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Friday, September 25, 2015

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Rain Man and Rule-Following

Rain Man and Rule-Following

How Autism can Bring Philosophy to Life

By Robert Chapman

 "Psychologists sometimes characterise autistic people as ‘hyper-systemisers’ or as being ‘context blind’, meaning – more or less – that, rather like computers, they find it hard to process anything vague or dynamic, and are better at dealing with fixed one-to-one rules and systems. Whereas people with Asperger’s or autism might be good at activities with fixed rules (say, chess, or computer programming), when they encounter anything vague, most notably in the social realm, they are often overcome with confusion and anxiety. So Raymond stopped crossing the road when the lights changed because, rather than intuitively knowing what to do, he was following the rules (‘walk’/’don’t walk’) with an icy precision. The lights changed, and that was that."


Friday, September 18, 2015

Philosophical Elements of "Rain Man"

Elements of "Rain Man"

As we discussed the movie we listed these elements:

  • Greed
  • Family (relationships)
  • Self-centeredness
  • Journey
  • Discovery
  • Genius
  • Self
  • Entitlement
  • Independence
  • Capitalism
  • Integrity
  • Stoicism
  • Existentialism

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Movie List

I'm  starting a list of movies from which we might choose our four main subjects this Fall.  I have linked each to its page.  The percentages shown are the critics' ratings at  Please add your suggestions in the comments area below.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Name Tents

Let me know how you would prefer to have your name tent appear.  Give me your first name among friends and your last name.  I will try for name tents by next Friday,  September 18.

See if you can post your response as a comment immediately below.


Please accept my most sincere apologies for the technical problems at today's opening meeting.  Although I should have expected these things, I did not.

A new laptop, a beautiful facility, and a new version of Windows do not necessarily make for an ideal technology performance.

I urge you to have guarded optimism for next week. I will try to have taken my own time to be surprised, so that I will not be imposing on your time and good will.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Meeting site

Wow!  I just visited our new venue at Lexington Theological Seminary (at Lexington Green).  What a beautiful place.  I love it, and I hope you will too!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Background -- Course Proposal to OLLI Curriculum Committee

The following is the document sent in May of this year to OLLI.  It should give you substantial information about the foundations of this term.

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UK, Lexington
... Course Proposal Form

Name:     Jim Carigan
Address:     ...
Email (required):  
Phone:     502-320-1063 (mobile) or 502-839-0044 (home)

Thank you for your interest in teaching [
facilitating] a course for the OLLI at UK, Lexington. In the write up of your proposal, please address the following elements:
Semester you are proposing to teach:     Fall 2015

2015 Continuation Course Proposal

1. Suggest a title that will: a) Describe the content of the course, and
b) Create interest among potential students.     
Philosophy at OLLI Goes to the Movies

2. Recommend the catalog category that best matches your content.
(Course offerings are listed in the OLLI semester catalog under the following categories: Computers/technology, Culture, Health and Wellness, History and Government, Languages, Literature & Writing, Out of the Box, Performing Arts, Science and Environment, Visual Arts.)

3. List your course objectives: To continue OLLI's offering of a Philosophy related course/discussion group -- Philosophy at OLLI (a continuation of Whatever Happened to the Age of Reason; Philosophy from Ockham to Mencken, in the 2015 Spring term)

4. Describe the content of your course:
In this course, we will watch 4 main movie selections (a suggested list would be Amadeus, The Seven Samurai, The Big Sleep, and Lonely Are the Brave; but the group will decide.  We will watch half a movie (about an hour) then we will begin to analyze in view of the philosophies of the members, the creators, and the field of philosophy.  We will watch the second half (or highlights in the case of lengthy movies such as The Seven Samurai) in the second meeting.  And so forth for 8 weeks.  We will also do mini-critiques of other favorite movies selected by the members.
For example, in doing Amadeus, we would explore genius, morality, ethics, art, creativity, social manipulation, and so forth.  We will address philosophical, moral, and ethical lessons learned.  We will speculate on future inquiry.
Other movies, for short treatment, might be No Country for Old Men, Brazil, 12 Years a Slave, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), and more recent releases.  We may look at separate versions for philosophical differences, such as the older and newer.
5. Create a general course outline, including content covered in each session:
Meeting 1
Introductions and Course Objectives
Movie #1 -- 1st hour
What are important philosophical themes?

