LS 801:  Reason and Passion II

Spring 2017  | Dr. Stephen Duguid

Course Description:

This course explores a variety of texts that express or reflect upon the human passions and upon the relationship between those passions and the realms of action, will, and reason. While there is some chronological coherence in the ordering of the texts, the primary intent is to examine issues and themes that reflect human experiences, feelings and behaviours.

Course Requirements:

Following an introduction and a review of contextual issues by the instructors, each week one or more students will be asked to present the salient points or issues (as they relate to passion and reason) raised in one of the readings, followed by general discussion and debate. The week after the class, the student responsible for the animation of the discussion will submit (via e-mail to the class) a two/three page summary of the presentation and the class discussion. In addition there will be one written assignments over the course of the term and students will keep a journal of responses to texts and seminars

Course Outline:

Week 1 (4 Jan)  Aeschylus, The Oresteia

Week 2 (11 Jan)  Aristotle, Ethics/Seneca, Letters from A Stoic

Week 3 (18 Jan)  Mencius/ Bhagavad Gita

Week 4 (25 Jan)  Euripides, Medea; Letters of Heloise and Abelard

Week 5 (1 Feb)  Sarah Bakewell, How to Live: A Life of Montaigne

Saturday (4 Feb)  Descartes, Discourse on Method

Week 6 (8 Feb)  Kant, “What Is Enlightenment?” Onora O’Neill “Vindicating Reason”; J.B. Schneewind,  “Autonomy, obligation, and virtue: An overview of Kant’s Moral Philosophy”

Reading Break 13-19 February

Week 7 (22 Feb)  Wollstonecraft, Letters from Sweden, Rousseau, “Fifth Walk” in Reveries of A Solitary  Walker

Week 8 (1 March)  Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents

Week 9 (8 March)  Goethe, The Sorrows of Young Werther/Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse,   Elizabeth Smart, By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept

(Saturday 11 March)   Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

Week 10 (15 March)  Dickens, Hard Times, Karl Marx, Preface to the Critique of Political Economy; Theses on Feuerbach, Martha Nussbaum, “Fancy” in Poetic Justice: The Literary Imagination and Public Life

Week 11 (22 March)  Virginia Woolf, Room of One’s Own/ Tolstoy, The Kreutzer Sonata

Week 12 (29 March)  Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground/Camus, The Outsider

Week 13 (5 April)  J.M. Coetzee, The Lives of Animals/ Ibsen, Enemy of the People