Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Formal logic and reasoning...or some such stuff

I haven't written much about the class I'm taking this semester other than to say that it is challenging. It's a Philosophy course, "Formal Logic and Reasoning," which sounded "reasonable" when I registered for it. It satisfies the Math/Reasoning requirement of my liberal education plan without me having to take Calculus or some other unspeakable, unthinkable math class. As I mentioned in a previous post, please keep in mind that I haven't had a math course since high school--nearly 28 years ago. And I didn't do that well it the subject then. So, the Formal Logic course sounded a little more palatable.

In a nutshell, I was mistaken. It's a form of calculus slyly cloaked in a deceptive cover of philosophical jargon. Grrrr! When my former boss, who is a physicist and incredily intelligent, told me upon finding out what class I was taking that Formal Logic had been his favorite class, I was certain that I was doomed. Yikes! But thankfully, I was wrong about that also. While I do have to work very hard in this class, it's not quite the castrophe that I imagined. I'm actually doing fairly well in the course and--hold onto your hats--I'm enjoying it. Whodathunkit, right?

Having a professor who genuinely wants everyone in the class to not only understand the material but enjoy the learning process has made the difference. I'm convinced that had I gotten a different instructor, one with less enthusiasm or patience for teaching a complicated subject to non-philosophy majors, one whose idea of teaching is just a monotone lecture and a directive to memorize the material, one who's actual teaching gets sidetracked by their own ideological opinions, that I would be struggling. I've had a couple of those latter instructors, and it's not been pleasant.

So, to Professor Yesh and other wonderful, dedicated, supportive, enthusiastic, and effective teachers out there, I thank you! To the rest of the teachers who don't fit that description--and I believe most of you know who you are--perhaps it's time to re-think your profession. Maybe sooner rather than later.

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