One of my professors, a nice guy (and you should fear anything that starts out like that), is very obscure when he lectures. I can follow most of it because I have the background to support it. I also know what he is talking about most of the time. However, I can’t believe that other people in the class, especially those that have never taken a philosophy class , can follow.
For example, he was talking about Descartes and cartesianism today in relation to the existential authors (Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Kafka) that we are reading. Instead of explaining the general principles of classic Descartes (or what is well known – so they know something concrete and meaningful about it), he skips to the chase and gives away it’s relevance to the topic, making the others think that that is exactly what he said. I quote him when he said “the body becomes a site of suspicion for Descartes.” When someone says this to a class of maybenewbies, they take that for what it is and not an assessment of Descartes’ theories, I think. My point is that going through the basic “am I in a dream?,” “am I a brain in a vat?,” and “is there an evil genius” would be more helpful. They will see what he means when he asks things like “What is Descartes’ subjective world?” AND MAYBE the professor will stop getting blank looks from the majority of the class.
ALSO, the professor is very obscure in the way he talks. He clearly has a motive for manipulating vocabulary like he does. He wants to make a point. I’ve had him in the past, and he is all about the distinctions of “object” or “res extensa” with “subject” or “res cogitans.” He couldn’t give those things a break in the philosophy of feminism class. I also think it’s an important big point in existentialism, the self and the world, the imagination and the world of extension. I know what he is trying to do. It might even work in a more advanced class. However… he is just being way too obscure.
And my final qualm with him is… I can’t believe he mispelled Nietzsche… The thing is, he wrote it correct the first time. Then he went to erase it to mispell it. It was ridiculous… and I don’t know if the rest of the class noticed that or not.

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