Course: PHI 100 073 / Human Personality / Fall 2022 / Maksim Vak

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PHI 100 073 / Human Personality / Fall 2022 / Maksim Vak
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Social Sciences, Human Services and Criminal Justice
Course Contact
Course Code
PHI 100
Section Code
Fall 2022
Course Description

In our course we will address one of the most disturbing questions for human beings – what does it mean to be human; what makes one human? Since the beginning of philosophy humans have been understood in conjunction with animals and gods; humans mediated between nature and the divine realm. Thus, human nature was understood by the fathers of philosophy as mediation, which actualizes itself as thinking and recognition. That is, to be human is to know oneself. Aristotle famously formulated the essence of human beings as rational animals. One becomes human by understanding and controlling one’s animality. Aristotle’s definition dominated western philosophy until the XIX centuries. In our course, we will follow the transformation of Aristotelian understanding in modern time and the challenges it has faced in its transformation.
Our inquiry will be organized by the dialectical opposition and evaluation of freedom and determination, obedience and disobedience, mortality and immortality, body and soul, ignorance and knowledge, happiness and misery, humanity and inhumanity, desires and their suppression, etc. We will examine the possible significance and meanings of human existence, the socialization of humanity, and its values. We will follow the development of the view on the human position in the world from humble dependence on Divine grace to the proud position of autonomous legislator and to the consequent disaster and despair of this autonomy. Throughout the course, students will cultivate their critical reading, writing, and thinking skills, and they will establish a basis for discerning the ethical significance of these foundational questions concerning knowledge, existence, and human nature.

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