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104 Roberto Mangabeira Unger Areeda 226 Telephone: 617-495-3156 E-mail: email@example.com Office Hours: Fridays 2:00pm-4:00pm Faculty Assistant: Heather Houston, 617-496-1764, firstname.lastname@example.org
This course is a comparative inquiry into certain forms of moral consciousness and their metaphysical assumptions in the high cultures of Eurasia. We organize discussion around a broad background concern as well as a focused foreground theme. The background concern is the meaning or meaninglessness of human life: comparison of some of the ways in which philosophy, religion, and art in the West and in the East have dealt with the fear that our lives and the world itself may be meaningless. The foreground theme is the contrast between two answers to the question-how should I live my life? One answer, valuing serenity achieved through disengagement from illusion and vain striving, is: stay out of trouble. Another answer, prizing the acceptance of vulnerability for the sake of self-construction and self-transformation, is: look for trouble. The second answer has come to play a major part in the moral and political projects that command attention throughout the world today. We seek to understand this second answer and to assess it in the light of speculative ideas that have been prominent in Western and Eastern thought. Conversely, we use our chosen theme to explore how Western and Eastern speculation have dealt with the limits of insight into what matters most. To these ends, we consider exemplary writings from several
history. 243-256 2 .Three major orientations in the history of religion: overcoming the world. Karl Jaspers. -. Kantian. humanizing the world. 1-28 Krzysztof Michalski. SERENITY. The relation between metaphysical assumptions and existential imperatives in each of them. “Summary” in On What Matters. Chinese. The relation of ethical universalism to nihilism. sources. -. Consequentialist (Utilitarian).traditions: modern European. AND VULNERABILITY PART I: MAJOR APPROACHES TO LIFE IN WORLD HISTORY January 26 -. “Nihilism” in The Flame of Eternity: An Interpretation of Nietzsche’s Thought. Derek Parfit. insatiability. volume I. “The Universal Grid of Philosophy in the Self Awakened. between taking time.The relation of this inquiry to the concerns of moral philosophy.The background theme of the course: our response to the irreparable flaws in human life – mortality. SELF. 121 February 9 -. February 2 -. and individuality seriously and dismissing them as illusory or less than fully real. pp. and contractarian approaches in moral philosophy. Their achievements and limits.Religion and philosophy: what have been and what can they become. What they had in common. struggling with the world. -. and limits of their ethical universalism. The nature. between hoping to humanize society and hoping to reconstruct society and to divinize humanity.” pp. South Asian. “The Axial Period” in The Origin and Goal of History. pp.The foreground theme of the course: the related contrasts between staying out of trouble and looking for trouble. pp. 1-15 Roberto Mangabeira Unger. groundlessness. ancient Greek.The religious revolutions of the Axial Age.
HUMANIZING THE WORLD. This reading may help you engage the argument of the course. science.Persons and roles: the modern criticism of this orientation. -. you should have read Roberto Mangabeira Unger. vol. -. An antimetaphysical metaphysic. pp. Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction. 126-151 February 23 Humanizing the world: Confucius.Radical and moderate forms of the devaluation. 153-187 Damien Keown. -. 1. pp. Sources of Indian Tradition. Oxford University Press Arthur Schopenhauer. Saving God: Religion After Idolatry. -. 93-124. The Analects of Confucius Herbert Fingarette. pp. 375412 Mark Johnston.Criticism of the moral and psychological consequences of these ideas.PART II: OVERCOMING THE WORLD.The moral consequence of transcendence of the will. -. 29-40. I.The spiritualization of our role-based relations and claims upon one another. -. STRUGGLING WITH THE WORLD (By March 8.). -. -. assimilation to impersonal divinity. February 16 Overcoming the world: transcending the will and discounting the appearances.The perennial philosophy: its devaluation of the phenomenal world of time and distinction. and art.Manifestations of this devaluation in contemporary philosophy.Confucianism as an exemplary instance of this view. Confucius: the Sacred as Secular March 1 Humanizing the world: modern expressions. -.Away from the precipice: creating meaning in a meaningless world.Contemporary secular humanism and the ethic of social and professional roles. vol. 3 . and desire for indifference to change and to suffering. -. Passion: An Essay on Personality. The World as Will and Representation.
