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ESF 6A: Education as Self-Fashioning: The Wind of Freedom

Stanford's unofficial motto, "the wind of freedom blows," engraved in German on the university seal, invites us the ponder freedom in the context of education. What is the relation between freedom and the "liberal" arts? Does studying free your mind? Does free will even exist? If so, how does education help you develop its potential? This course will look at various authors -- from antiquity through the 20th century -- who have thought about the blessings, burdens, and obligations of human freedom. Beginning with Eve in the Garden of Eden, we will explore how exercising freedom in your personal choices and conduct not only determines your fate as an individual but carries with it a measure of responsibility for the world. We will place special emphasis on the implications of such responsibility in our own time.
Terms: Aut, last offered Autumn 2015 | Units: 7 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER, Writing 1 | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

ESF 7: Education as Self-Fashioning: The Transformation of the Self

Socrates famously claimed that the unexamined life is not worth living. Socrates and other ancient thinkers examined themselves and found that they did not match up to their own ideals. They thus set out to transform themselves to achieve a good and happy life. What is the good life? How do we change ourselves to live a good and happy life? How do literature and philosophy help us to understand ourselves and to achieve our social, ethical, and personal ideals? In this class, we examine Socrates and Augustine¿s lives and ideas. Each struggled to live a good and happy life. In each case, they urge us to transform ourselves into better human beings. The first half of the course focuses on the Athenian Socrates, who was put to death because he rejected traditional Greek ideals and and proclaimed a new kind of ethical goodness. The second half focuses on the North African Augustine, an unhappy soul who became a new man by converting to Christianity. These thinkers addressed questions and problems that we still confront today: What do we consider to be a happy life? Do we need to be good and ethical people to live happily? Is there one correct set of values? How do we accommodate other people¿s beliefs? Is it possible to experience a transformation of the self? How exactly do we change ourselves to achieve our higher ideals?
Terms: Aut | Units: 7 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-ER, Writing 1 | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

ESF 7A: Education as Self-Fashioning: The Transformation of the Self

Socrates famously claimed that the unexamined life is not worth living.  Socrates and other ancient thinkers examined themselves and found that they did not match up to their own ideals.  They thus set out to transform themselves to achieve a good and happy life.  What is the good life?  How do we change ourselves to live a good and happy life?  How do literature and philosophy help us to understand ourselves and to achieve our social, ethical, and personal ideals? In this class, we examine Socrates and Augustine¿s lives and ideas.  Each struggled to live a good and happy life.  In each case, they urge us to transform ourselves into better human beings.  The first half of the course focuses on the Athenian Socrates, who was put to death because he rejected traditional Greek ideals and and proclaimed a new kind of ethical goodness.  The second half focuses on the North African Augustine, an unhappy soul who became a new man by converting to Christianity.  These thinkers addressed questions and problems that we still confront today:  What do we consider to be a happy life?  Do we need to be good and ethical people to live happily?  Is there one correct set of values?  How do we accommodate other people¿s beliefs?  Is it possible to experience a transformation of the self?  How exactly do we change ourselves to achieve our higher ideals?
Terms: Aut | Units: 7 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-ER, Writing 1 | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

ESF 8: Education as Self-Fashioning: Recognizing the Self and Its Possibilities

Some philosophers have argued that we have privileged and direct access to our inner selves. If this were true, it would make self-knowledge perhaps the easiest sort of knowledge to obtain. But there are many considerations that mitigate against this view of self-knowledge. Consider, for example, the slave who is so oppressed that he fully accepts his slavery and cannot even imagine the possibility of freedom for himself. Such a slave fails to recognize his own capacity for freedom and autonomous self-governance. Though the slave is perhaps the extreme case, many people, it seems, fail to recognize the full range of possibilities open to them. In this course, we shall examine both some of the ways in which one¿s capacity for self-recognition may be distorted and undermined and the role of education in enabling a person to fully recognize the self and its possibilities. What constrains the range of possibilities we see as really open to us? Contrary to the Cartesian, we shall argue that full self-recognition is an often a hard-won achievement. And we shall ask how education might function to give us a less constricted and more liberating sense of the self and its possibilities. We will consider such questions through the lens of philosophy, literature and psychology.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 7 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER, Writing 1 | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

