MeTogether we journey for a brief interlude. A fleeting pilgrimage to places where the great concepts that have motivated humans for thousands of years are stored for us to read as if they were spoken to us today. The university and the college are places for us to discover the ageless dialogue that can inform a receptive mind, nourish a seeker of new ideas, and enable us to see past our prejudices to a better comprehension of ourselves, others, and our shared world.

We are essential elements in the long thin line that stands against pig-ignorance and promotes enlightenment by drawing apart the tendencies of hatred and violence–that have for centuries destroyed knowledge and hampered human decency–from the healthier desires for inquiry and discovery. Join me in a discussion of how we together can sustain a better, fairer, and more compassionate world.

Define terms | important links | my schedule | grades

CORE, acronym standing for a means to clarify, organize, reflect, and evaluate ideas.


Every class I teach is divided implicitly into these four parts: Clarify, Organize, Reflect, and Examine– represented by the acronym CORE.

Early in any course the focus is on defining terms. That means you should keep a list of fifty new terms you are unfamiliar with, used by me and the texts.

You need to be able to organize the readings, discussions and notes for quick recall for discussion and writing.

By midterm or thereafter you will spend time making arguments that require reflective comparisons of the books.

At the closing three weeks of any class you are expected to contrast all the author's different arguments and determine for yourself what evidence is most revealing.


Define terms | important links | my schedule | grades

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Make an appointment to see me.

Part of the class participation grade is one or more meetings with me during the term to discuss your motivation, ambitions, and progress. I welcome you stopping in.

Some steps to doing well in classes:

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Define terms | important links | my schedule | grades

The detailed relation of the Core acronym to any class is roughly as follows:


Critical links for my courses

Vocabulary one of many pages devoted to words you need to know for success in the class.

Metaphors are crucial to use and interpret.

methods are the means we have to test our assumptions.

A new grammar for our experiences may be necessary to develop?

When writing, 4 things to consider | Writing Criteria: listed as a form for | Free writing

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Define terms | important links | my schedule | grades



Defining terms, is more than using a definition because to clarify means to use examples of what any term means in relation to other terms, especially adverbs for verbs and adjectives for nouns. Always use new words in simple and complex sentences to determine how their meaning changes in relation to other ideas and concepts in the class.

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Creating organization is more than just ordering the notes you take into a coherent pattern. Every week you should do three things to tie parts of your notes on the readings, class discussions, and assignments together.

1) try to circle repeated concepts and make a list of these ideas.

2) take all of the new terms and make a map, graphic or drawing of how they relate to one another. This is called "concept mapping" and it is designed to get you to re-conceptualize how old ideas fit into the material you are learning to form new, informative, and effective ways to know a subject. You should develop an intentional criteria of relations among words, concepts, arguments and evidence used by the authors.

3) After several weeks determine if a pattern is emerging by which you can organize the information. There are several ways to do this, but three ways I recommend are called logical, chronological, and etymological.

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The real purpose of higher education is to allow you to practice the skills you need to develop in order to judge for yourself the verity of ideas, the falsity of assertions, the criteria needed for sound opinions and the capacity to distinguish facts; especially salient facts from obscure details. This means that you become proficient in separating out facts form opinions, what the Greeks called, doxa, is an opinion as opposed to theoria, that represented theories of how facts may support an informed opinion.

The best I hope for is that you are encouraged to think, test your assumptions and discover evidence for the value and effectiveness of new knowledge. There are many obstacles to clear thinking, but among the most prevailing today are what Francis Bacon referred to as "the four idols." See if you can describe the idols as they operate today.

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Assay means to take the full measure of something's separate parts. This is the crucial part of the course where many participants fail to display what they have learned because the fail in one of the ways to sufficiently display for me and other participants what they are learning.

I have listed the most serious omissions first and the significant but less serious problems at the end:

  1. leaving out one or more of the authors in your revisions of your essays or presentations.
  2. forgetting to review my web site on the course to determine if you understand the key arguments the course is designed to let you examine and determine for yourself what evidence is worth recalling to the class.
  3. Assuming we know what you mean when you do not give the correct examples or do not have sufficient examples to demonstrate your evidence.
  4. The failure to fully develop an argument based on related cases from the books or conflicting evidence from three or more authors.
  5. An inability to distinguish the core, from the tangential or peripheral details of any argument made by me or the texts.

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Where to start?

How to survive?

Final Exams

An example of a conceptual web page.

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