Monday, July 2, 2012

Into the Night

A Nice Letter from Asher and Riley, our R.A.'s
We got up particularly early this morning because we had to go to the computer lab to print our Plato essays before class. The job was easier and faster than we anticipated, and arrived to class about 25 minutes early. Today we were introduced to John Locke, an English philosopher in the 18th century. He focuses especially on the principles of the individual's rights and justifies his theories through what he calls the "State of Nature." Even though I spent the weekend reading about the philosophy of John Locke it took me a while to understand the concepts that Professor Kramnick and Ulas were explaining. We compared the ideas of John Locke to the other people we have studied: St. Augustine, St. Aquinas, Jesus Christ, and Plato. This will be particularly important as the preliminary exam approaches. We received a copy if an example of the format of the preliminary exam to preview the test, which consisted of a choice of an essay between three broad questions, and five short answer questions that are to be chosen from eight.

After class Eric and I, who are in the same discussion group, met up with Calvin and headed toward Uris Library to study and outline what we have learned so far. We reserved a private group study room and reviewed the teachings of each philosopher and religious text. I found that studying in the lounge where the different conversations and activities are always taking place is sometimes distracting; working in the library with only Freedom and Justice students proves to be a lot more beneficial.  Before leaving Uris, we went upstairs to check out the  "Harry Potter Library," where certain parts of Harry Potter had been filmed.

Looking over the southern side of the campus before fireworks
The evening was spent in Donlon Hall, playing pool and watching television before dinner, but once the sun went down the real fun started. Cornell seems to have a tradition of having a fireworks display not only on the Fourth of July, but for all the days in the week leading up to the holiday and then lasting through until the ninth. We joined friends Morgan, Sam, and Alyssa for the fireworks, finding a perfect spot on the hill behind the McGraw clock tower.  We saw the fireworks light up the sky above the lake; unfortunately it was too dark to capture any pictures.  The evening ended up being a nice break away from our studies.

Tomorrow we will conclude the teachings of Locke and hopefully have enough time to study in the afternoon, since our preliminary exam is on Wednesday. Wish us luck!

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