The Status of “Philosophy Labs” this Fall

Mohamed Mehdi, chair of the Department of Humanities and Philosophy at Oakton Community College, updated his faculty on the plans regarding their “philosophy labs” for this coming fall.

He wrote to them:

As you have all heard by now, most Oakton classes in Fall 2020 will be offered in online format, with the exception of classes requiring labs or studio work. This raises the question of the status of philosophy labs for the fall semester. Here is a brief update:

  • Most importantly, the vat containing our brains will continue to be functional and will be maintained in an optimal state by campus facilities. Thanks to the facilities team for their phenomenal (well, actually noumenal) work on this.  
  • We are very pleased also that the Original Position will continue to be accessible. This is due to the fact that it is actually an ideal example of social distancing.
  • The Possible World generator has been shut down, thankfully. We have been trying to do this for a long time now.
  • The trolley experiment can still be conducted, we are told, as long as the workers on the track are standing at least 6 feet from each other. Unfortunately, this might disrupt some of the logistics of the experiment. We have explained to the administration that in at least in 25% of the cases (the Kantians among us) the workers will be hit by a train anyway.
  • The Thompson Room With No Screens is going to be shut down, primarily because of the optics of courting infection. We will also not be able to attach ourselves or our students to famous violinists until a vaccine has been found.
  • The Hobbes State of Nature sanctuary will not be operating this fall, but remember that Michigan is just a few hours’ drive away.
  • Finally, trying to do anything with bats is strictly prohibited. 

Feel free to share other similar updates you know about.

(via Patrick O’Donnell)

Art: Pete Mandik


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Paul Wilson
4 years ago

Social distancing guidelines have also necessarily closed the Peripatetic school.

Rollo Burgess
Rollo Burgess
4 years ago

While its socially distant nature is in many ways ideal for the current situation, the Chinese Room will cancel the US leg of its tour due to punitive tariffs.

Paul Wilson
4 years ago

Regarding face masks and virtual laboratories on essential workers, economics and polemics have rendered the veil of ignorance inconsequential.

4 years ago

Zeno’s lab will be closed indefinitely, as we don’t expect any change in its current status.