Foundations of Reflection: Self This course explores foundational questions about human existence and a human being’s relationship to reality. It starts with a focus on a person’s natural inclination to wonder, and on how inquiry moves persons to find intelligible meaning in experiences. It proceeds by examining the basic structure of conscious activity, which allows students to discover what they are doing when they are experiencing, understanding, knowing, and deciding. The goal of this analysis is the student’s critical self-appropriation of their own natures as knowers and doers. The course introduces the students to the origins of such systematic and critical self-appropriation in ancient Greece, in the philosophical activities of Socrates and Plato. It explores how the most basic and overarching questions about human existence that were asked by the first philosophers are still those that must be asked if people are to penetrate below the facts of everyday life to think deeply about what is real, true, valuable, just, and meaningful in human life. They include such questions as: Who am I? What is real? Can I know what is truly worthwhile? Does God exist? Does history have a meaning? What is justice? Thus the course examines how critical self-reflection illuminates human and humane living in a way crucial to personal development. This course is writing intensive.
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