Course Description

450.621 - The Self in Question: Readings in Lit & Psychol

What is the nature of the self? For Plato, the self is a sleeping giant; for Buddha, it is an illusion; for Freud, it is instinctual hunger; for Schopenhauer, irrational will; for B.F. Skinner, it is a machine; for R. Buckminster Fuller, it is a verb; for Sartre, it is a useless passion. Thinkers throughout the ages have probed the riddle of our human identity, and today, the dimensions of this age-old quest have been expanded to include the formative roles of gender, class, race, and culture. From selves in the making to selves under siege, from the lonely, existential self to the transpersonal, communal self, in this class, we explore questions of selfhood from the perspectives of literature and psychology-two key disciplines devoted to understanding the perplexities of human nature. This course satisfies the interdisciplinary core requirement. (Available online)