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BERKELEY CONNECT in PHILOSOPHY

PhilosophyThe Berkeley Connect program opens up the extraordinary resources of the university to you: the extraordinary students on our campus. By joining, you will become part of a community of like-minded faculty, mentors, and students that will provide a supportive environment in which to exchange and discuss ideas and goals. Berkeley Connect will help you to make the most of your time at the university as you learn more about the major in Philosophy. We’re excited to get to know you!

Message from the Director

Timothy ClarkeHave you been enjoying your philosophy classes, but wish you had an opportunity to develop closer relationships with professors, graduate students, and your peers? Do you have questions about how to get the most out of your experience in the Philosophy Department – whether and when to go to office hours, how to structure the paper-writing process, how to think about which classes to take – but are unsure who to ask? Are you interested in why philosophy uses the methods it uses? If so, Berkeley Connect in Philosophy is specially designed for you. Berkeley Connect is an opportunity to connect with professors, graduate students, and your peers, while receiving mentoring and reflecting on philosophy as a discipline.

Professor Timothy Clarke

Director, Berkeley Connect in Philosophy

Program Description

Berkeley Connect links undergraduate students with experienced mentors in Philosophy. These mentors lead small groups of 10-20 students in regular meetings; they also meet with students one-on-one to provide guidance and advice. The core of the Berkeley Connect program is a one-credit, pass-fail course that is designed to create a community of students with similar intellectual interests. There is no homework associated with Berkeley Connect: no exams, no papers, no quizzes. Instead, small group meetings focus on sharing ideas and learning new skills within the Philosophy major as a way to foster friendships and provide a supportive intellectual community for Berkeley undergraduates.The only requirement for joining Berkeley Connect in Philosophy is that you have an interest in the field of study. You do not have to be a major in order to participate! Undeclared freshmen and sophomores are welcome, along with entering junior transfers and juniors and seniors who have declared the major.

Every semester, Berkeley Connect sponsors a wide range of activities and events for participating students.  They include:

  • small-group meetings led by your mentor;
  • one-on-one meetings with your mentor;
  • special events, including informal lectures by professors and guest speakers, and panels on career options, graduate school admissions, and other topics;
  • and visits to Berkeley resources.

At the heart of Berkeley Connect is the relationship between you and your mentor. The Berkeley Connect mentors are advanced graduate students or recent PhDs in Philosophy, who are chosen both for their demonstrated commitment to undergraduates and for their scholarly achievement. They are dedicated to providing the kind of close-knit community and one-on-one attention that can be hard to find at a large university.

When you sign up for Berkeley Connect, you will join one of several small groups of participants in Philosophy. Your small group will be led by your mentor, and will meet every other week during the semester for an hour-long dinner discussion sessions. Discussions will focus on key intellectual issues within Philosophy as well as key skills you need to succeed in the major. Above all, the small groups will focus on building connections among students, so that each group becomes a supportive community for all participants.

You will also meet with your mentor one-on-one at least twice during the semester, once to get acquainted, and a second time just before Tele-Bears, to discuss your plans for completing your major. Your mentor also has office hours every other week, during which you are free to show up and ask questions, talk over your day or your week, discuss what you are learning in class, or just have an informal conversation.

Faculty

Timothy ClarkeTimothy Clarke is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at UC Berkeley. His research interests are in ancient Greek philosophy, particularly metaphysics, epistemology, and natural philosophy. His articles include “The Argument from Relatives” and “Aristotle and the Ancient Puzzle about Coming to Be.” His book, Aristotle and the Eleatic One, was recently published by Oxford University Press.  He received his Ph.D. from Yale University.


Berkeley Connect Mentors

Austin AndrewsAustin Andrews is a recent PhD recipient in Philosophy.

Where did you grow up?

San Diego, California

Where did you go to college and what was your major?

I graduated from UCSB with a major in philosophy.

How would you describe your research in a sentence or two?

My work focuses on trying to understand the nature of the human mind. Most of my work concerns visual perception and seeks to understand how vision can inform us both about our environment and our own minds.


