So fallacious are fallacious

If knowledge and perception are the same, then truth is whatever the individual perceives, and if the individual perceives that this statement is a lie, then it’s not true, and therefore knowledge and perception are not the same.

Context Discussing Protagoras in my Logic course

College Class Ideas

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LITERATURE CS 15 Section 1:

“Talkin About My iGeneration”

The Millennial generation will be fully explored in this course focusing on how art & poetry is fabricated through the Internet and other media technologies. Exercises will include remixing youtube videos to create spontaneous narrative, concocting words for Urban Dictionary, and generating new memes. Every student is expected to create and utilize their own blog and twitter accounts.

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LITERATURE CS 16 Section 2:

“Mona Lisa in the Closet”

I don’t really know what this class will be about. But it sounds awesome.

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LITERATURE CS 8 Section 1:

“A Cough of Kafka”

Using letters as a mode of writing.

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LITERATURE CS 12 Section 5:

“Censorship in Poetry: Behind the Veil”

What does crossing out a word do to a poem? Unfortunately, censorship decisions can hinge on contemporary values of morality, proper literature, and value. This course will focus on didactic theories of “thou-shalt-not write such,” including a private eye examination of famous rough drafts and their revisions due to taboo affairs.

Required Reading

  • Plato’s Republic

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LITERATURE CS 5 Section 1.333:

“The Class That Jumped the Shark”

An Insider Look at troupes, cliches, story patterns, and other tricks of the trade. Although “the cliche” has recieved a negative connotation in today’s scholarship (for good reason!), the art of recycling literary themes, motifs, and patterns remains a useful tool to the useful writer. This course hates to break it to you, but tropes aren’t all bad. And knowing about them doesn’t cheapen the industry.

Required Reading

  • Joseph Campbell’s Hero With a Thousand Faces
  • Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat!
  • TV Tropes

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LITERATURE CS 4 Section 007:

“Plastered with Plath”

Alternative Course Title: Shots to Sylvia, then More Shots!

We’ll get drunk and read our favorite female authors.

Required Reading:

  • Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice
  • Edna Ferber’s So Big
  • Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights
  • Virginia Woolf’sOrlando

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LITERATURE CS 5 AREA 51:

“Writing For Hustler Magazine”

It’s in the course title.

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LITERATURE CS 1 Section 34:

“March of the Witch Hunters”

This course will conduct an inquisitive inquiry into the magical world of witches and wizardry. First, we’ll begin with Medea, who’s nature was “more bestial than Scylla, the Tuscan monster.” Then we’ll examine St. Anthony of the Desert, the Inquisition, the New England Trials of 1690, and folk culture shamanism. Finally, our course will conduct a search for modern-day spell books and attempt its own magical productions. Is witchery trickery or heresy? Illusion or reality? We’ll find out!

Required Reading:

  • Heinrich Institoris’ Malleus Maleficarum
  • Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens
  • Paul Huson’sMastering Witchcraft
  • Dungeons & Dragons’Spellbook Compendium

SBCE Proposal—The Forum, a Traditional Speakeasy

Epicurus and Plato
 
Plato’s Academy imagined education as serving man in one crucial way: in preparing one’s occupation to society. His systematic approach did a lot of things right. Adapting to society is generally advantageous to one’s survival, and an education that helps you learn to adapt is only logical. However, Plato was also missing one crucial aspect of social enculturation – and that’s that society needs life to exist, while life doesn’t need society at all.
 
Where Plato’s Academy was architecture, Epicurus’ s Garden was a landscape. Epicurus, a Greek philosopher who set up his own school outside Athens, came up with an egalitarian philosophy to counter Plato. He believed in learning for the pleasure of knowledge, not as a means to social success. Education could be both robustly intellectual and hedonistically gratifying. Post-modern attempts at re-creating Epicurus’ Garden have been remarkably successful, such as the Universite Populaire in Caen, France. Apparently the contemporary student doesn’t have to be stuck in academic rigor mortis to become stalwart intelligentsia…
 
The Forum, or the Proposal Stage
 
My proposal would be an educational forum dedicated to the Epicurean ideal context for dialogue. This forum would be a free event, open to the entire Santa Barbara proletariat (and aristocracy), and would be delivered from a performance stage far removed from the University campus. The emphasis would be on erudition through passion, and not as compulsory prerequisites to life.
 