Meeting 2
Movie #1 -- 2nd hour
How are important philosophical themes resolved?
Other movies -- mini critiques

Meeting 3
Introductions and Course Objectives
Movie #2 -- 1st hour
What are important philosophical themes?
Other movies -- mini critiques

Meeting 4
Movie #2 -- 2nd hour
How are important philosophical themes resolved?
Other movies -- mini critiques

Meetings 5-8
6. List the number of individual class sessions you are proposing: 8

7. Length of each class session:
2.5 hours

8. Preferred maximum enrollment: 20

9. List the teaching methods you will use: (lecture, workshop, discussion, ppt., etc.)
Workshop, whole group discussion, movies (DVDs), PowerPoint, WWW, Google, IMDB, researching and sharing reviews and criticisms, ...
10. List the major sources of materials / supplies used to create this course:  
Facilitator's personal DVD library and books, public libraries, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, Members' researches, etc.

11. List any location requirements or preferences, include the following:
a. Audio/Visual or other technology --
Projector, Internet Connectionb. White board/Chalk Board/Flip Chart & Markers -- White board/Flip Chart & Markersc. Room Set up: Classroom (tables and chairs) -- conference style

12. List any specific knowledge or skills students will be expected to have:
An interest in the course
13. List any books or supplies the students will need to purchase: to be developed in progress
14. Attach your bio, please include the following related to your proposed course topic:
a. Your experience and/or education (formal/informal);
-- BA English (UK), BS Computer Science (KSU), MA Computer Resource Management, all but 2 courses in course toward PhD in Software Engineering (UK), significant research work with fellow doctoral students, work history as a corporate CIO (chief Information officer), full-time and part-time faculty positions at KSU (11 years full-time, assistant professor), various part-time assignments at BCTC (current) and with other predecessor community colleges (JCC).  I also engage in writing, both fiction and non-fiction, mostly with regard to philosophy (particularly voluntaryism).  I have now participated as a student (9 events) and a facilitator (1 event) in OLLI groups.  I am currently a regular at weekly meetings of Socrates Cafe in Louisville.
b. Research and Preparation completed related to the topic area --
Liberal arts, STEM majors; science and logic are very heavily involved with computer science and I created a course in computer humanities at KSU; my research field was human-computer interfaces which demanded depth in psychology and philosophy; and
c. What sparked your interest in teaching this course within the OLLI Program? --
This would be a follow-on to my Spring 2015 endeavor regarding Philosophy.  As I was taking Susan Bottom's course last summer, "So You Want to Teach a course at OLLI?," Susan said that we should have a philosophy component in OLLI's catalog, and I agreed with her.

Preference is for proposals to be submitted by email either as an attachment or cut and paste inside an email. Hard copies can be mailed to the OLLI Office.
OLLI at UK Curriculum Committee c/o Diana Lockridge, Program Director
OLLI at UK, Lexington
UK Ligon House, 658 S. Limestone
Lexington, KY 40506-0442
Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Welcome Message -- Philosophy at OLLI Goes to the Movies

Hello to all!  We will begin our Fall 2015 view of movies through a philosophical lens this upcoming Friday, September 11.

You can learn other details at the OLLI registration site --

Also this week, I will be building web info specific to group matters here at this page at

The above-linked page has a lot of info and links from our group in the Spring, but I will be adding new stuff, over this long weekend, I hope.

Although the group will select most of the watchlist, I want to prime the pump with "Amadeus."  We will watch at least half of it this Friday.

If you want to get rolling, you may want to look at the "Amadeus" pages at,, and

You might also explore philosophical ideas such as Music, Genius, and Art at some of your favorite places (I like the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy at or Google or one of our public libraries).

Best philosophical regards
Jim Carigan