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seminars > fall 2013 schedule > seminar: Freedom and the Self


Honors Seminars Fall 2013

Freedom and the Self

HON 296 Sec:001  
3 hours  
GER Cat:
Interdisciplinary Perspectives; Humanities--Philosophy  
Winston Hall 00005  
Dr. Timothy Hinton
Restrictions: N/A  

This seminar explores questions about the nature of human freedom (what would it mean to have free will? do we in fact have freedom of the will, or is everything we do determined by prior causes?) and its relation to being a self (that is, being someone who is aware of herself though time, who does things she recognizes as her own actions, for which she takes responsibility). The seminar is divided into three main parts, each of which circles around the complex concepts of freedom and the self. The first part examines the views concerning freedom and selfhood held by several philosophers: Augustine, Descartes, Spinoza, and Hume. In the second part of the, we turn to the 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.