Philosophy at Semester: Dr. Gary Hartenburg


by Ellie Glover (New York)

Dr. Hartenburg’s goal was to give the students of Summit Semester an introduction to philosophy.

One of the most important things I learned was how to ask good questions. He began his teaching by telling us that “a good question points to its answer”. We took some simple sentences and completely dissected them, word-by-word. We used his technique to evaluate if the question asked was a good question. Another thing I learned is that an important thing to consider in order to understand philosophy is the words you use.

Words, along with their definitions, are important.

They are essential to asking good, strong, questions. On the first day, we got into a 45-minute discussion on coffee, one question leading to three other questions. Philosophy can be very useful but can leave you with more questions than you started with. It’s good to question things, and through using philosophy you can sometimes get to the deeper meaning of things. The last night Dr. Hartenburg asked us to write down the biggest question we had on any topic. Dr. Hartenburg started reading the questions out loud, and they were all difficult questions, some of which don’t have clear answers. I think it was a good thing that we heard the questions of our classmates around us, even though they were hard to hear. It opened our eyes to see what our fellow classmates were going through.

I’m glad Dr. Hartenburg came to Summit Semester. He shared valuable lessons with us, and I think we all learned something, either about philosophy, God, ourselves, or others.