EGMT 1540: What Isn't Chosen, and Why?


Do we want to be free? If so, does the language of "choice" advance and/or hinder our efforts at freedom?

We will look at understandings of choice from several different modes of thinking - economics, psychology, cultural studies, and philosophy - and ask a simple question: Are there any aspects of a full human life that are not, ideally, intentionally and explicitly chosen? Do we choose our vocation? Do we choose our identity? Do we choose religious belief or unbelief? Do we choose those we love? Do we choose our children? Do we choose to be born or how we die? Are ther aspects of human life that a description focused on "choice" mis-describes, or simply misses?

In asking these questions, we'll use resources drawn from multiple ways of thinking to investigate:

  • different definitions of choice and descriptions of its functioning;
  • the several understandings of the human in society that these accounts imply, enable, enhance and/or hinder;
  • the strengths and weaknesses of each account of choice and its place in human life;
  • the possibility that some features of human life go entirely¬†un-thought in these accounts of choice, features that you feel as a palpable lack in these accounts.