Human Nature Seminar: Love and Death:
Love and Death define the human condition as, perhaps, no other pair of concepts can. What is this thing called love and how is it a response to what Camus calls the cruel mathematics of human mortality? This course examines the basic problems of philosophy by looking at human nature and how it fits into nature as a whole. It attempts to answer the questions 'What am I?', 'What am I doing here?', and 'How do I fit in?'. We concentrate on the problem of how our subjective view of ourselves (how it feels to be us from the inside) fits into our objective conception of the universe, as viewed from the outside. In particular, we will be interested in how philosophic theories concerning humanity and nature arose from the tension between the objective and subjective viewpoints, the struggle between love and death.
Rooted in the Benedictine vow that encourages faithfulness to a way of life within community, Conversatio is the foundational shared learning experience for every Saint Anselm student. HU 104 is the second semester of a year-long interdisciplinary course that provides students with an intellectual orientation to studies in the Liberal Arts and acquaints them with the distinctive value of those studies within the Catholic Benedictine tradition. The second semester of Conversatio builds upon the intellectual work that students have accomplished during the first semester, where they contemplated who we are as individuals, what our responsibility is within a community, and what our relationship is with the divine. In this second semester students are asked to consider three additional foundational areas of study central to the Liberal Arts: 1) Politics, rhetoric, and the emergence of democracy in human history; 2) The nature of science and the role of scientific understanding in our world; 3) The nature of beauty and the place of art in the lives of individuals and communities. As the common academic conversation orienting students to Saint Anselm College, Conversatio invites individuals to discover their intellectual place and voice within the Saint Anselm learning community by encouraging them to read critically, to contemplate significant questions about human existence, and to communicate their ideas to others with greater effectiveness and respect.
- A philosophical inquiry into the nature of beauty and its occasions, both natural and artificial.
- This course is a seminar devoted to an examination of a sampling of the great works of the existentialist Tradition from Kierkegaard to Camus. The main work of the course is a careful reading and discussion of the primary texts.
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