August 31, 2003

Mercer, Christia Silver_nugget
[PHIL V2201] History of Philosophy II: Aquinas to Kant

Please keep in mind that this review is more than 5 years old.

Professor Mercer is fantastic- easily one of the best profs IÂ’ve had at Columbia so far. Her lectures are entertaining, upbeat, and witty. Most remarkably, she manages to keep even the driest and most theoretical philosophers relevant (which sometimes entails throwing things across the classroom). If you take her feminism and philosophy class, you might get a few funny stories about her son. SheÂ’s also incredibly approachable and helpful outside of the classroom (I visited her office hours pretty frequently throughout the year and IÂ’m usually terrified of talking to my professors).

Mercer often doesnÂ’t entertain self-indulgent remarks made by students who donÂ’t really know what theyÂ’re talking about- which perhaps explains some of the complaints made about her not tolerating criticism. I canÂ’t recall her ever shutting a student down unfairly, and IÂ’m pretty sure most of the class was relieved when she occasionally chose to cut a student off. I also donÂ’t understand the complaints about MercerÂ’s grading- I found her to be one of the least arbitrary graders IÂ’ve had. She has fairly high but reasonable standards- if you demonstrate a good grasp of the material, youÂ’ll get an A. And the workload is not bad, either.

Workload:

Couple short papers (about 6 pgs), midterm, final.