What I want to teach

Ta-Nehisi Coates has a post criticizing David Brooks's glorification of a more moral past compared with a dissolute texting present. A familiar enough criticism, but very nicely put.

What made me sit up and take notice, however, is that he sums up in a few sentences exactly what I want my students to take away from any of my philosophy classes. I don't care if they remember what "compatibilism" means. I don't need them to recreate Berkeley's argument against a mind-independent world premise by premise. What I want them to do is what Coates suggests a conservative longing for a more pure past needs to do:

But the writer who would argue such has to prove it. He can't just accept his innate hunch. He has to bumrush and beat down his theories of the world, And should they emerge unbroken, that writer might have something to tell us.

1 comment:

  1. yeah Elizabeth, that was a pretty pathetic post by Brooks. He went from Happy Days to cell phone texting as though there was nothing in between. And seriously, texting? He writes it as though he just noticed it, but it has been around for at least 10 years. And he acts as though it were a scourge. Really bizarre. Yes, sometimes I have to tell my Univesity students to put away their cells, but years ago it was put away that romance novel. And David Brooks was born in 1961, post Happy Days, so he obviously has no right to be nostalgiac for something that happened pre-hislife. The simple fact is he grew up in a generation that was post sexual revolution, but pre-Aids. If any generation had no guardrails, it was his. The average age for boys losing their virginity then was 16. 18 was legal for drinking then in most states, etc. In addition, there was no draft, no Vietnam war. And he grew up in NYC and went to HS outside of Philly, not some mythical small town.

    That article was a pure fabricated pose.