Nick French is a recent PhD recipient in Philosophy.

Where did you grow up?

Laguna Niguel, CA and Scottsdale, AZ

Where did you go to college and what was your major?

New York University, philosophy

How would you describe your research in a sentence or two?

My dissertation attempts to explain why we should care about obligations to other people. I argue that our reasons for being moral are grounded in the value of a certain kind of relationship with others, which I call “mutual recognition.”


Alex Kerr is a PhD candidate in Philosophy.

Where did you grow up?

Boston area.

Where did you go to college and what was your major?

Oberlin College, Philosophy.

How would you describe your research in a sentence or two?

Why do things appear the way they do–why do things look, sound, smell, taste, and feel how they do? I try to answer this question, drawing on philosophy and perceptual psychology.


Semester Activities

Components:

Attend weekly meetings (small-group and large-group events and mentoring meetings).  Note that small-group meetings are at your designated time and large-group meetings are at times announced on the syllabus.

Field Trip(s) to: (i) the Bancroft Library Rare Books Collection; (ii) the Berkeley Art Museum; (iii) a movie at the Pacific Film Archive; or (iv) a talk in the Philosophy Department.

Fill out a questionnaire at the end of the semester. 

Attendance policy:

In order to receive a pass, you must satisfy all of the following:

(1) MENTORING REQUIREMENT: you must attend both meetings with your mentor;

(2) SMALL GROUP REQUIREMENT: you must not miss more than two small-group sessions;

(3) ELECTIVE REQUIREMENT: you must attend at least: the two large-group sessions OR one large-group session and one Field Trip OR two Field Trips;

(4) SURVEY REQUIREMENT: you must fill out the end-of-semester survey.

Sessions start on the hour, not on “Berkeley time”. This is so that everyone can get food and discussion can begin by 10 after the hour.

Week 1 (Jan 21): Welcome, TUESDAY 5-6 pm, Howison Library, Moses Hall (3rd Floor)

Welcome meeting

Hearing about the program; meeting your mentor

Week 2 (Jan 27-29): Introductory Meeting

Small group meeting

Goals for the semester; getting to know each other; navigating the university

Week 3 (Feb 3-5): What Is Philosophy?

Small group meeting

Discussion questions: What is philosophy? Why should we study it? What got you interested in philosophy? What are some examples of philosophical problems? What is the value to society of what we do, as philosophers?

[Note that there is a talk on Feb 6th at 4-6PM on Moral Dilemmas; you might want to go and count this as your Field Trip requirement]

Week 4 (Feb 10-12): Truth and Objectivity

Small group meeting

Is there such a thing as ‘objective truth’? In science, in politics, in religion? Is it possible to know things apart from our own cultural background? 

Week 5 (Feb 17-21): Mentoring

One-on-one mentoring meeting

Initial meeting; getting to know you

Week 6 (Feb 24-25): Philosophical Reading and Writing, MONDAY Feb 24, 4-5:30 PM, Howison Library, Moses Hall

Large group meeting, led by Graduate Fellows

Follow-up writing workshop: TUESDAY, Feb 25, Howison Library (optional), 4-5 pm.

Study Break, Feb 27, THURSDAY, 4-6 pm, 301 Moses Hall (optional)

Week 7 (Mar 2-4): Ethics

Small group meeting

What makes an action right or wrong?  When do different ethical theories recommend different actions, and which theory is more convincing?  What is the role of thought-experiments in philosophy?  How are they similar and different from the ‘data’ in other disciplines?

Week 8 (Mar 9-13): Field Trip

Field trip

If you haven’t already, attend a field trip this week.  There is an official visit scheduled to the Bancroft Library Rare Books Collection on March 10.  There are several films showing at the Pacific Film Archive.  You can also visit the Berkeley Art Museum.  Or just take a break and work on your

Week 9 (Mar 16-18): Thinking about the Future

Small group meeting

What challenges do I face in making decisions about what to do in college, after college, and beyond? Strategies for choosing a career or what to do after college. (Freshman and sophomores: strategies for choosing a major. Sections where there’s interest: should I go to philosophy graduate school, and how can I prepare?) How do my grades matter for the future? How can I integrate my intellectual pursuits, my interests, my skills, and my need to make a living?  What is the good life?

