Sallyportal: Madly Blogging Reed



The Philosophy of Pain

Pain has deep philosophical implications, according to Prof. Troy Cross, especially when it comes to Hum 110.


We all feel it. Most of us avoid it. Some of us dread it.

But as Prof. Troy Cross [philosophy] pointed out in a startling and memorable Hum 110 lecture on October 31, pain is a fundamental fact of existence that has deep philosophical implications for education and for the current debate over Hum 110.

Seniors grasp philosophy prize

Elise Woodard ’16 won the Garlan Prize for her thesis on a pair of puzzles in moral philosophy.

Two seniors have won the Edwin N. Garlan Memorial Prize, which recognizes outstanding scholarship in the field of philosophy.

Philosophy major Elise Woodard ’16 won the prize for her thesis on a pair of philosophical puzzles. Here’s how she explains her work:

In my thesis, I investigated two puzzles about moral knowledge. The first, a puzzle about moral forgetting, is to explain why it seems absurd to assert, “I used to know the difference between right and wrong, but I’ve forgotten it,” whereas claims to have forgotten facts and skills seem ordinary and unproblematic.

The Metaphysics of Swimming


Metaphysical education. Lifeguard Eliya Cohen '15 presents philosophical whiteboard to inquisitive Reed swimmers. Photos by Jenn McNeal '14.

The German philosopher Martin Heidegger said the best place to think philosophy was in a hut deep in the Black Forest while a storm raged outside. That may have been true for Heidegger, but it is not necessarily true at Reed, where a robust metaphysical debate has broken out in an unlikely location--the swimming pool.

Visitors to the sports center will notice that the poolside whiteboard no longer displays lap times and opening hours; over the last month it has sprouted a fascinating sequence of questions, claims, and rejoinders that have grown to fill every square inch. The debate began when philosophy major and lifeguard Eliya Cohen '15 asked fellow philosophy major Finn Terdal '12 to jot down some problems of metaphysics on the whiteboard to ponder during her shifts. The questions soon provoked students, alumni, professors, philosophers, physicists, and other sentient life forms who frequent the pool.