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anyone else think reed may be too small?

vickiousvickious Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
edited April 2008 in Reed College
i've never had the opportunity to visit, but reed's numbers are about the same as my high school (+ the middle school). i really wanted somewhere urban for college, and reed is close enough to portland. i know i could find great academics, but even yet they don't offer classes in one of the studies i find most intriguing and wanted most to study in college- continental philosophy (existentialism, phenomenology, etc.). i'm going to reed unless i get off the waitlist of either u chicago or northwestern, but right now i'm not too excited about it.
Post edited by vickious on

Replies to: anyone else think reed may be too small?

  • liakuliaku Registered User Posts: 88 Junior Member
    Looks like there's an entire course dedicated to Existentialism. I know jack about philosophy, so I can't say what else could be of interest to you on that page, but it seems fairly comprehensive.

    As for size, it really depends on what you mean by "urban". Portland's a city. Reed's by Portland. There's your urban college. Of course, if you mean you want a school with a large student body... it depends on why. Is it diversity you want? Do you just like seeing different faces all the time? I've gone to a high school with 3,000+ students and currently attend a private school where the graduating class numbers at 38. I've got to say that 1,000 sounds like a fine size to me, but I'm of the opinion that the bigger schools just lend themselves to cliques and High School 2.0's. That's just my opinion though.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member

    If you are interested in philosophy, have you read the above?
    Among schools that do not offer the PhD or MA in philosophy, those with the best philosophy faculties would probably include: Amherst College, California Institute of Technology, Dartmouth College , Reed College , University of Vermont , and Wellesley College . But many other good liberal arts colleges and universities that only offer a B.A. have strong philosophy faculties as well (i.e., faculties doing philosophical work at the research university level), for example: Barnard College; Bates College; Brandeis University; California State University at Northridge; Colby College; Colgate University; Davidson College; Franklin & Marshall College; Haverford College; Mt. Holyoke College; Iowa State University; Kansas State University; New College (South Florida); North Carolina State University; Oberlin College; Occidental College; Pomona College; Smith College; Southern Methodist University; Swarthmore College; Trinity University (San Antonio); University of Alabama at Birmingham; University of Delaware; University of Massachussetts at Boston; Vassar College; Virginia Commonwealth University; Wesleyan University; Western Washington University; and College of Willliam & Mary, among others. (This list is not exhaustive; see below for how to evaluate other programs.) St. John's College , the "great books" school at both Annapolis and Santa Fe , offers strong historical coverage of the field, but weaker coverage of contemporary philosophy; still, many St. John's grads do well in admissions to graduate school.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    I would also say - Yes- is the answer to your question.

    I think it is very small.
    Life in the bubble is not ethnically diverse-I have come across Reedies who couldn't possibly be as smart as they think they are ( then again-
    part of that is being 22) -
    choices are limited in profs & classes.

    however, in depth specialization is for grad school.
  • easy13wayouteasy13wayout Registered User Posts: 35 Junior Member
    I get this feeling although I think a smaller school would be nice in its own ways.
  • OdinOdin Registered User Posts: 43 Junior Member
    vickious--I have your same concern. I actually just visited Reed this weekend and spoke to a philosophy professor there. Their department is totally on the "analytic" side of the spectrum, so their style of doing philosophy is closer to the natural sciences (generally, they value clear and precise language, symbolic logic, and linear arguments). I also am into the "Continental" side of things--stuff like Heidegger's phenomenology and Foucault.

    The professor basically told me that they offered no Continental because no faculty member has been trained with that as an area of specialty nor as an area of competence. Apparently the only "Continentalist" left the school and retired a few years ago.

    Besides that, however, a senor religion major told me that it's pretty easy to study Continental philosophers through other disciplines, such as anthropology or literary disciplines. This makes sense because people like Heidegger, Sartre, and Derrida have had a HUGE influence on the softer side of the social sciences and humanities. The umbrella term "Literary Theory" or just "Theory" is oftentimes a hodgepodge for various classic and contemporary philosophers in the "Continental" tradition.

    Maybe you can interdisciplinary major in philosophy and french, or philosophy and english, to get a general coverage of philosophy while an oblique treatment of the Continental philosophers you (and I) prefer.

    Also, maybe take a look at the thesis topics. I happen to be infatuated witb Heidegger now, so the fact that a German senior thesis three years ago was "Ambiguity in Heidegger's Philosophy of Language" really makes the picture rosier than it seems.

    Additionally, if you're pretty set on graduate study of these philosophers (which it seems you are if you care about not studying existentialism and phenomenology), then an undergraduate background in analytic philosophy may actually be an asset. A few grad schools, like UChicago, for example, have a diverse mix of analytic and continental faculty, so you could specialize there. Your analytic background could be useful in "translating" the ideas of phenomenology to something with a mroe analytic bent, such as philosophy of mind, or vice versa.

    But anyway, don't let the absence of Continental philosophers in the philosophy dept. get you down. I was feeling the same thing, but it seems from my visit that with some clever course handling and maybe an interdisciplinary major you can study what your interested in (it just won't be straight up "Philosophy" because of the nature of their dept.).

    Hope these thoughts help.
  • vickiousvickious Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    hey thanks, odin. i emailed a teacher, peter steinberger, who gave me some non-philosophy courses that involve continental philosophy to check out: ben lazier's classes in the history dept, jan mieszkowski's in german, darius rejali's and tamara metz's in po sci, and his classes in po sci. the philosophy dept itself at reed is supposed to be incredible, so my college counselor tells me, and that makes sense because of reed's learn-think-and-defend-your-opinions-ness.
    and it just so happens that i was thinking of double-majoring in french, german, or english. also, the course catalog mentions a class in existentialism- it was not available for 07/08. hmm...
  • tennisdudetennisdude Registered User Posts: 629 Member

    "i emailed a teacher, peter steinberger"

    Peter Steinberger is not just 'a teacher,' he is Dean of the Faculty and a A TOTAL BOSS. The dude is an intellectual giant. Just... yeah. The fact that you sent an email to someone like Steinberger as a prospie and got a response is testament enough to what a special place Reed is, and this experience alone should easily convince you to matriculate.

    (No exaggerations.)
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    he was the interim president when D was a freshman
    She played paintball with him ;)
  • euphoricfoxeuphoricfox Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    peter steinberger is amazing. I have had to go to a few meetings with him. The man is a presence in the room and speaks with total clarity. The last meeting i went to had him and C diver on the board. Exchanging words with both of them is one of the most challenging and fun things i have ever done. Also you should look for the famous stienberger debate on you tube or something if you want to get a taste of what i am talking about.
  • laughablelaughable Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Peter is my current thesis advisor, and I am terrified of emailing him (even for the PIN so I can register), so kudos to vickious! I have had the opporunity of taking two of his courses, on the concept of political judgement and the idea of the state. As far as I am concerned, and notwithstanding the laundry list of other Reed-plusses, he is reason enough to at least strongly consider Reed.

    Anyone who claims that Reed is not large enough to offer an intellectually diverse campus has not encountered the Faculty's dean and former interim college President. This "philsopher dean" represents the mighty yet humble dedication to intellectual rigor fostered by Reed's largely unparalelled faculty.

    As to the specific concern regarding "continental" philsophy study at Reed, others have very adequately answered. I would add only (a) that every thinker inexorably comes back to Plato and Kant, regardless of their intellectual orientation and route of analysis, and (b) all upper-level courses in political thought, literary analysis, anthropology, and art history will offer more than enough oppprtunities to delve into various aspects of traditional "continential" thinkers.
This discussion has been closed.