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Tuesday, May 6

May 6, 2014

Reminder to all (except seniors): please fill out your schedules for the fall and give them to Miss Mulye ASAP. Applications for The Siren & BatCat are both available as well (but not Pulp – not yet, anyway).

WWTWWT: Today we talked about the Age of Revolution, Voltaire (briefly), and Rousseau.

The book calls the period between 1750 and 1900 the Age of Revolution because of the two major upheavals that occurred in America and France. The American Revolution was, by and large, a revolt that occurred without widespread bloodshed or recriminations afterward. The French Revolution, by contrast, did not. We talked about how the French and Indian War set the stage for the American Revolution, and about how the French Revolution was inspired by both Voltaire and Rousseau.

Voltaire is probably more important as a writer than as a philosopher; he was skeptical about knowing much of anything for certain, and argued for tolerance of differing viewpoints as a result. The easiest way to understand Rousseau, meanwhile, is to contrast his views with those of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke:

XXXXXXXXXXXX             Hobbes                                              Locke                                            Rousseau

Man in his state of           Corrupt; “the war             Mind is a blank slate,                Perfect (civilization

nature is:                             of all against all”               but capable of reasoning        corrupts)


What’s the                           A “Leviathan” of                   Education for all;                    The general will

solution?                             a government                        limited government


This philosophy               The police state                    Liberal democracy                Every totalitarian

led to:                                                                                                                                               government

Rousseau’s ideas about man being perfect in his state of nature were a huge influence of Romanticism in art, and on the hippies 200 years later. His idea of the “general will” — which in theory means that the people have the power, but that disagreeing with the majority can be dangerous — would provide aid and comfort to dictators for centuries.

I reserve the right for a quick quiz Thursday on 1) this chart; 2) your reading (on the Age of Revolution, Voltaire and Rousseau), and 3) Hume and his “problem of induction.”

Adaptation: Today you handed in your materials for your final presentations. Copies were made, Powerpoint presentations were checked, etc. All A/V things will be run through my computer, which does indeed have internet access.

Siren: We’re making a commercial! Maybe. Be ready to proof May copy on Thursday.

Film Studies: Finished War Horse and wrote a response to it in class, due at the end of the block. If you were absent, please see me to make this up.

There is an official reading assignment for Thursday. If you were absent, there are copies in the box. There will be some kind of assessment, so you will want to read it at least somewhat thoroughly (if you care about your grade).


8th Grade: Wrote reviews of stuff. Remember, a good review should 1) show that the reviewer is informed, 2) compare and contrast, and 3) suggest an action. Post your review, print it out and bring it in next week for extra credit.

Survey: CNF: Today you wrote down on a notecard a moment from earlier today. Then I gave you a list of 10 “questions for reflection” and asked you to choose one of them, then write a riff about it.

These reflection questions are a useful filter to run moments through. They not only help generate riffs, they can also help you take an ordinary moment and turn it into an essay.

No assignment for Thursday; the “what if” essays are due Tuesday.

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