As utterly impossible as it may seem, I’m about to embark on a semester, that when complete, will mean I’ve finished half of my college career. While that thought is in and of itself absolutely terrifying, I’m somehow excited to have gotten the semester started, probably due to the awesome classes I’m taking. This past semester I did some deep soul searching, and with the help of family, friends, and lots of stress eaten Oreos, I decided I wanted to pursue a career in academia. Philosophy graduate school is extraordinarily competitive, so to that end I’m taking a few more upper levels this semester to really get my feet wet, and learn from some of the best professors the department has to offer.
1. Introduction to Metaphysics- Yitzhak Melamed
Professor Melamed is one of the younger members in the department, and that comes across in his boundless enthusiasm. Hearing on the first day of class that “philosophers shouldn’t be scared to make radical claims” was music to my ears. A brilliant, brilliant man, this is the first time in a long time that a general metaphysics course is being offered on the undergraduate level, and Professor Melamed is a great choice to teach it. Metaphysics being an area of particular interest to me, I’m super excited for this class.
2. Philosophy and Cognitive Science- Steven Gross
Cognitive Science is an area I know very little about, but I’m still very pumped for this class. I’d met Professor Gross a number of times before the semester and he’s not only an incredibly intelligent individual but a nice, welcoming guy. I’m hoping to get to know him, and his work a little better and also to learn a good deal more about the philosophical implications of Bayesian modeling of cognitive functions.
3. Heidegger’s “Being and Time”, and “Rectify”- Rochelle Tobias
Having taken a class with Professor Tobias last semester (Panorama of German Thought), when I saw she was teaching a course on a philosopher I know very little about, I jumped at the opportunity to register. The design of the class is pretty cool, we’re reading Being and Time, and comparing some of Heidegger’s philosophy there, with a TV series called Rectify. I’d heard a few things about Rectify prior to the course and been intrigued, and now that I’ve binge watched the entire first season, I can highly recommend it. The class has only six students so it should be a fun semester.
4. Undergraduate Philosophy Seminar: Skepticism- Michael Williams
A requirement for every philosophy major, this year’s undergraduate seminar is particularly interesting. Professor Williams, is well known within the department, and from what I’m told, the larger philosophical community for being not only absolutely brilliant, but a clear and engaging lecturer as well. This course, on contemporary skeptical positions covers another area of interest of mine (epistemology) and will be great. Open only to Philosophy majors, it’s nice to have an opportunity to get to know some of the other undergrads in the department.
5. The Existential Drama: Philosophy of the Theatre of the Absurd- Joseph Martin
This class takes me back to my high school theater roots. Having never taken a theater class at Hopkins before, finding the Merrick barn (where most theater class are held) was at once an exciting yet frightening journey. The class itself is awesome, French Existentialism and Absurdism were what initially drew me to philosophy, and to explore these schools of thought in a medium I love is a rare opportunity. Professor Martin, is a noted playwright, novelist and generally awesome guy, so this class will essentially be amazing.
6. Prometheus Editorial Workshop- Kevin Powell
This one credit course focuses on reviewing and editing submissions to Prometheus- the Hopkins Undergraduate Philosophy Journal. This should be a good opportunity to expose myself to more and more philosophical writing which is always a good thing.
7. Kant’s Opus Postumum- Eckart Forster
I’m auditing (read sitting in on) this graduate seminar on one of Kant’s lesser known works taught by perhaps the world’s leading expert on this very text. Since day one, Professor Forster has been recommended to me as an instructor who is very clear, methodical and thorough. Having the opportunity to take a class on this book, with the man who wrote the introduction for, and translated the seminal edition is scary, as is sitting in a room full of graduate students. It’s also the kind of intellectual challenge I came to Hopkins for, so I’m excited and hope not to make a fool out of myself during discussion.
I’m really excited for all of my classes, and stay tuned for updates on how my semester is coming along!