John Morrison

May 2017

Very poor teacher. I think people like him solely because he's funny. Classes are disorganized and have no relationship to the readings we do. He offers minimal guidance on how to write a philosophy paper and no guidance on what's on the tests. You get tested on everything he says in class, NOT what's in the reading, so the best strategy is to NOT do the readings but instead write down everything he says and memorize it in time for the final. Also write a rough draft of your essays in time to have them reviewed by the TAs before they're due. If you can choose between Adam Blazej and Jake McNulty as TAs I recommend Adam because he's an easier essay grader and he gives out study guides for the midterms (however these study guides don't include EVERYTHING that will appear on the midterm.) I only attended Jake's recitation and he's a much better teacher than Prof Morrison, though. Grade received: A-

May 2017

Professor Morrison is smart, funny (in a silly way), approachable, great at explaining, and passionate. This class is very doable if you take the couple of hours each week to read/understand the readings and go to lecture and TA session. The class was structured really well. -Aquinas/Anslem -Descartes/Elizabeth correspondence -Spinoza -Leibniz -Anne Conway -John Locke -Berkeley -Hume -Kant

Apr 2017

He's a good professor, clear and breaks down the material for you if you don't get it. BUT,.. the material is seriously challenging.. for a 1000 level class. I put in some serious study time every week to be able to 'get it'.

Dec 2016

I took his perception course, and I would definitely recommend it! I am an undergraduate so naturally it was very challenging for me, but the way Morrison presents the material is very clear and straightforward. He is very sweet and funny, and the class is very enjoyable because it is so small and the readings are so engaging. He's really laid back about attendance, I had to miss a few classes for medical reasons and he didn't dock my grade. Overall it was a great class!

Jun 2016

Despite the occasional flub when reading from his slides, as well as a sometimes frustrating ambivalence about just how to relate the material (in other words, having trouble explaining certain concepts), Professor Morrison is very witty and clearly dedicated to his students' success. If you need to fulfill your Quantitative Reasoning requirement and are unsure about which class to enroll in, I do recommend taking Professor Morrison's course. Just make sure to attend, because it will really help with the tests (which are always steeped in whatever material has been discussed, with no unpleasant surprises).

Nov 2013

One of the BEST professor you could ever have! Funny, smart, approachable, what else could anyone ask for? Despite having two TAs, I went three times to his office hours and he was so nice! And the TAs themselves are very helpful! By the way, I'm taking this course right now and I'm a freshman. It's quite easy if you keep up with the reading and homework, but more importantly, it's fun! Professor Morrison is pretty straightforward concerning the exams material, telling you exactly what you need to know to get a good grades. The class's average is quite high in the two midterms we've had, so it's not hard or confusing. He's also easy on the homework: it's only 10% of the grade and you just have to submit it before the exam! but the catch is that you don't earn any credit for it. But if you submit it before next class you earn full credit.

Nov 2013

DO NOT. DO NOTTTTT TAKE THIS CLASS. I was a freshman when I took this class and I am psychology major now. I can honestly say this is the worst class I will probably take in my four years. It was so disorganized, confusing, and mind-numbingly boring. Granted, the curve was gracious. But in the end, that did not make up for the stress I went through before the midterm and final. Just don't do it. Don't. DO NOT.

Nov 2013

I took this class to fulfill my QR requirement, and have no background in either philosophy, cs or math. After everything I had read on Culpa, I thought this intro class would be quite good, even enjoyable. Boy, was I mistaken. All other reviews notwithstanding, this professor clearly has absolutely no interest in teaching this course currently. This is a shame, as I had spoken directly to two of his previous students who raved about him, and can see where it would be interesting subject matter if I didn't have to literally teach it to myself with the help of a tutor (which I pay for out of my own pocket). The major problem is that Professor Morrison doesn't teach. He distributes slides before class, then posts the slides up on a projector and reads them, word for word, to the class. When he's done reading, class is over, which usually occurs about 40 minutes early. Class that's scheduled to last for 80 minutes usually ends in about 35-40 minutes. While many students might think it's great to get out early, I would prefer to actually be taught the material and the methods behind doing things like proofs, not have someone read me his slides verbatim then slip out when class is barely half over. He does ask before he concludes if anyone has any questions, but is generally met with blank stares, so takes this as meaning everyone magically absorbed the material he just read to them. He does offer review time in class before each exam, which is probably the only time the classes run closer to their full scheduled time. This is quite helpful, but it's difficult to review practice questions when you have no idea how to do a proof. His mantra is "to get comfortable with proofs you have to practice them about 1000 times." That's terrific, but I wouldn't exactly be able to sit down at the piano to practice Chopin if I had never been taught how to read the music. The TAs hold "office hours" 2x/week (in cafeteria lounges with loud music and TVs on the walls), and a review session prior to each exam, but are not required to attend the classes, so if you ask them a question about something that was presented in class, they have no context. Given the previous reviews, I can only think there is something else the professor is currently focused on. Upcoming tenure, publishing a book, I'm not sure, but whatever it is, his focus certainly is not on this class, and at a tuition cost per-student in excess of $4000, that's not exactly good value for my money. If you have a philosophy, mathematics or cs background, you'll probably be in good shape for this class. Anyone else, you might want to look elsewhere for a Core requirement or elective choice.

