Monday, June 21, 2021

perhaps a useful tool for those of you returning to teach this coming fall

 I've used the Intelecom Examined Life series for at least a decade of my teaching, going even so far as to create fill-in-the-blank and study question worksheets corresponding with some of my most used episodes, for example "Is Reason the Source of Knowledge?" on rationalism or "Does Knowledge Depend on Experience?" on empiricism. There's a range of subjects covered by various episodes, even episodes on hermeneutics, phenomenology, and existentialism for all of you who may teach those courses or those subjects in a course. But, it's all there: aesthetics, various moral theories, political theory, social philosophy, you name it. Whether you show these in class, or assign them as homework on-campus or online as I have done, they are very, very helpful in allowing students see and hear someone other than you pitch the concepts you are going over and it gives more visual or auditory learners the chance to go over things according to their own personal learning styles.

Despite it being dated now by about 25 years I still use it. Students from time to time complain that it is "so '90s," which is fine with me, but of course if there is some better or more recent series out there like this please absolutely do email me because I would love to know. But for now this is the most comprehensive and best I could find. There are of course newer single episode philosophical videos created, for example I enjoy The School of Life videos on YouTube and Then & Now on YouTube - those are the two which immediately come to mind, but as far as lengthier treatments of these subjects, this is the series you want. 

As regards any philosophy videos on YouTube that you like: be sure to download them immediately to your home archive of teaching materials as you never know when they'll disappear. Don't rely on them remaining on YouTube forever not necessarily due to the whim and fancy of those who've posted them, but because YouTube is ridiculously and at this point stupidly censorious. I found this out when I saw that some of the very good philosophically and historically based philosophy videos on say Heidegger, or even in some cases on Nietzsche, were flagged as requiring sign-in to watch or simply removed for being flagged as "hate."  This is disturbing considering that the videos I am referring to were professionally produced, in two cases by the BBC production company. So we aren't talking home-made videos here. And by the way, I should let you know that some philosophy departments are removing Heidegger, and now Nietzsche too, from their syllabi. You can ask yourself whether you support that.

Ok, back to the point of this post! I would like to tell you that the Intelecom YouTube page has up for free selections from this DVD series which may be helpful for you to use in the teaching of your classes. As the series itself is exorbitantly priced in the thousand dollar plus range (I borrowed the set from my school's library and, um, made sure I would have access to them on my PC with burned DVDs so that I could show them or watch them whenever), having free excerpts up like this might be useful for you if you can't get the DVDs at your own school's library or through inter-library loan. Plus, things like this are just good to have in your teaching arsenal if you need them, I think at least.

The excerpts range from two or three minutes long to ten to twelve minutes long and are on a whole host of subjects, even broader in topical range than the DVDs themselves are organized. So that is extremely helpful if you are like me who actually prefers video clips which are no longer than ten or so minutes as I can't afford to lose too much class time with a video.

So check it out and I hope you are able to use them. Link HERE. (See the episode list HERE.)