A Cat and Some Sparkly Uggs

This photo was taken by a student.

This photo was taken by a student.

One day, after feeling very discouraged by the sense that my students “didn’t get” why it was worth talking about gender, race, and other social justice issues as we were in my feminist philosophy class, I started with an impromptu mini-lecture on Ugg boots and hermeneutic horizons. As the semester came to an end and I read over their final papers, I quickly realized that the concept of a hermeneutic horizon was one idea that really stuck with my students. I’ve continued to bring it up in my classes when it seems helpful. Which is often. Here’s a video that explains it with respect to thinking, responsibility, and identifying empowering possibilities for change.

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5 thoughts on “A Cat and Some Sparkly Uggs

  1. Pingback: Person vs. Lying Robot: A Lesson In Ethics | Cori Wong

  2. Something else I have not heard! i have tried to explain this exact feeling and position to a number of friends, with little success. But, hopefully after reading this I will be able to! Cheers!

  3. Seeking the outer edge of the spectrum, broadening the hermeneutic horizon — I once had somebody sign a book to me that way. To be honest, I see it most with 11:11 and other such numerological superstition — and I’ve seen that one make true-believers out of otherwise levelheaded people.

    Philosophy is worth studying because philosophy matters. It matters the most. Philosophy matters the most because humans evolved neither the trunks of elephants, nor the necks of giraffes, nor the claws of bears, nor the balls of bulls, but the brains of homo sapiens, with a capacity to think. And thoughts shape deeds. Our deeds define us.

    • Hey nostalgicnic. I’m glad that you found this to be helpful. It’s an easy thing to relate to our experiences, and it becomes really powerful when we understand it in terms of the bias of our attention because it means that we have a choice about the things that we think “don’t concern us.” (Maybe we should just concern ourselves more with it…)

      My example has backfired in a way, though. People always think of it in terms of those sparkly Uggs!!! A former student posted this on my Facebook timeline yesterday with the caption, “Just when you think your hermeneutic horizon can’t get wider.” It’s pretty funny.

      Anyway, thanks for reading along and sharing your comment! Cheers!

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