In this course we ask big questions, perhaps among the biggest. Who am I? How do I come to be who I am? How do I know myself? Can I know myself? What makes me who I am? Am I responsible for my own life? What are my relationships to others? What are my relationships to my society (societies)? What are my rights? What are my obligations? Does who I am in private say more about me than what I do in public? Can I live a moral life surrounded by immorality? Should there be a safety net in a society of individuals? If we are indeed individuals, or can be, how do we forge our lives, in our interests and in those of others, toward the public good?
This course considers these big questions in order to help us better understand the richness and complexity of individuals and communities. We will reflect on the historical impacts of society on individuals and consider how individuals begin to form societies – or even more important, communities. In particular, we will consider how we as individuals encounter one another in our differences and what it might mean to pursue a common good.