Jan 2013

If there's one word to describe Introduction to Logic with Morrison, it's straightforward. Firstly, let's look at the grading scheme: Three Exams, each 30%, and Homework Problems worth 10%. The homework problems are from the textbook and are given 8/10 points just based on submission of an answer; this is one of those classes in which I'd assume everyone does decently well on the homework since there's little excuse to actually get a problem wrong. Homeworks are recommended to be done concurrently with lecture, but are only due before the test which covers that material, so it's possible to only submit the HWs right before those tests and get full credit. The exams are heavily based on the lectures. Morrison's lectures are concise and clear, and are very focused on definitions. For example, with each new term you learn like "tautological consequence" you'd have a definition of the term, then examples in which it is applied in potential problems. Exams take the potential problems that are found in these lecture notes and either repeat them or expand on them. For this semester, the first two midterms had questions that were simpler than or equivalent to the practice problems, while the final featured two "advanced" problems that were decently difficult (even though we had received advanced practice problems). All in all, this is a class in which you can undoubtedly get an A. I did not attend lectures, but just by studying all of the lecture notes & understanding the definitions, then doing all practice problems provided, found it quite easy to ace every test. I expect that people who didn't do well either: A) Underestimated the need to study - while logic is often intuitive, you can't take it for granted that you'll be able to solve problems. Without studying you could definitely have done poorly on the tests as doing the practice problems helped me gain an intuition on how to solve certain puzzles; also, in a logic test, you can't BS at all. B) Fell behind and didn't review to make it up - the entire course does build on itself so it's important to go through all the lecture notes and understand everything. People tend to do decently well on the tests, so even missing one question may bump you down a fair bit. Note that an A+ is possible but quite difficult to achieve even if you score well on everything. To sum up, the ambition of this course is truly its name: it is NOT complex; for anyone who's taken Symbolic Logic, that course is way more difficult. Morrison does a good job of providing clear and helpful notes and enough studying makes an A achievable.

Jun 2012

I highly recommend this course/professor/TA. First: the professor. Morrison is one of the nicest, smartest professors I have had so far at Columbia. He's very approachable, and if you have any questions at all you can meet with him in his office hours. He makes lots of endearing jokes (which aren't always funny. but that's why they're awesome). Also, he's so enthusiastic about everything! He really loves what he's doing, especially when we get to Spinoza (which is his favorite). next: the TAs. I had Mark as a TA and he is FANTASTIC. his discussion sections were really interesting. He's so smart and explains even the toughest concepts in a way that everyone will understand. He's a very very fair grader- he wants you to do well! Meet with him in office hours to go over the paper topics and fine tune your arguments.Also the day he lectured the class confirmed that he will make an amazing professor one day. and finally: the class. It wasn't an easy A class. You can definitely do it, but if you go to lecture/don't read or read/don't go to lecture you'll have to work a lot harder to get that A. Trust me, trust me, it's worth it to do both. The material is interesting, and the lectures are enjoyable. It's a good way to get introduced to philosophy, or John is a great professor to have when you are finishing up your philosophy major requirements.

Apr 2012

You know its trouble when the Professor consistently sends out answer sheets containing incorrect answers. It is not cool to assume students will take it as a joke. The scatterbrained professor act only works so long--after that real insight and precision would be most appreciated. This is a case of not being prepared, or just being too full of superior knowledge to condescend to us plebs until we are full initiates into the mysteries of logic. Really, it's too bad, as this should be a challenging course, rather than a visit to the Mad Hatter's tea party!

Jan 2012

John Morrison teaches Intro to Logic (NOT SYMBOLIC). There were tons of GS students in this class though he told them all to get out the first day because he wanted to focus on the pleibs. ie. freshman. But they didnt and therefore the class got kind of confusing. You must go to all the lectures because you'll find it hard to understand the slides without his explanation of his examples. He makes TONS of inside jokes/examples to himself and to those in the class who watch whatever shows he watches. I liked the class it just and him as a teacher but I think the class size may have hindered the material. Because the class is basically like geometry proofs minus the geometry it think it would have been more helpful if he had made his office hours more clear. The TA's were the ones who taught you it if you didnt get something but because its a proof that can be attacked from many different angles, it became hard to see how JoMo wanted you to articulate the proof. You also have to buy a 120$ book that MUST BE NEW bc it comes with a CD that MUST BE NEW because it registers you and your answers via an internet connection. If your computer craps out frequently before class when you're doing your HW your'e screwed. You only get to drop 4 HW (you get hw everyday) and if you average above an 80 it can bring your grade up somewhat. This semester he curved all tests but the final. Grade Recieved: B