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current students > seminars > fall 2012 schedule > seminar: Freedom, the Self, and the Good


Honors Seminars Fall 2012

Freedom, the Self, and the Good

HON 296 Sec:001  
3 hours  
GER Cat:
Interdisciplinary Perspectives  
Winston 005  
Dr. Timothy J. Hinton
Associate Professor
Restrictions: Freshmen Only  

Restricted to first semester UHP freshmen.

This seminar is divided into four main parts, each of which circles around the complex concepts of freedom, the self, and the good. The first part begins by examining Plato's ethics, and is centered on the question of what counts as living a good life. We will also look at other ancient philosophers who developed some of Plato's ideas. In the second part of the seminar, we take up the question of the place of freedom and reason in the moral life. Our focus will be on Kant's brilliant but puzzling attempt to show how freedom, reason and morality are inextricably linked. We will also look at Kant's account of the origin of evil. In the third part of the seminar, we turn to the twentieth century doctrine of existentialism, at the heart of which is a radical commitment to human freedom. We will examine both the case for existentialism as well as several important philosophical criticisms of it. The seminar ends with a reading of three twentieth century novels whose characters concern themselves with the sorts of questions we will have been thinking about: Graham Greene's The End of the Affair, Albert Camus's The Stranger and Walker Percy's The Moviegoer.