The Forum would be split into two parts: a series and a final “lecture symposium.” The Series will be held every Wednesday night at 8 PM at 6504 Madrid Rd, Apt H, Isla Vista, and will discuss dialectic subject material to be determined by inquisitive participants. These meetings will open dialogue on philosophy, psychology, art, and any other subject of concrete or abstract design; backed-up by open discussion of ideas and themes. Basically, this half of The Forum will model Plato’s Academy, with problems posed and contemplated during weekly congregation.
 
The second part of The Forum, during the 8th week of Spring Quarter, will be a symposium, or short lecture series (for a better perspective, look at TED), given by professors, grad students, and undergraduate instructors who have something to contribute that is of great personal interest to them. I imagine the event lasting an hour, with lectures preceding an introduction to The Symposium (delivered by myself) during which I will address the debate more deeply. The Symposium lectures will be timed at about fifteen minutes each, with 5-10 minute “open mics” every three talks, during which audience members can come up on-stage and share something that they enjoy.
 
Examples of topics would be  “neuroplasticity” and how the philosophy of psychology is being revolutionized; or Graphic Novels as Art, not a cheap entertainment; or the knack for mural-making on the sides of houses in Isla Vista. Perhaps Kink University: Fetish Fellowship, our resident Fetish club, will do a lecture on safety in sexual fetishes.
 
The point of The Forum will be to create a “non-academic” event dedicated to the pursuit of instruction and personal learning. We as human beings are curiously mad about the world around us – here’s our opportunity to explore the obscure, to break free from the zeals of convention and discover the avocational, to find passion through intellectual pursuit. Here is our opportunity to unite thousands of years of education systems into the peaceful cohesion of two competing Greek ideologies.

In an effort to keep a lecturer at UCSB, we presented and recited this scroll to the Dean of Creative Studies

 To the Good Queen’s Kingdom of Creative Studies:
Us groundlings have been waiting. We go to class in good faith; we sit on the lawn and watch the trees grow – in good faith. We sit on the OLT benches, burning cigarettes, compose. We wield plastic hammers at the gods of poetry – in good faith. We’re waiting for the CCS trees to scrape the sky, but in the meantime, we’ve learned to read–and we’ve cultivated intellectual fleas that quiz us incessantly as we bathe in the dust. We’ve watched our rags unravel in the scorched late afternoon sun – until now, this moment, when the prayers we never knew we had were answered. All this time we’ve had our ears pressed to the ground, and finally, we heard the news:

THERE IS A VACANCY IN THE CCS FACULTY

Us groundlings have a proposition.

In the name of Love–for knowledge, literature, and the dear and wonderful college as a whole–we express our joy and gratitude to Rob Wallace–a bright new liberating philosophical king of the classroom–and nominate him to fill the void.

Rob is a rare and noble spirit. He is so intent, so solid, so dedicated to the protection and integrity of the mind–as well as that which lies beyond. To Us groundlings, it seems as if many scholars these days have disembodied heads–their love for knowledge is for knowledge alone and serves little purpose in the world. They’re archaeologists so obsessed with cobwebs that they’ve forgotten about the spider which hangs above them.

Rob, on the other hand, is a living musician, and he loves spiders. He strums on cobwebs as ancient as any lyre, and has the ability to bring facts and history back to life. With Wallace, the classroom is not just a classroom—it’s a divine theatre that contains the whole world–past, present, and future. The classroom is an image of eternity where Rob can play Orpheus and we his inspired Cerebus!

Rob Wallace is a priceless treasure. Rob Wallace is an IED, an improvised explosive device, except instead of exploding soldiers and curious children – he implodes our minds with the secrets of the cosmos. Rob Wallace isn’t a spark, he’s the Big Bang. When Rob dies, valkyrie will fight over his corpse. Three days later when Rob brings himself back to life; we will tremble in fear and awe.

And honestly, Rob Wallace, our valiant Dao troubadour, forges struggling artists into struggling heroes. His criticism unites two areas of inquiry that traditionally necessitate each other, that of scholastic euphoria and artistic novelty. With Rob, Art and Academia finally consummate their awkward sexual tension and engage in some serious improvised baby-making.

