible willingness to be a section editor for ethics or philosophy of mind.

    Let me also put this out to everyone else–if you’re willing to consider being a section editor for something, please let me know! I might come knocking at your door about this anyway…

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