I began by teaching as a graduate student many years ago. I spent a decade and a half teaching in university, first at Smith College and then at York University. Eventually, I went out into the world to see if what I was professing would have "real world" traction. I spent more than three decades in that world, but never stopped professing, albeit most often to professional audiences. Now I'm enjoying living off my retirement benefits, I'm still interested in the shared learning experience in the classroom, either real or virtual. I find that the Academy for Lifelong Learning at U of T offers an attractive virtual classroom experience. I've signed up to lead workshop sessions in the Fall 2020 session:
Disruptive Technologies: Artificial Intelligence (2020 Sept. 30) -- AI includes a basket of technologies that promise to have a real impact. On a positive note, AI could be used to enhance human capability. That's happened in the past with many technologies. On a not so positive note, AI could be used to replace human labour in a number of more or less routine jobs that today provide gainful employment for people. And on a chilling level, advanced AI might be used as autonomous agents of war let loose with no human supervision. My presentation is available to download here. Also available is a short list of references for those interested in digging deeper.
Philosophers: Maurice Merleau-Ponty -- I've been persuaded that our lived experience is really at the base of what we can know as human beings. Phenomenology leads in the right direction. Husserel and Heidegger started us in that direction. Maurice Merleau-Ponty continued, adding the importance of the embodied nature of our perceptions. He was also one of the most thoughtful of the 20th century French existentialists. He took the first important step in recognizing the embodied, embedded and evolving nature of the mind. Current Cognitive Science provides a rich, albeit incomplete, picture of the mind. It supports a view of self that I find rewarding. My presentation is available here and the page of references provides background information.
Philosophers: What's the Meaning of Life? - The question has been considered for thousands of years. I'm defending a view that offers a combination of a Subjective and an Objective dimension to finding personal meaning. Importantly, the "self" can now be understood as a mind that is both embodied and embedded. The question becomes one of how such a self can find meaning. My answer is that meaning flows from contributions to those environments (social, aesthetic, conceptual and physical) which shaped that self. And such contributions need to be judged as positive by the communities most responsible for each such environment. My presentation slides are available for download and there is a page of references for those wanting to learn more.