Nor does Rob consider the production of art to be limited to mercantilism –he treats artistic creativity, awareness, engagement, and transformation as a lifestyle. Rob Wallace utilizes CCS as a platform from which Us Groundlings develop the ability to creatively engage with the world–to think for ourselves, to question what is taken for granted and blindly accepted by many, to wonder what we might do with our lives instead of what we should, to live more fully. In this way, Rob would be MANificent as a CCS professor. From putting on class performances to after-hours film screenings to independent studies courses to his own concerts at the Biko House in IV and Muddy Waters in Santa Barbara – he’s the most dynamic and yet complete creative writing guru we know. 

But we are just simple groundlings. All we can do is say that we love Rob and that he would be a wonderful addition and asset to CCS. Please consider!

Thank you,

Seth J. Miller
Desmond White

Alternative Teaching Model, i.e. Video Games

Under the Prussian Model, schooling becomes a choking prose; the ring of the bell its punctuation.

A Quotation for Consideration

Professor Michael Merzenich, who works at the University of California, San Francisco, said that “our brains are vastly different, in fine detail, from the brains of our ancestors… In each stage of cultural development… the average human had to learn complex new skills and abilities that all involve massive brain change… Each one of us can actually learn an incredible elaborate set of ancestrally developed skills and abilities in our lifetimes, in a sense generating a re-creation of this history of cultural evolution via brain plasticity” (Doidge).

In essence, culture changes the way we think.

Historical Context

Before I propose an alternative teaching method, let’s take a brief look at the education system implemented into schools today. What we have here in the United States is what is called the “Prussian Model of Schooling” which includes mandatory courses, a national grading system, and specific instruction necessities for all students and teachers. This education model dates all the way back to the Kingdom of Prussia and its 18th Century curriculum Volksschule.

When looking at Middle and High school, we find that education has become categorized learning separated by brief bouts of “free period” (typically approximately five minutes in length, as students transition from one classroom to the next). In college we have the same, except these “free periods” continue even longer, at times lasting up to several hours.

However, in this past century we’ve seen the rise of a technological implementation in which we, as human beings, can engage for hours without interruption. That technology? Video games.

Reform, the Proposal Stage

We don’t live in the Pleistocene Age anymore. Nor are we 18th Century Prussians. The Millennials, as we’ve been nick’d by the media, are an impatient and visually-impressed zeitgeist generation. Education as lecturer and pupils encaged inside four classrooms walls is sentimental at best. New blood clamors for a new body and we must deliver. Thus, my application of video games.

Specifically, video games that have been tailored to educate with sequential precision, “play world” architecture, and yet inestimable developments of critical thinking. Games should be capricious enough to avoid proscribed thinking patterns. What we’re looking for is “neuroplastic” stepping stones that allow children to fully articulate internal disorder into both individual and societal remuneration.

That means the consequences of failure will be gentle, while “in-game” rewards will reimburse hard-work with virtual pleasures. Or will they? As this is all theoretical with very little exploration of subject matter, even conceptions of this proposal’s project is limited to preconceived philosophy on video game potential for tutorage.

Source

Doidge, Norman. The Brain That Changes Itself. Penguin Books: New York City, 2007.

I’m teaching a class next year!

LITERATURE CS 15 Section 1:
DECONSTRUCTING DISNEY
Disney and analogous animations are a medium not usually perceived as high art, but are just as applicable for critical analysis. In this colloquium we will perilously engage in deconstructing archetypes, mythological figures, and conflicting ideologies in the Disney “universe.” Disney’s persistent use of adapted story, dead family members, gender roles, race, distorted history, as well as manipulation of visual presentation, music, history, popular culture and subtle sexuality – makes the Disney oeuvre a thing that can be explored by both the childish and cerebral. This colloquium will also explore new methods of telling story when universal brand and a globalized audience must be considered. Writing projects will include critical essays and creative writing within the topic. Students will turn in a portfolio of collected stories, poetry and essays at the end of the quarter. Exploration of other forms of media, like Hanna Barbara, Pixar, or Hayao Miyazaki films, will also be allowed.
 
Note: Student Colloquia are limited to a maximum of Two (2.0) units Pass. Units for this class are lower-division UCSB units.
 
Recommended Reading:
  • Byrne, Eleanor. Deconstructing Disney. Pluto Press: London, 1999.
  • Griffin, Sean. Tinker Belles and Evil Queens. University Press: New York, 2000.
  • Wasko, Janet. Understanding Disney. Blackwell Publishers Ltd: Cambridge, 2001.
Student Instructor:  Desmond White
Faculty Advisor:  Jim Donelan