Making Sense of Ourselves — Honors (PHIL 112H)

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Instructor: Gregory Salmieri. This course meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00-3:15PM.

Man has traditionally been defined as “the rational animal,” and reason’s role in human life has been a recurrent theme in philosophy, science, and literature from Ancient Greece to the present. In this course we will explore reason’s role in life by reading and discussing works of literature (including Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground, and Rand’s Atlas Shrugged) and extracts from the works of such thinkers as Plato, Aristotle, Bacon, Hume, Freud, and Marx.

Issues addressed will include: the role of reason in the production of the material goods we need to survive, the relation between reason and emotion, what role reason can and does play in guiding our actions, the role of reason in morality, and the relation between reason and sense-perception.

The course will be reading intensive, and students are encouraged (though not required) to at least begin the three literary works mentioned above before the beginning of term.

Gregory Salmieri’s webpage