Know Thyself! This ancient Greek injunction is most famously associated with Socrates who regarded it as central to the practice of philosophy. Thereafter, it has occupied humanity from ancient philosophy to contemporary neuroscience. So, what does it mean to know one’s self today? What does it mean to have innocence, awareness, integrity? In this course, we will explore various theories, concepts, and distinctions regarding reasoning, intuitions, and emotions in our reading of two very different fictional representations of the complexity of self-knowledge and decision-making: C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters (1942), which purports to be letters from a Senior Demon to his nephew, a Junior Tempter, who is trying to lure a human being towards evil, and Don Dellilo’s White Noise (1984), a caustic portrayal of the anxieties and mysteries that infuse everyday life in an apocalyptic contemporary America.
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