|Time||Days||Location||Instructor||GER||Credit||OPUS Class Number||Syllabus (Tentative)|
Rich Building 104
In this course, the philosophy of René Descartes will serve as a thread connecting questions and readings from the major areas of philosophy from the ancients to contemporary thinkers. We will begin with Plato, Aristotle, Epictetus, and Sextus Empiricus to introduce and to situate the major questions and subject matter of the course, which include: what the essences of things are and in what way they exist; whether and how knowledge is possible; what the soul is and how it relates to the body; what is good for human beings and how they ought to live and act; what reason is. We will then turn to Descartes’ account of his education and his project to rebuild the “house” of his knowledge on the foundation of the insight that “I think, therefore I am.” In the second half of the course, we will consider some recent philosophical views that have been posed in relation to Descartes’ work: the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl; Emmanuel Lévinas’ position that ethics is first philosophy; the debate between Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida on the relation of meaning and context; Genevieve Lloyd’s observation that philosophical reason is gendered; and the subordination of the body and of non-human animals in Cartesianism. We will also read a short text on fallacies of reasoning throughout the semester.
Required Textbooks, Articles, and Resources
- Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy . ISBN: 9780872204201.
- The Handbook . ISBN: 9780915145690 .
- Nonsense: Red Herrings, Straw Men and Sacred Cows . ISBN: 9780975366264 .
- Cartesian Meditations: An Introduction to Phenomenology . ISBN: 9789024700684.
- Five Dialogues . ISBN: 9780872206335.
|Assignment/Exam||Details||% of Total Grade|
|Active participation, weekly reflection papers, quizzes, and two or three papers.|
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