Course level: Undergraduate

Spring 2019 | Spring 2020
University of Notre Dame

Who am I? How did I become the person I am now? Who am I trying to be? – These are fundamental questions that we all ask ourselves from time to time, such as in moments of decision, reflection, or crisis. This seminar invites all participants to think through these questions by engaging in a dialogue with major figures of the history of philosophy, as well as with contemporary philosophers. We will read texts, among others, from Aristotle, Augustine, Descartes, and J.-P. Sartre, as well as from Anthony Appiah, Harry Frankfurt, Sally Haslanger, Christine Korsgaard, Thomas Nagel, and Charles Taylor. These authors will help us to understand the intricate relationship between knowing myself, making up my mind, developing my character, and leading a self-fulfilled life. We will delve in particular into questions of self-awareness and self-knowledge (Part I), decision-making and commitment (Part II), self-fulfillment (Part III), as well as social identity and recognition (Part IV). Emphasis will be placed on attentive reading of seminal texts, as well as on developing and exercising a discussion culture in the classroom and a writing culture outside the classroom.

This class serves as a Gateway Seminar for students transitioning into the major.