Personal Identity and Choice|
Fall 2006 not offered
We will explore philosophical reflections on the problem of personal identity, and its relationship to matters of choice and freedom. How do certain experiences and thoughts and physical materials compose one self? Am I the same person over time even through complete transformations of experience, thought and material? Can I choose which elements of my existence to count as essential? Some argue the concept of a unified and enduring self partakes of illusion; at the other extreme some argue for the permanent integrity of individual souls. Regarding choice and freedom, we find a related debate, ranging from those who deny free will altogether to those who define humanity's essence in terms of choice and agency. Might we coherently say that some human selves can have more integrity, and others less? What gives a measure of meaningful coherence to a person's life? Similarly, can we distinguish some choices as more free than others? What makes for meaningful choice? Besides serving as an introduction to philosophical reasoning, the course will draw interdisciplinary connections on themes such as social identities, religious experience, political freedom, and legal responsibility.
Ethical Reasoning, Writing
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: Student Option|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (PHIL)(PHIL-Philosophy)(PHIL-Social Jus)(SISP-Phil Ethic)(SISP-Phil Mind)
Readings include both classic and contemporary philosophical texts, along with some material from related social science fields.
|Examination and Assignments: |
Evaluation will focus on weekly writing, discussion, participation in peer critique, revison of writing, and a final essay.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
No previous philosophy is required, although students should be prepared to engage in some dense reading and argument analysis.