Shimer College

July 11, 2014

If You Could Add Any Author To The Curriculum, Who Would You Add, And Why?

And other questions answered by Shimer students
Name: Leo Carton Mollica
Age: 21
Year: Graduated 2014
Major: Philosophy
Hometown: Chicago


In the event of a zombie apocalypse, which writer(s) from the Shimer curriculum would you want on your team, and why?

Ludwig Wittgenstein. The Shimer student body and author list are both distressingly low on members who can truthfully claim familiarity with modern (or anything like modern) firearms, but Wittgenstein, a decorated soldier for the Austro-Hungarians in WWI, escapes this unhappy trend.

What book would you jettison into space for aliens to learn about the human race, and why?

Probably some high medieval illuminated manuscript. I don’t see how they could ever translate what we sent them, but hopefully they could at least tell a little bit about what we look like, that we were literate, and that we liked and made beautiful things.

If you could add any author to the curriculum, who would you add, and why?

We should really read Gottlob Frege. Analytic philosophy is a massively underrepresented field in the Shimer curriculum (the Philosophical Investigations don’t count), and it, in a way, all begins with Frege’s work on meaning. He asks interesting questions, and it would be nice to let students know that, if those questions interest them, there’s much more on them to research.

What is your favorite Shimer class, and why?

In the core, probably Soc II, because it depicts a very specific line of argument and conversation from author to author, which is not something most classes can claim.  Outside the core, my favorite class has probably been my Oxford tutorial with Daniel Came on the Pittsburgh School. It gave me an opportunity to try developing original(ish) ideas in essay format at a very fast pace, for which I am very grateful.

What is your favorite quote?

“He loved maps, as I have told you before; and he also liked runes and letters and cunning handwriting, though when he wrote himself it was a bit thin and spidery.”  From The Hobbit.  It describes me to a weird tee.