Question 10. How can we know that the cake exists?
a) Because the teacher tells us soIn among the 40,000 other things that have been happening in my life, keeping me away from blogging and sleeping, and generally driving me to a zombie-like stupor where I having trouble remembering my own name, let alone pronouncing it, the philosophy course I’ve been running about The Great Philosophers has come to an end (as will this sentence, eventually, honest it will, here you go then).
b) Because there is a FORM of CAKE that exists in an eternal realm to which the appearance of this object partakes
c) Because we can use our senses to detect it
d) If everyone else acts as though it exists, who am I to disagree?
e) We can never be sure it exists independently in-itself
f) Whether it exists independently is irrelevant – it exists as an experience for me
g) You cannot prove it exists but must make a leap of faith
h) Forget reason, just enjoy it to the full
i) We have already eaten part of the cake before we become aware of what we are doing.
As well as handing out certificates instructing students that they are now allowed to adopt a superior and patronising manner with anyone who begins to discuss the nature of the world, belief and/ or existence, we indulged in the tradition of the end of term cake.
This time Maggie created a superb chocolaty Malteser cake with added Horlicks in the sponge. It was, without doubt, the highlight of the entire course and the only reason some of them stuck it out so long. I knew this would be the case, which is why I made it clear on the first night that there would be one of Maggie’s cakes at the end. The Oracle at Delphi may well have said “Know Thyself” but as a teacher, the maxim “Know Thy Student’s Taste in Cake” has stood me in far better stead.
I also split the group into 3 teams and produced a quiz to see how much they remembered. This included dilemmas such as separating out the Empiricists from the Rationalists, trying to come up with a working definition of Kant’s Categorical Imperative, and a multiple choice on how to spell Nietzsche.
Of course the question at the beginning of this post doesn’t exactly have a right answer, but does give a sense of which of the philosophers each of the students was most drawn to. However, I did deduct points from the 2 who chose option a) for accepting authority over reason as a way to try and deduce truth.
I found it surprising that I was the only one who chose option i), but even scarier was the only person who chose option h) happened to be my son, Rogan. He’d come along to this last class of term to see what philosophy was like, observe his father’s teaching methods, and of course have a slice of his mother’s damn fine cake.
I have to admit, the idea that I have a 12 year old Nietzschean Übermensch* in the house is a bit of a daunting prospect.
*Übermensch – the super-man, or over-man who transcends the values and moralities of society and creates his own, embracing the Will to Power over the Herd Mentality etc – Pah! Go and do a philosophy course and find out...