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Instructor: C. D. C. Reeve. This course meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 12:00 p.m. – 12:50 p.m. in the FedEx Global Center 1015, with a recitation on Fridays.

The focus of the course is a critical assessment of the attempts made by a series of influential writers and thinkers—some religious, some secular—to understand us, our lives, and our ethical or moral values.

Typically four 3-4 page papers are assigned. There is a final exam.


Week 1 Secular or Religious?

Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus (Hackett)

Week 2-3 The Christian Message and its Presuppositions

Gospel of Matthew (Bible), The Book of Job

Week 4 The Greek Constraint

C. D. C. Reeve, Trials of Socrates: Euthyphro 26-61

Week 4 The Immortality of the Soul

John Perry, A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality

Week 5-6 The Darwinian Challenge

Philip Kitcher, Living With Darwin,

Week 7 The Ontological Argument for the Existence of God

Week 8-9 The Problem of Evil

Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Grand Inquisitor (Hackett)

Week 10 Religious Diversity

Week 11-12 Nietzschean Critique

Friedrich Nietzsche, The Genealogy of Morals

Week 13 Free will?

Week 14-16 Egoism, Altruism, and Happiness

The Book of Job 

C. D. C. Reeve, Trials of Socrates: Apology

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged


Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Grand Inquisitor (Hackett)

Philip Kitcher, Living With Darwin (Oxford)

Friedrich Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals (Cambridge)

John Perry, A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (Signet)

C. D. C. Reeve, Trials of Socrates (Hackett)

Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus (Hackett)

C.D.C. Reeve’s webpage