Brian Robinson

Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Category: Teaching

Responding to Egoism

I’ve been teaching ethics since 2006, and just about every semester I teach the problem of ethical egoism. In short, that problem is: Why should I do what’s right if it’s not in my self-interest. To me, this is THE central question in ethics. Continue reading

New Job: Texas A&M University-Kingsville

I’m very excited to announce that I’ve accepted a tenure-track position as an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, starting this fall. I’ll be joining Jeff Glick and Emil Badici as the philosophers in the Department of History, Political Science and Philosophy.

Logic Joke

I wanted to start my logic class this semester with a good logic joke. Logic can sometimes feel dull and boring to students, so setting a humorous tone from the start of term can be helpful. So I told them this joke, which is a modified (and more morally and socially acceptable version of another you may know). Feel free to steal it.

Last week a new neighbor moved into the house across from mine. As one does with new neighbors, I went over to meet him and we got to talking. He asked what I did, and I told him I was a professor. When he inquired what I taught, I said, “Logic.”

He was curious and said, “Logic, what’s that?”

“Let me give you an example,” I said. “Do you own a lawnmower?”

“Yes.”

“Well, I infer from this that you know how to use your lawnmower.”

“Yeah, that’s right.”

“Well, I infer from this that you learned how to use your lawnmower by reading the instruction manual.”

“Right again.”

“So then I can infer that you know how to read.”

“Of course.”

“There you go. That’s logic.”

My new neighbor was impressed. A few days later, he was talking with some old friends when he mentioned that one of his new neighbors was a logic professor. His friend then asked, “Logic, what’s that?”

My neighbor, full of confidence, said, “Let me give you an example. Do you own a lawnmower?”

“No.”

“What are you, illiterate?”

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Term Ends, but with Sadness

The fall term is over. It’s been a very busy one, and there were many interesting and exciting things to report. But I can’t now, though maybe later. I found out on Monday that one of my students was hit and killed by a car over the weekend. She was only 19. The class felt odd and empty with her empty chair this morning during the final exam. Though some students already knew, I didn’t have the heart to tell the whole class before their final. But I did tell them afterward. What a terrible, tragic way to end a semester. In memoriam, Jessie Winterholler.

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