ESF 8A: Education as Self-Fashioning: Recognizing the Self and Its Possibilities

Some philosophers have argued that we have privileged and direct access to our inner selves. If this were true, it would make self-knowledge perhaps the easiest sort of knowledge to obtain. But there are many considerations that mitigate against this view of self-knowledge. Consider, for example, the slave who is so oppressed that he fully accepts his slavery and cannot even imagine the possibility of freedom for himself. Such a slave fails to recognize his own capacity for freedom and autonomous self-governance. Though the slave is perhaps the extreme case, many people, it seems, fail to recognize the full range of possibilities open to them. In this course, we shall examine both some of the ways in which one¿s capacity for self-recognition may be distorted and undermined and the role of education in enabling a person to fully recognize the self and its possibilities. What constrains the range of possibilities we see as really open to us? Contrary to the Cartesian, we shall argue that full self-recognition is an often a hard-won achievement. And we shall ask how education might function to give us a less constricted and more liberating sense of the self and its possibilities. We will consider such questions through the lens of philosophy, literature and psychology.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 7 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER, Writing 1 | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

ETHICSOC 11Q: Sustainability And Social Justice (EARTHSYS 11Q)

At its core, sustainability is a conversation about equity. Equity between people today and people tomorrow. Equity between the many diverse people today who are all trying to pursue their hopes and dreams. Equity between human beings and the myriad other living creatures we share this planet with. Movements for environmental sustainability and social justice share a concern for equity, but have largely evolved in parallel. Mounting evidence however shows that environmental and social change are almost always inextricably linked, and the climate crisis is pushing together these two areas of study like never before. That is good news, but tough questions remain. What happens when the environmental costs of personal freedom can no longer be sustained? Should the needs of the many always outweigh the needs of the few? Are we responsible for repairing the injustices of our parents' and grandparents' generations? Where are the win-win solutions? In this interdisciplinary seminar, we will explore the theory and practice of sustainability and social justice, examining case studies where they have intersected, and where they have not. Readings will draw from sustainability science, environmental justice, environmental ethics, religious studies, social psychology, and ecological economics. Through weekly readings, discussions, and journal writing, students will develop a personal sustainability manifesto and analyze a policy, technology, or social movement through the lens of social and environmental sustainability.
Terms: Win, Spr | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: WAY-ER | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Lyons, A. (PI)

ETHICSOC 20: Introduction to Moral Philosophy (PHIL 2)

A survey of moral philosophy in the Western tradition. What makes right actions right and wrong actions wrong? What is it to have a virtuous rather than a vicious character? What is the basis of these distinctions? Why should we care about morality at all? Our aim is to understand how some of the most influential philosophers (including Aristotle, Kant, and Mill) have addressed these questions, and by so doing, to better formulate our own views. No prior familiarity with philosophy required.
Terms: Win | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum, GER:EC-EthicReas, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: Rozeboom, G. (PI)

ETHICSOC 102R: Ethics of Jihad (COMPLIT 171)

Why choose jihad? An introduction to Islamic ethics. Focus on ways in which people have chosen, rejected, or redefined jihad. Evaluation of the norms in moments of ethical and political choice. Topics include jihad in the age of 1001 Nights, jihad in the Arab Renaissance, jihad in Bin Laden's sermons, and the hashtag #MyJihad. All readings and discussion in English.
Terms: not given this year | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: WAY-ER | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)

ETHICSOC 131S: Modern Political Thought: Machiavelli to Marx and Mill (POLISCI 131L)

This course offers an introduction to the history of Western political thought from the late fifteenth through the nineteenth centuries. We will consider the development of ideas like individual rights, government by consent, and the protection of private property. We will also explore the ways in which these ideas continue to animate contemporary political debates. Thinkers covered will include: Niccolò Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Edmund Burke, John Stuart Mill, and Karl Marx.
Terms: Aut | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: GER:EC-EthicReas, WAY-A-II, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: McQueen, A. (PI)

ETHICSOC 133: Ethics and Politics of Public Service (CSRE 178, HUMBIO 178, PHIL 175A, PHIL 275A, POLISCI 133, PUBLPOL 103D, URBANST 122)

Ethical and political questions in public service work, including volunteering, service learning, humanitarian assistance, and public service professions such as medicine and teaching. Motives and outcomes in service work. Connections between service work and justice. Is mandatory service an oxymoron? History of public service in the U.S. Issues in crosscultural service work. Integration with the Haas Center for Public Service to connect service activities and public service aspirations with academic experiences at Stanford.
Terms: Spr | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-SocSci, WAY-ED, WAY-ER | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
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