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Instructor: Rory Hanlon. This course meets MWF 1:25 – 2:15 p.m. in CW 105.

This course introduces philosophy through influential writings in the history of Western philosophy. We will cover a wide range of questions spanning much of philosophy and beyond: What makes a life good or happy? What does such a life have to do with being a virtuous person? What is a just political community, and is such justice possible? What can I know about the world, and what might be the limits of such knowledge? What is the nature of the world around us—is it as it appears to be? What am I, most fundamentally and essentially? We will study these questions by the close and sensitive reading a selection of influential texts: Plato’s Republic, Descartes’ Meditations On First Philosophy, Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morality. In reading them, we will treat them as inviting, open, and challenging questions—both familiar and alien, presenting the origins of our own ways of thinking as well as alternative ways to conceive of the world.