Comparative examination of selfhood in Eastern and Western religious thought and cultural contexts. Focus on dark side or problematic dimensions of Buddhist, Christian, Daoist, Jewish, and other thought. Unno.
Graded for Majors;
Optional for all other students
334 Susan Campbell Hall Phone:
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Expanded Course Description
This course on comparative religious and philosophical thought examines selected thinkers and conceptions of the self in East Asia and the West, with a special focus on the dark side of the self. Although comparisons are often made between ultimates--God, Buddha, Dao, and the like--it is often overlooked that they are responses to what are regarded as the fundamental problems or dark sides of the inner life. Through comparing the dark side including--sin in Christianity, karmic evil and delusion in Buddhism, entanglement in Taoism, and suffering in psychology--the course explores both significant similarities and deep differences between diverse religious and philosophical visions. In the latter part of the course, films together with readings will be used to explore the dark side through various cultural themes including racism, gender discrimination, and war. In turn, possible responses to these issues from various thinkers in the first half of the course will be considered.
This is an intermediate-level course with a lecture/discussion format. Some meetings will be entirely in lecture format. Others will involve a combination of lecture and small breakout discussion groups.