I’m Back, Baby!

…alive and kickin’.  And ready to do some philosophy.  Took a while to get through that first hurdle of getting meetings and orientations and course construction and article completion and all that other stuff out of the way (although I’m still doing all of these, but not quite at the fever pitch I’ve been doing them for the last couple of months).  But now at last I can return to the blogosphere (and with a new and improved wardrobe, I might add–check the cool bowtie in my new profile pic!).

As I’ve got to run to another meeting now, more substantive philosophical discussion is on its way.  But for now, I thought I’d share some of my experiences teaching Zhuangzi for the past week or so.  It’s a work I’ve stayed away from in my previous teaching for the most part, mainly because I tried it once (the first time I ever taught) and it was a huge disaster.  This time, things went a bit better, but there were still some problems.

I wonder–to what extent is this material difficult for students due to the roundabout and jocular way the Zhuangzi is written?  Zhuangzi is pretty clearly having fun, and trying to be “hard to corner”, but when students who are used to having arguments made explicit (which we generally strive to do but don’t always succeed in doing in contemporary philosophy) this might be frustrating at best, completely unintelligible at worst.  I’m finding that a non-negligible number of students are having this problem.  The Analects is also difficult for them, but for different reasons, I suspect.  Ah well–what to do…

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