English 177

Literature and Philosophy

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2016 Zhang, Dora
TTh 2-3:30 Note new location: 200 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

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This class will be organized around three questions that have been of perennial concern to literary writers and philosophers: who are we? What can we know? How should we live? We’ll read a wide range of texts that respond to these questions in different ways, addressing issues such as: the nature of the self, social constructions of identity, truth and lying, faith and uncertainty, individualism and collectivity, power and knowledge, the claims of others (including animals), and the relations between humans and the environment. Along the way we will also think about the intersections between philosophy and literature, the unique constraints and possibilities of each genre, and what it means to read them together.

Sample authors include: Plato, Descartes, Hume, Berkeley, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, Fanon, Arendt, Foucault, Barthes, Montaigne, Mary Shelley, Borges, Kafka, Stevens, Coetzee, David Foster Wallace. (Final reading-list to be determined; may also include film.)


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