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A presentation by Chauncey C. Riddle, 7 April 2017, Firm Foundation Expo held at Utah Valley University. (Originally a Powerpoint presentation.)
This is a collection of the works of Dr. Chauncey C. Riddle.
It has been said that three of the greatest teachers to grace the halls of Brigham Young University in my generation were Hugh Nibley, Arthur Henry King, and Chauncey Riddle.
I have to be careful. He may not let me publish this site if I praise him too highly, (that is partly why I keep the password to this blog!)
He has been likened to a modern day Socrates; a latter-day Socrates. Socrates taught with questions; Chauncey taught with questions. Socrates never wrote much that was published. In fact, if it wasn’t for his more famous students Aristotle and Plato, the world may not have known much about Socrates. But Socrates inspired the greatest philosophical thinkers throughout all of history. His students sat daily face to face with greatness.
As far as I know Chauncey wrote a book called “A Generalization of Tolstoy’s Theory of Art” in 1951, his unpublished doctoral dissertation at Columbia University in 1958 called, “Karl Person’s Philosophy of Science,” and “Think Independently” in 2009, long after his retirement from BYU.
When I was sixteen years old I was given a printed collection of notes that two students took from a class of Dr. Riddles in 1965, the year before I was born. The top of the talk was ripped off but it was about what he called “The Deadening Sensation.” I later found the title of the paper was “The Path to Redemption” and it was a class taught by Dr. Chauncey Riddle. It changed my life. I got to know several of his students who passed me another talk now and again and I was enthralled with the clarity of his thought process. I went to an Education Week lecture or two of his and was even more amazed at the bright light of his understanding.
Chauncey says his entire mission is to turn people to Christ by getting them to think.
I tried a few times to play golf. I can actually pick up the ball and throw it better than hitting it with those sticks. One technique that worked for me was to look far down the fairway at the hole, then to find a small item as a landmark that was much closer to me. If I focused on the small landmark, I was hitting in the same direction as the hole, but I could keep it in sight while I swung the club. That is what Chauncey is to me and countless others in relation to becoming like Christ and finding truth, and turning us in the direction of Christ and truth.
I heard he was about to retire. I had just finished my degree at the University of Utah after two years at the United States Naval Academy and two years on an LDS mission to South Carolina. I decided to move my family to Provo, Utah, so I could take one class from Dr. Riddle. I was compelled to. I enrolled and audited the class during the summer prior to his final year of teaching. It was Philosophy 110.
I was told (or warned) that it would be rigorous, but I had no idea.
The first day of class Dr. Riddle told us of his unorthodox grading regimen. He graded from 0 to 12. If I remember a 9 or 10 was considered to be an A. He told us that he wasn’t sure that anybody would be able to get a 12 on an assignment. I learned later that to receive a 12, he had to receive revelation that the student had received revelation or inspiration about the assignment. My first grade on a paper was a 2. I had a 0 or two. I was half way through the course and my highest grade was a 6. I had considered myself rather bright.
He taught us how to ask questions; all different kinds of questions. He taught us about systems thinking, strategies, metaphysics, epistemology, language, and worldviews. He helped us compare summaries of each philosophical and theological thought process and models to each of the others. We had to come to class fully prepared by having read the entire assignment(s) and having three well thought out questions written out and prepared. He cared more about thoughtful questions than answers.
I was putting in more time on this class than my full time workload at the U of U or Annapolis, and loving it. I was learning. I was thinking. I wasn’t cramming for a test, or psyching out a professor. I was lifting heavy loads with merely my neurons. I honestly remember my brain hurting. I was obsessed with getting a 12. I had finally achieved an 8, then one 9.
Dr. Riddle said sometimes an idea was so strong it might be a pure concept. He said sometimes it didn’t need lots of words. Towards the end of the class he gave us an especially difficult assignment. I saw other students finish it early. Some with as little as 8 pages, or as much as 25. I couldn’t get around the fact that I strongly felt I could encompass everything he was asking me on one single piece of paper; in a table, almost a picture. I understood it completely, and it was simple. Too simple for a long drawn out writing assignment; just because I could. I remembered Mark Twain, “I didn’t have time to write you a short letter.” But now I had time. And I knew.
I knew he would know.
I turned it in.
I got a 12.
I’ve never forgotten that day.
I am no Aristotle or Plato. I am just Ken Krogue, my day job is President and Co-Founder of InsideSales.com. I’m the volunteer webmaster for this site, and a former student of Dr. Riddle who convinced him to let me make this site available to future generations of students. I spent several years and over 350 hours transcribing his talks and audio recordings into this collection. If there are typing or grammatical errors, they are mine. I learned to type 75 words per minute in the process and gained temporary discipline to get up day after day at 5am. I call it my “Masters Degree in Thinking.”
The views contained on this site are merely thoughts and reflections on the doctrines of Christ and philosophy. Dr. Riddle does not claim to speak for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His only goal (and he has reminded me of this even this week) is not to focus on Chauncey Riddle, but to turn people to Christ.
I welcome any and all other students, friends, and colleagues of Dr. Riddle to join me in this celebration of his life’s work by making it available to others.
We are pulling together an Editorial Board of interested parties to work on this blog and another website called www.RiddleAcademy.com that will be based loosely on the Khan Academy concept.
We hope to make the curriculum and thought process Dr. Riddle taught through his own version of the Socratic method and by the Spirit of Christ for 40 years, available to future generations. Please email me at kkrogue (at) gmail.com if you want to help, just want to read, or have additional materials, thoughts, ideas, or questions.
Why am I doing this? I want more people (including my kids) to learn to think.
Like I did.
Come join me on the journey.