Since I arrived at Lycoming College one week before classes start, my choice was somewhat restricted when I was choosing classes for my fall semester as a freshman. Some of classes that I intended to enroll into were already full, but my academic adviser was patient to find classes that would fit my schedule and my interest. And this is how I ended up in my Introduction to Political Philosophy class.
Though I loved the philosophy lessons I had as part of my French class at High School, I was reluctant to take the class, thinking that the college discussions on philosophy will be more advanced. I had the stereotypical conception of a philosophy class as being one where I must buy or read big books that I would see in the college library, and reflect on the meaning of things that surround me.
It was not surprising that the class entailed a lot of readings. However, the assigned readings were engrossing, and broadened my perspective on the political system in the world and governmental policies. Some of the assigned readings were: The Federalist Papers by Hamilton and Madison, The Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels, and Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes. Among these, I enjoyed reading and discussing The Communist Manifesto in class. When I had to read it, I thought that it would be a long and dry reading. However, it was so well-written, brilliantly cultivated, and at some instances intriguing. While Marx might have envisaged a “classless” society, I believe that this might be impossible for humanity because man is still not prepared for it. Nevertheless, though written in the 19th Century, the Communist Manifesto is still relevant today when we assess the tensions between capital and labor.
The topics that we studied, which included state of nature, sovereignty, political economy and rights, were engaging and encouraged the students to consider debatable ideas. I nevertheless had some difficulties grasping what was being discussed in class.Even though I read the assigned materials, there were days when I could not relate the class discussions to the assigned readings. After scoring less than the average class scores in the first quiz, I went to see my peer tutor. With his help, I better understood the readings, and I gradually developed new perspectives that I would share during class discussions with my classmates or during tutoring with my peer tutor.
When I came to Lycoming College, I never thought that I would end up taking a Philosophy class. However, I did it and I liked that class. Maybe this is one of the wonders of a liberal arts college like Lycoming: you wander intellectually and you embark on an unexpected journey. To find more about a Liberal Arts Education at Lycoming, click below!