Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit

May 2002

Preliminary note: this review is written prior to the reception of a final grade, if this means anything to those of you reading this. Contrary to what another reviewer has more or less suggested (and I apologize if I'm interpreting incorrectly), Professor Carman is no philosophy fascist: there IS such a thing as right and wrong, over which there is such a thing as interpretive disagreement. If you're going to disagree--back it up. If you're going to disagree with Professor Carman on Heidegger--well, good luck and back it up real well. Professor Carman has an enormous amount of integrity and respect for the philosophers he studies; by the simple fact of his own attitude toward philosophy, he motivates students to respond in kind. His interpretations are highly textually based and draw on an incredible amount of knowledge and thought. He is friendly and receptive to open disagreement, but he will also correct a misunderstanding--which is an incredibly important thing that many reputedly "nice" professors fail to do. He deliberates carefully before responding to questions, and will do his best to understand the point of confusion, point of interpretive disagreement, or point of simple stupidity (if necessary). I would personally think two or three times before coming to the conclusion that a poor grade on a paper was due to the professor's personal dictatorial tendencies. In any case, I highly recommend Professor Carman to any and all who want to see what philosophy is all about. As a graduating senior, I can say conclusively that my two courses with Professor Carman have been the highlight of my philosophy studies here.