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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 questi more »
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: not given this year, last offered Autumn 2016 | Units: 7 | UG Reqs: THINK, WAY-ER, Writing 1 | Grading: Letter (ABCD/NP)
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