The last couple days’ discussion haven’t left a consistent impression upon my memory. In the afternoon I remember them going well, yet by evening, I can’t articulate whether or not I taught anything, much less what I might have taught.
Monday we dug into the question of community size and common good in 9:00. Plato insists that a community that becomes too large is not a community any more. My students seemed to think that UGA is still a community, despite its size, but I don’t think I led the conversation down too many roads helpful for answering that. My impression is that UGA is less a community, dedicated to an intelligible common good, and more a shopping mall of sorts. One picks up staple credit-hours from mine and others’ required classes, invests in skill-set-stock in one’s major classes, and buys overpriced drinks at clubs on weekends. Yes, the metaphor became less abstract on that last one. Deal with it.
In 10:00 our discussion dealt more with the question of Plato’s noble lie. Again, students’ willingness to accept a lying government shocked me. We also had a fairly fruitful discussion about why a community would want guardians rather than a democracy.
Today’s discussion focused more on indoctrination and Plato’s unflinching praise of it. My students, in a way that surprised me, seemed for the most part willing to accept indoctrination as a potentially good thing. Hauerwas, I’m sure, would be pleased. I’m not. Of course, I have to blame myself for that lapsed teaching moment–had I set up the discussion better, perhaps I could have rendered a bit more of the shock of Plato’s praise of brainwashing. Perhaps not.
And here I sit, having graded (but not marked up) about a third of their second papers. Back to the grind.