LS 801: Reflections on Reason and Passion II

Spring 2016  | Dr. Eleanor Stebner

Course Outline:

This course explores a variety of texts that express or reflect upon the human condition and upon the relationships between passions and varieties of action, will, and reason.  There is chronological coherence in the ordering of the texts, but the primary intent is to explore issues and themes that reflect human experiences, feelings, and behaviors.

Course Requirements:

Each seminar will begin with an introduction and a review of contextual issues by the professor. Then one student will present the salient points or issues – as they relate to passion and reason – raised in the texts, followed by general discussion. The week after the seminar, the student responsible for the animation of the session will submit (via email to the class) a summary of the presentation and the class conversation (no more than two pages).

One written assignment (12 to 15 pages) and the submission of weekly journals will be due at the end of the term.

Class Schedule:

January 6      

Genesis, The New Oxford Annotated Bible (New Revised Standard Version)
Epicurus, The Essential Epicurus

January 13

Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
Augustine, Confessions (books 1 through 9)

January 20: Special guest – Dr. Paul Crowe

Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Las Casas, A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies

January 27

Montaigne, On Solitude and/or other selected essays
Descartes, A Discourse on the Method

January 30 (Saturday morning)

Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Sublime and Beautiful

February 3: Special guest – Dr. Steve Duguid

Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality
Kant, What is the Enlightenment?


February 17

Shelley, Frankenstein
Flaubert, Madame Bovary

February 20 (Saturday morning)

Dostoyevsky, Notes from the Underground

February 24

Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilyich
Chopin, The Awakening

March 2: Special guest – Dr. June Sturrock

Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

March 9

Gilman, Herland
Freud, Civilization and its Discontents

March 16

Isherwood, Goodbye to Berlin
Weil, On the Abolition of all Political Parties

March 23: Special guest – Dr. Steve Duguid

Beckett, Waiting for Godot
Nabokov, Lolita

March 30

Taylor, The Malaise of Modernity
Coetzee, Lives of Animals

April 6

Discussion of essays and wrap-up to the seminar

April 11

Essays due