Monday, October 20th

As we are beginning our exploration into the ways of knowing, we start with sensation.  Today in class, your job is simple:  Research, Plan, and Conduct an experiment that explores ‘how trustworthy are your senses?’  The place to start is to decide what it is you want to prove/test/explore.

You need to conduct a safe experiment that would pass scientific muster.  Here are a few basic ones to start your brain…

During class, you are expected to:

  • determine what you want to know
  • devise a safe experiment to test it
  • conduct the experiment in class (if possible) – utilizing your classmates as subjects
  • record your findings

Tonight you should…

  • write up your conclusions and…
  • be prepared to publish your findings tomorrow in class


this makes you wonder…

If Descartes may have been onto something.  Can our minds be connected?

Make sure you’ve included a careful, critical reading of Descartes in your journal.  In the near future, we will be comparing Descartes to Plato and evaluating whether or not our own view agrees with these philosophers.


An exploration of sensory perception…

begins with questions.  Are the senses trustworthy?   Today’s exploration in class will, hopefully, leave you with wonderings.  From there, where will you go?

Maybe, you want to find examples of you your mind makes sense of what you see.  Or not.  Maybe you’re up for a TED Talk about Optical illusions and how your mind makes meaning from sensory information.  Maybe you want to take a brief quiz to see how you perceive color.  Or, perhaps you want to explore synaesthesia. Or build your own thomotrope.

Perhaps you will explore something outside what is normal for you. Will it be wandering through an accessible translation of the Tao Te Ching?  Translator and thinker Red Pine has written a translation that I find complelling.  If you’d like to know more about him, try out this interview.  As you read the entries, consider which ones resonate with you.  What do they mean?  What do they imply about the way things are?  The validity of sensation? Of reason? Of contemplation?    What do they suggest all learners should do?  What is the path to knowing?