SPRING BREAK (Mar 23-27)

Week 10 (Mar 31): What Can I Do with My Degree? TUESDAY Mar 31, 6-7:30 pm, Howison Library, Moses Hall

Large group meeting

Panel with former philosophy majors who are now working in different careers. Statistics and anecdotes. How to think about one’s career.

Week 11 (Apr 6-8): Diversity and Philosophy

Small group meeting

What has been my experience of being a philosopher of a particular gender, race, religion, sexual preference, nationality, socio-economic class, or other identity?  How can we better understand each other’s viewpoints when doing philosophy?  Does and should identity matter when doing philosophy?

Week 12 (Apr 13-17): Mentoring

One-on-one mentoring meeting

Topic of mentee’s choice.  Suggestions: writing, working habits, future plans and goals, positive and negative experiences in philosophy, a philosophical problem of interest.

Week 13 (Apr 20-22): Conversation with a Professor

Small group meeting

Ask a philosophy professor anything that’s on your mind, about philosophy itself or life in the university.

Week 14 (Apr 27-29): Topic TBD

Small group meeting

Topic determined by student interests

CALENDAR BY SMALL-GROUP DAY 

MONDAY SMALL GROUPS

Tuesday Jan 21: Welcome Meeting, Howison Library, Moses Hall, 5-6pm

Monday Jan 27: small group, regular time

Monday Feb 3: small group, regular time

Monday Feb 10: small group, regular time

Week of Feb 17: one-on-one mentoring meeting, sign up for time

Monday Feb 24: large group, Howison Library, 4-5:30pm

Tuesday Feb 25: follow-up workshop, Howison Library, 4-5pm (optional0

Thursday Feb 27: study break, 301 Moses Hall, 4-6pm (optional)

Monday Mar 2: small group, regular time

Week of Mar 9: Field Trip or week off

Monday Mar 16: small group, regular time

Week of Mar 23: Spring Break

Tuesday Mar 31: large group, Howison Library, 6-7:30pm

Monday Apr 6: small group, regular time

Week of Apr 13: one-on-one mentoring meeting, sign up for time

Monday Apr 20: small group, regular time

Monday Apr 27: small group, regular time

TUESDAY SMALL GROUPS 

Tuesday Jan 21: Welcome Meeting, Howison Library, Moses Hall, 5-6pm

Tuesday Jan 28: small group, regular time

Tuesday Feb 4: small group, regular time

Tuesday Feb 11: small group, regular time

Week of Feb 17: one-on-one mentoring meeting, sign up for time

Monday Feb 24: large group, Howison Library, 4-5:30pm

Tuesday Feb 25: follow-up workshop, Howison Library, 4-5pm (optional0

Thursday Feb 27: study break, 301 Moses Hall, 4-6pm (optional)

Tuesday Mar 3: small group, regular time

Week of Mar 9: Field Trip or week off

Tuesday Mar 17: small group, regular time

Week of Mar 23: Spring Break

Tuesday Mar 31: large group, Howison Library, 6-7:30pm

Tuesday Apr 7: small group, regular time

Week of Apr 13: one-on-one mentoring meeting, sign up for time

Tuesday Apr 21: small group, regular time

Tuesday Apr 28: small group, regular time

WEDNESDAY SMALL GROUPS

Tuesday Jan 21: Welcome Meeting, Howison Library, Moses Hall, 5-6pm

Wednesday Jan 29: small group, regular time

Wednesday Feb 5: small group, regular time

Wednesday Feb 12: small group, regular time

Week of Feb 17: one-on-one mentoring meeting, sign up for time

Monday Feb 24: large group, Howison Library, 4-5:30pm

Tuesday Feb 25: follow-up workshop, Howison Library, 4-5pm (optional0

Thursday Feb 27: study break, 301 Moses Hall, 4-6pm (optional)

