Monday, January 31, 2005

”Must we know these philosophers in the test?”

”What’s the story: you know, since we do not study all these philosophers, must we know them in the test, anyway?”

Well, you’re going to have to memorize the whole book, but that’s a different test: that’s ’The admission test of the University of Helsinki. When I myself passed the most strenuous ritual of my university studies, I had to remember the caption of a picture on page x. I did! But I can’t remember it any more. Instead, I remember the principle involved and can still remember the idea of the admission test: ‘repeat, don’t think’. Those, however, who passed the exam, were afterwards also allowed to think and to apply.

My dream is that the final exam of my high school course in philosophy could be a meaningful event of learning for you and open a view to what and how you have learnt during this course. I consider your idea of what is aimed at the course particularly significant. Why do we study these things in the first place?

Philosophers tell and answer all in their own way. It pays to listen to them. But please be awake and doubt the need to learn by heart. Listen, ask, discuss. Seize the peculiarities. Ask! Try a different way to pass the exam: make your own portfolio or try the option of taking your book along to the exam.


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