Introduction to Great Works (PHIL 110.001)

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Instructor: Megan Mitchell. This course meets Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11:00AM – 11:50AM in Caldwell 105.

This course will explore many dimension of a perennial problem in philosophy: As necessarily embodied creatures, what is and what ought to be our relationship with the world and each other? We begin with one hugely influential answer to the question of how we ought to relate to each other and structure our political lives in Plato’s Republic. We will move from there to a different understanding of this broad question as Descartes wonders if, given the sort of creatures we are, we can know whether we or the external world exists and Hume gives us reason to doubt our everyday inferences concerning the relationship between objects in the world. Next, we examine the views of Hobbes and Mill on human nature and what that means for how we do and should interact with one another. Finally, time permitting we will turn to the works of W.E.B. DuBois and Marilyn Frye for a very different perspective on what it means to be embodied in our world. At each turn, we will find philosophers puzzling over and theorizing about how human limitations present challenges for knowledge of and interaction with each other and the world.

Please note: Some seats in this class have been reserved for freshmen and sophomores.

This course satisfies the PH general education requirement.

Megan Mitchell’s webpage