Self-transformation and social transformation.The themes of infinity and of love within Christianity. 13 March 29 The three orientations to life compared. pp. -. Gerald McCool. and Islam as canonical expressions of the struggle with the world. Moral Education. -. Roberto Mangabeira Unger. 70-94 Roberto Mangabeira Unger. -. ed. chapters 4. the relation between them. Christianity. 1-126 Jean-Paul Sartre. 26-35 March 8 The struggle with the world: the religions of salvation. 121-26 (reprinted in A Rahner Reader. Three Ideas of Work in Social Theory: Its Situation and Its Task. pp. -. 8.The revolutionary influence on the world. the openness of history. The Self Awakened: Pragmatism Unbound. and cognitive agenda of Christianity.Judaism. the depth of the individual. and the possibility of the new. 205-211) March 15 .The unfinished social. 7.SPRING RECESS March 22 The struggle with the world: the secular projects of personal and political liberation. moral. Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion. 117-18. Dante: Poet of the Secular World.The affirmation of the reality of time. through the secular projects of emancipation (liberalism.The uncertain programmatic direction and doctrinal content. 10. -. socialism) and the worldwide popular romantic culture. pp. 12. “Bad Faith” in Being and Nothingness. vol. chapter 1 Hegel. “A Short Formula of Christian Faith” in Theological Investigations.Emile Durkheim. pp. pp. -. -. Erich Auerbach. pp. -. 432-470 Karl Rahner.The moral and political implications of this view. IX. 9. 11. 4 .
” pp.). Pensées. Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction.” pp.The proper relation between metaphysical assumptions and moral orientations. and hope in the past and future of religion. The Analects of Confucius (translated by Roger Ames and Henry Rosemont Jr. READING ASSIGNMENTS There are six assigned books. Random House Herbert Fingerette. Contingency. 96-121. Sickness unto Death. Richard Rorty. Confucius: The Secular as Sacred. groundlessness. Waveland Pr Inc Damien Keown. Oxford University Press 5 . “Solidarity. 189-198 Plato. All books are paperbacks and available for purchase at the Harvard Square Coop and on Amazon. 200-213 April 12 The circumstance and direction of a future religious revolution. pp. April 19 Conclusion: mortality. -. Book X. Beyond Good and Evil (to be read chiefly for its bearing on the subsequent classes) SECTION III NEXT STEPS April 5 How do we choose? Reason and risk in the choice of orientations.” pp. 142-168.” pp.Friedrich Nietzche. 149-155 Kierkegaard. 614-621 (the story of Er) Pascal. “Wager. “Diversion. Irony. and Solidarity. “Self-Creation and Affiliation. insatiability. The Republic.Confronting nihilism and skepticism. 66-72. -.
Penguin Classics Roberto Mangabeira Unger. Free Press Roberto Mangabeira Unger. Harvard University Press 6 . Beyond Good and Evil. The Self Awakened: Pragmatism Unbound. Passion: An Essay on Personality.Friedrich Nietzsche.
This final paper or examination will provide them with an occasion to respond to a central aspect of the argument of the course.m. It will count for 50% of the final grade for undergraduates. 7 . It should have a minimum of 15 and a maximum of 20 double-spaced pages. will respond to a major problem or idea discussed in the course up to that time. all students will write an extended take-home examination. Each will count for 20% of the final grade. The grade for all graduate students. The second paper will be due in class on April 5. which will be for them the only writing requirement in the course. on topics to be set. In lieu of a final examination. Each will be between 6 and 10 double-spaced pages long. including law students.WRITING REQUIREMENTS During the semester undergraduates will write two brief papers. on April 30 (no extensions). will be based entirely on their final take-home examination. The topic or topics will be described in class on April 5. The final examination paper will be due by 4 p. 10% of the final grade for undergraduates will be attributed to participation in section. The first paper will be due in class on March 1. Each of these papers.
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