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Douglas Biow, Director MEZ 3.126, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-232-3470

Spring 2009

EUS 381 • Philos Knowledge of Passions

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
35690 T
2:00 PM-5:00 PM
GRG 424
Rothe, M

Course Description

René Descartes assumes that our passions (anger, fury, desire, etc.) direct us towards whatever might be useful to us and help us to escape from whatever can be harmful; he nevertheless deems a control and an orientation by reason indispensable. Why would this be necessary? What means are suggested for this task? And above all, what exactly are passions and how are they related to our body? These questions have been answered in very different ways. This seminar presents a number of prominent responses to them and aims at identifying differences in the reflection of affectivity throughout history. Emphasis is put on the relation between moral philosophy and medicine - in what ways do they interact, if at all, in analyzing human affectivity  and on the 'juridical' consequences of certain views of passion (freedom of will, possibilities of self-determination etc.). A reader with relevant primary literature will be available, we will discuss selected writings by Plato, Aristotle, the stoics, Augustine, Descartes, Hobbes, Hume, La Mettrie and Kant.

Grading Policy

" Final paper 30% " Two in-class presentations 10% each " Two 5-page reaction papers 10% each " Active participation 30%


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