Thursday, September 25, 2003

The little things

The philosophy department at Rice University lives in the Humanities building, which was built in 2000-2001. Many -- perhaps something slightly more than half -- of my philosophy classes at Rice were in HUM 227, a seminar room with a large table and very comfortable office chairs. This semester, at Brown, I'm taking four philosophy classes and sitting in on one more -- all in the same room. 119 here at Brown seems to me to be roughly analogous to 227 at Rice. Biggest difference: the chairs. Horrible plastic, rigid chairs with desk surfaces attached. Sitting in such a chair for more than about half an hour causes me to become severely uncomfortable. This is problematic, as most of my courses are scheduled for two and a half hours per session. Maybe Brian Leiter should consider adding "chair comfort" to his list of criteria for philosophy department rankings. An accurate report of the situation here would not have tipped the balance from Brown for me, but I can imagine that for some, chairs could be a relevant tie-breaker.

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