If you could design your own independent study…

At Pomona, it is very easy to do an independent study.  All it requires is a syllabus of reading and a justification for the study.  I have been thinking about doing one for next semester.  If you could do one on any topic of your choice, what would you pick?

I have a couple of ideas.

1) Richard Rorty:

i) Read his Philosophical Volumes 1-4 (Objectivity, relativism and truth.  Essays on heidegger and others.  Truth and Progress.),

ii)Reread CIS,

iii) Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature,

iv) Deconstruction and Pragmatism (secondary source… really interesting…blog post to come),

v) and finally Rorty and his Critics.

ii) Daniel Dennett.

i) Consciousness explained

ii) The Mind’s I

iii) The Intentional Stance


3) Pragmatism

i) The metaphysical club

ii) Deconstruction and Pragmatism

iii) Volume 1 of Philosophy in the 20th Century: Covers royce, peirce, james dewey, santayana.

Do you have other suggestions?

I think I might want to put off the Rorty independent study until after I take Erickson’s Rorty class… In that class I will read CIS and Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature.  But, I don’t know when it will be offered next, and I don’t know whether it will be easy and elementary or difficult and a necessary context for my independent study.

The Dennett study sounds interesting, but I don’t know which professor I would do it through.

Your thoughts?

3 Responses to If you could design your own independent study…

  1. Ross says:

    I’d do Dennett. Rorty is interesting, but Dennett seems more counterintuitive and more worthy of close study. It also makes more sense if you’re interested in both neuroscience and philosophy.

  2. joeyglick says:

    I also have to consider that I am going to do a study over summer break too, so I guess I could just do both.

    I think I might get sick of Dennett after a little bit though, and I can’t imagine getting sick of Rorty.

    What other philosophy oriented topics might be worth exploring?

  3. Andrew Chesley says:

    We have the exact same thing at Dickinson and I’ve been considering several possibilities, none for next semester though. I was thinking about doing an independent study for both semesters of my Junior year (over half the Junior class goes abroad but because I’m a double major, it’s really hard for me to do that).

    Dennett is the best option up there IMO. You shouldn’t restrict it to him though or else, I agree, you might get bored. I would expand your view to include Hofstadter, specifically Gödel, Escher, Bach and Metamagical Themas. There are also a bunch of articles and books that Dennett cites that I really want to read at some point.

    The Rorty one sounds great as well. On a related not, I’m planning on doing an independent study in experimental economics at some point (I might just do my senior thesis on it), but I might do a semester on Dennett as well.

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