PHIL 13185-3: On the Origins of the Self

Instructor: Watson

Philosophy University Seminar

Like all university seminars, this one will be writing intensive with approximately twenty-pages of required writing (and in some cases revising) over the course of the semester. In addition, each student will be expected to make a seminar presentation. Procedures: Our objective will be to examine major writings on the historical development and cultural relevance of the concept of the self. To this end we will attempt come to grips with these authors’ positions, to come to decision and judgment regarding the validity, veracity and relevance of their accounts and arguments -- and thus to acquire an initial introduction to the discipline of Philosophy. This course will proceed as a seminar, beginning each session with a student presentation (précis).

Books: The Oedipus Plays of Sophocles (Roche translation: Meridian). Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics (Irwin translation: Hackett). Saint Augustine, Confessions (Pine Coffin trans. Penguin) Hobbes, Leviathan, Macpherson trans. Penguin. Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling (Princeton) Sartre, Existentialism and Human Emotions (Citadel). This seminar will focus on an historical introduction to problems concerning the origins of the self and human subjectivity. Texts will include selections from Sophocles, Aristotle, Saint Augustine, Hobbes, Montaigne, Kierkegaard, Sartre, Beauvoir and Gadamer. The above texts are available at the bookstore (others will be provided).

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