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IDS 101.03

Know Thyself


Class: MWF 12:40-1:40pm, WLT 134



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Sammy Basu PhD

Professor of Politics

sbasu@, x6264

Office: Smu 317 & Hours






                Course Description


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 oneÕs self today? What does it mean to have innocence, awareness, integrity, originality? 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: C.S. LewisÕs The 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 DelliloÕs White Noise (1984), a caustic portrayal of the anxieties and mysteries that infuse everyday life in an apocalyptic contemporary America.