Your Philosophy Journal
You will be covering a lot of material in this class. As the lessons progress, you will want (or need) to refer back to prior lessons to remember people and concepts from different philosophical periods.
To assist your learning process, you must take hand written notes throughout this class. Allow me to emphasize that: hand written notes. These notes will make up your “Philosophy Journal.”
This may seem unnecessary to you; you may prefer to take notes with a computer; or you may not like taking notes at all.
Nevertheless, you must take notes in this class.
The practice of taking notes with your hands has great intellectual benefit in terms of understanding and retention. It enables you to review and process what you are learning in a time-tested way. Furthermore, it keeps your notes in a single place for easy reference. (Yes, you may write with an iPad or on a table – but a paper book like a lined journal notebook, composition notebook, or lined 3-hole punch notebook paper and binder would still be best.)
You will want to take notes in a number of instances:
- Listening to RC Sproul’s video lectures. You can press pause to write something down; you can rewind to listen again; or you can scroll down to the transcript on the same page and see exactly what he said.
- Reading John Frame’s book. Feel free to underline in your book with a pencil – this enables you to erase something if you underline too far, or if you decide you don’t want to underline that section. Furthermore, using a pencil is less obtrusive than highlighter (ugh) or even a pen.
- Reading philosophical books and readers online.
- Researching vocabulary and other topics.
Finally, use your Philosophy Journal to jot down questions and make notes of your own thinking in regard to the ideas you are learning. It is ok if you don’t have answers – writing down questions you have enables you to come back and try to answer them later as you have learned more. Of course, you may never answer them: there are a lot of unanswerable questions out there. But it is still good exercise to write them down.
In closing, by creating a journal, you will be following in the footsteps of many philosophers and thinkers. It is good intellectual practice.
So please make sure to take hand written notes. When the class is complete, and you look at your filled journal, you will feel a great sense of accomplishment. Furthermore, you will have a visual image of how much you have learned.