Wednesday Mar 4: small group, regular time

Week of Mar 9: Field Trip or week off

Wednesday Mar 18: small group, regular time

Week of Mar 23: Spring Break

Tuesday Mar 31: large group, Howison Library, 6-7:30pm

Wednesday Apr 8: small group, regular time

Week of Apr 13: one-on-one mentoring meeting, sign up for time

Wednesday Apr 22: small group, regular time

Wednesday Apr 29: small group, regular time

Guide to the Field Trips

There are four ways of fulfilling the ‘Field Trip’ component of Berkeley Connect.  They are:

Option 1: Going on a tour of the Bancroft Library

Berkeley’s Bancroft Library is one of the country’s leading research libraries.  Find out about it here: http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/libraries/bancroft-library/aboutLinks to an external site.

On March 10, the library is hosting a Berkeley Connect open day.  The library will be offering 30 min tours throughout the day, and you will be able to sign up.

Option 2: Visiting the Berkeley Art Museum

The Berkeley Art Museum is the university’s own contemporary art museum.  We’ll be organizing an informal tour around the galleries.  Again, look out for an email with details on how to sign up.  Alternatively, you can choose to go on your own or with

friends, at a date/time that works for you. 

(Note: admission to BAM is free for Berkeley students.)

Find out what exhibitions are on here: https://bampfa.org/ (Links to an external site.)

Option 3: Going to a movie at the Pacific Film Archive

If you can’t make the day-time field trips, then a good option might be a movie at the Pacific Film Archive.  Simply pick a film that

interests you.

(Note: Berkeley students receive a discount on movies shown at the PFA: all screenings are $5.)

Find out what movies are playing here: https://bampfa.org/ (Links to an external site.)

Option 4: Attending a Philosophy talk

You can attend any of the lectures listed on the Philosophy Events page (up until May 8th):

https://philosophy.berkeley.edu/events/upcomingLinks to an external site.

Talks typically last for an hour, and are usually followed by a discussion period.  This is a great way of finding out what contemporary

philosophers are working on.

Have a look at the events page, and pick a topic that interests you.  Note that if you attend the Workshop in Law, Philosophy, and Political Theory, you need to sign-up ahead of time with Sarah Song ssong@law.berkeley.edu, since there will be a paper to read ahead of time.

*

Note: To get credit for the Field Trips, you can do one of two things:

email your mentor with a few sentences telling them something interesting about your trip;

email your mentor with a photo showing some sort of ‘evidence’ of your trip. [Note that the Bancroft Library does not allow pictures]

Schedule

To find sections for the upcoming semester, search the Schedule of Classes for Philosophy 98BC (for first-year and sophomores) or 198BC (for juniors and seniors).

To help you meet other students who share your experiences and perspectives, Berkeley Connect sections are designated as lower division (first-year students and sophomores), new junior transfers, and upper division (juniors and seniors), but you can enroll in any section that fits your schedule and credit requirements.

How to Sign Up

To participate in Berkeley Connect in Philosophy, you enroll in a designated section of Philosophy 98BC or 198BC (one unit, taken on a Pass/Not Pass basis). Many students chose to enroll for more than one semester. Participation is NOT restricted to declared majors.To sign up, enroll in a Berkeley Connect section when course registration opens.  Please see the Berkeley Connect sections listed above under “Schedule.”

**Read the schedule notes carefully—different sections are designated as primarily for lower-division (freshmen and sophomores), upper-division (juniors and seniors), or junior transfer students.

If you are interested in participating in Berkeley Connect, but course registration is not currently open, you can join the Berkeley Connect Mailing List, and you will be sent more details when the next semester’s information becomes available.

Contact Us

Please see our FAQs.  If you have additional questions about Berkeley Connect in Philosophy, please contact: Professor Timothy Clarke, Faculty Director, tclarke@berkeley.edu.

You can also contact the central Berkeley Connect office at berkeleyconnect@berkeley.edu or (510) 664-4182.

Links & Resources