Last week (week 5) was spent producing almost 2,000 words on Hume’s solution(s) to the paradox of painful art – what he suggested and whether it was successful. I will get the comments back on that soon, but not the score as my tutor is participating in the UCU boycott and not providing scores until the issues regarding pensions are resolved. Annoying for me as I have not worked with this tutor before so will have no idea of how his comments relate to the score given for this assignment (and any future assignments depending on how long it takes to achieve resolution). This assignment is worth 18% of my continuous assessment score of this course (which is compared to my overall examinable score on my final extended essay, with the lower score of the two going forwards to my overall degree result). I have had to send an email out to confirm that the 28 day window students are given to appeal scores/grades will start once scores are provided and not when the essay is returned.
This week brought a whole new book and a whole new topic – war. As is usual the first week of a new topic and book is an introduction to the topic, looking at Just War Tradition and just war theory, which is going to be the main topic of the book. It’s interesting to try and differentiate between what can be considered morally just and what can be considered legally just as so much discussion of war in the news is around the legality of actions rather than the morals/ethics. It should be interesting to examine in further detail, though my lack of historical knowledge might be an issue when looking at theorists such as Walzer who favours them over thought experiments.
The course book featured this delightful sentence which I had to highlight, even though it’s not directly relevant to the subject matter:
Philsophers stipulate quite a lot: it is one of our few pleasures in life.
I also paid my fees for my final OU course for my degree – D303: Cognitive Psychology which starts 31st January 2015.
This week we were looking at the paradox of painful art – why some people deliberately seek out art which they know will cause negative emotions in them such as tearjerkers, horror films, etc. As this is the topic that the first assignment will be on I took the time to complete both of the independent study options and the optional additional study, which meant that my study time rolled over onto a second day. I’m still not convinced by any one ‘solution’ to the paradox, preferring to pick and choose a little bit from one and a little bit from another, but then I personally tend to avoid painful art anyway so it’s all a bit of a mystery why anyone other than a teenage girl might deliberately seek it out.
The steady ramping up of the course continued into week 3, which now focused just on the paradox of fictional emotion (why people are emotionally invested in things they know are not real) and had to be spread over two days. On Monday I went through the book chapter which looked at the viewpoints of Charles Radford and Kendall Walton, neither of which provided satisfactory reasons for me. On Tuesday it was the independent and the optional study which wasn’t exactly independent (read exactly this), and which looked a bit more at Walton and hinted at the interesting idea of ‘alief’ which I might look into more at a later date (it would be hard to shoehorn into the marked assignment, so is probably best left for private perusal).
After a less than stellar experience with my previous philosophy tutor (who seemed more interested in tripping his students up and creating new imaginary hoops to jump through, than teaching and enthusing them about the subject), I was mildly concerned as to what my new philosophy tutor would be like. No need to have worried though, he seems much more responsive to engaging with his students than the last one, and whilst there were one or two majority voices in this first tutorial at least they were on topic (unlike previously when the tutor allowed one person to dominate with his near incoherent ramblings). Only one familiar face from my previous philosophy course tutor group (we exchanged war stories). I shall have to see if my positive feelings towards the style of this tutor remain after my first assignment is graded.
This week’s study had a bit more bite and content than last week, but it was still easing us into the two problems of narrative art: the problem/puzzle of fictional emotion and the problem/puzzle of painful art. Put into regular English – why do people get emotionally involved in fictional representations, and why do they seek out fictional representations that will generate negative reactions in themselves?
There was a side order of having to define what ‘fiction’ means (philosophy seems to be all about agreeing (or not) upon definitions), plus a restatement of the problem of fictional emotion as a paradox (and hence a diversion about paradoxes).
The week’s additional study was focused on what makes one piece of art ‘high’ compared to another (mostly looking at the difference between subjective and objective perspectives), with an interesting journal article seeking to define kitsch and why it is considered ‘bad’ art.
I am still staying out of the online fora as people are rushing weeks ahead, tripping themselves and others over. Plus I’d just get drawn into the craft vs. art debate, whether graffiti is art, and not have any time left to enjoy my craft/art.
Well, I’ve had a nice couple of weeks off after finishing my previous OU course (DSE212 – Exploring Psychology) and it’s back to the books again for the start of my first level 3 (third year of university) course A333 – Key questions in philosophy. This course covers 5 key questions in philosophy: Truth in Fiction, War, Reason in Action, The Value of Life, and Knowledge and Reason and is assessed through 5 tutor marked assignments (TMAs) and an extended end of module assessment (EMA), no exam this time (but 50% of your grade going on that final essay is a bit scary).
Week 1 was easing us into thinking about the philosophy of art as the first book is about Truth in Fiction, starting off by looking at how you define what art is. This was familiar from discussions and debates I’ve been involved in before as to whether juggling or knitting can be considered art. Nothing too deep or heavy and I even read some of the further reading (that which was available for free online).
Checking the online fora at the OU and the facebook group it looks like some people are already half way through the first book, but I’m going to stick with the study planner as much as possible as updates do happen as the course proceeds and I’d hate to get confused by something that is corrected in time for the allotted study time, or by being drawn into debates about ideas I haven’t been introduced to yet.