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Donald Hess

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  1. This topic relates to the last course discussion between Christopher Perrin and David Schenk. Christopher started with a question How does philosophy create connections? and David quickly noted that philosophy doesn't create anything, it discovers things. I've just finished Lewis' Perelandra. It ends with the Great Dance, Lewis' beautiful portrayal of how everything is connected. His prose in this novel seems to be a poetic mixture of philosophy and theology. I am also currently reading a biography of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. In it the author describes the uncanny parallels between Coleridge's life and the character of the mariner in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Evidently, even though Coleridge was well known as a poet, he also had a great interest in philosophy, particularly metaphysics. As I attempted to make my own connections between what I've been reading lately and what I've been learning in the philosophy lectures, it occurred to me that philosophy and poetry are connected. They lead us to the exploration and discovery of the intertwined essence of things. The difference is that they do it in different ways. Philosophy's domain is the ratio; poetry's is the intellectus. I invite anyone who views this topic to explore with me the connections between poetry & philosophy. How do they uniquely enable us to discover connections in our chosen disciplines, our personal devotions, our daily lives?
  2. Donald Hess


    I just finished the course. This is the Intro to Philosophy that I wish I had as an undergraduate. It was much more valuable for me to learn about major philosophical questions than to be overwhelmed with a long list of names of famous philosophers. I'd like to "hit the rewind button" and watch the lectures again in order to better understand what I've learned. Thank you, Dr. Schenk!
  3. Natural evil could be explained via the FWD as follows: The natural world became corrupted when Adam and Eve ate the fruit. There would be no need to invoke fallen angels.
  4. I’m a physician, not a philosopher, although lately I’ve noticed that medicine and philosophy often interface, particularly in the realm of diagnosis. The difference between an observational v. a conceptual question is demonstrated by the questions asked during a patient/physician encounter. Patients experience unsettling symptoms and will ask their physician an empirical question, “What’s wrong with me?” The physician will examine the patient, gather more data, and transform the patient's question into a conceptual question “What is the diagnosis?” But on closer reflection, even that question could be regarded as an empirical question in that it is based on the physician’s observations seen through the lens of learned diagnostic concepts. This shows how easy it is to confuse observational and conceptual questions. Perhaps in this case a better example of a purely conceptual question would be, if the diagnosis is diabetes, “What is diabetes?” Even so, the diagnostic entity of diabetes has changed over the years as the result of scientific observations. Nevertheless, physicians must remember to first communicate their diagnosis as an empirical, not conceptual, explanation to their patient’s question.
  5. Donald Hess

    Why study poetry?

    Why study poetry? Poetry helps me think metaphorically. This enables me to see connections among all sorts of things.