College of Arts and Sciences | Concepts of Self: East and West
C103 | 29246 | Stalnaker, A.

COLL-C 103 29246 Concepts of Self:East and West (Stalnaker, A.:
Religious Studies) (A & H) (3 cr.)

1:25 - 2:15PM MW
See Schedule of Classes for discussion section times

It is a truism that different cultures propound different visions of
human life.  But what are we as contemporary residents of an
increasingly heterogeneous nation to make of this diversity?  Do we
have any rational basis for evaluating the alternative possibilities
for life presented by different religious and philosophical
traditions?  This course examines important, indeed classic,
statements on the nature of human existence from the ancient and
modern West and from East Asia, and endeavors to sensitively compare
these diverse visions of human life without capitulating to nihilism,
relativism, or self-satisfied cultural chauvinism.  We examine
influential representatives of several traditions, including
Confucianism, Daoism, Christianity, Marxism, and contemporary
democratic political theory.  Recurring issues include the character
and relation of reason and emotion; the nature and source of saving
dispositions; understandings of the relation of our more animal and
more human sides; problems in life that deform the self; the need, if
any, for transcendent influences to actualize the self; the form of
and rationale for various practices of self-cultivation; and the
relation of individual and communal flourishing.  All readings are in
English or English translation.