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Junior Colloquium: Philosophy and Social Inquiry

CSS 371
Spring 2016
Section: 01  
Certificates: Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory

One of the themes of the sophomore colloquium is that modern industrial society is distinctive in human history--that its forms of organization, its principal activities, and the principles and values on which it rests make it fundamentally different from what has preceded it. This junior colloquium, mindful that the sophomore colloquium ended with social theory up to World War I, will continue to develop this theme, but now with works written since World War II. The course will focus on five post-World War II philosopher/social theorists who have developed compelling large-scale theories about the nature of modern society: Hannah Arendt, Jurgen Habermas, Francis Fukuyama, Friedrich Hayek, and Michel Foucault.

The course focuses on these five in part because they are great thinkers who have deep things to say about how we live and how we ought to live today, but also in part because they appropriate materials studied in the sophomore colloquium: Habermas attempts to amend and extend Marx's thought; Fukuyama, the thought of Hegel; Hayek, that of Adam Smith and liberal economists; Foucault, that of Nietzsche; and Arendt's book reads like a meditation not only on the classical Greek philosophy of Aristotle and Plato, but also on the entire corpus of the sophomore colloquium reading list.

The course also has the aim of reflecting on the nature of social science, especially in relation to its role in modern society. Thus, it will also explore various aspects of the question, What is involved in social inquiry of the sort studied in the government, economics, and history tutorials in the CSS? As a result, the course is also a course in the metatheory of social analysis ("metatheory" because it investigates theories about theories of social life). Another reason for picking the five social theorists for the course is that in addition to being important social theorists, they also provide important metatheories of the social studies: Habermas's critical theory, Foucault's genealogy, Hayek's individualism, Fukuyama's idealism, and Arendt's anti-behaviorism.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS PHIL
Course Format: Lecture / DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (CSCT)(CSS)
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on MAY-18-2024
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