Part One: Introducing Our FYS
During this first part of our course, we will be introduced to several different thought experiments that challenge some of our intuitions about who we are and what we are. We’ll also be introduced to several of the leading philosophical theories about self-identity. The FYS Readings are available as a PDF on our course Moodle site. I recommend that you download the PDF and save it locally to a hard drive. As always, do bear in mind that this syllabus is subject to change.
Weds: Aug 28
Our First Thought Experiment: Who is Julia?
Read: FYS Readings, pages 1 - 10
Watch: Who is Julia?, part one
Prior to our first meeting read FYS Readings pages 1 - 10 and watch the first part of the video Who is Julia? If interested, read “The Future of Brain Transplants,” linked to in FYS Readings.
Puzzled about thought experiments? For more on this important aspect of learning how to think critically and philosophically, you might be interested in reading "Thought Experiments in Philosophy"
Fri: Aug 30
Writing your first argument: Who is Julia?
Watch: Finish watching Who is Julia? Note that there are multiple parts in separate files.
Your FYS and Critical Thinking, pages 2 - 5 (available in Moodle)
Micro Essay: Following up on our initial discussion, who do you think is the resulting person in Who is Julia?: Mary Frances, Julia, or maybe neither? someone new? Consider your intuitions, any reasonable evidence, and then develop an argument in support of your position.
Fellow Lesson: Communicating with your professors
You might want to read: "How to Write an E-Mail to Your Teacher"
Mon: Sept 2
Labor Day: No classes
You might take this opportunity to explore some out-of-class activities related to our FYS: take a personality quiz and think about what it might tell you about "your true self" (do you have a true self?), or check out Second Life, play Staying Alive, take a look at a RadioLab podcast, or try futureme and write your future self a letter: See FYS Readings, pages 11 - 18.
You might also be interested in this Hidden Brain podcast: What Can a Personality Test Tell Us About Our Selves?
Weds: Sept 4
Our Second Thought Experiment: The Case of Tuvix
Prior to coming to class, you should make some time to watch the Star Trek Voyager episode "Tuvix." As with Who is Julia?, we'll be talking about "Tuvix" throughout the first two parts of this course, so you should take notes while watching this episode.
"Tuvix" is from Season 2, Episode 24 of Star Trek: Voyager and is available on Netflix, Amazon Prime, HULU, and CBS All Access. It can also be watched online at Daily Motion, HERE.
A Philosophical Identity Crisis, FYS Readings pages 25 - 31 (Available in Moodle)
FYS Readings Part One: page 32 (Available on Moodle)
Recommended Reading: Reading and Writing Resources: pages 1 - 7
Think About: Chris Durante's essay presents us with the first formal statements of several different theories about personal identity. As you read his essay, keep track of the various theories he discusses. Drawing on your own intuitions and life experiences, which of these theories initially strikes you as the best theory about personal identity?
Micro Essay: As you watch this episode, think about what you would do if you were the captain of Voyager and had to decide what to do with Tuvix what would you do? How might you justify your decision using one of the theories of personal identity Durante discusses?
Today's the last day to add or drop a course. If you are thinking about making any changes to your schedule, consult your academic advisor.
Fellow Lesson: Add and Drop Procedure
Fri: Sept 6
Let's Review the Course
READ: The course syllabus, reviewing all the course policies and the assigned readings and activities.
WATCH: Who Am I? The School of Life
Micro Essay: Think back four years ago to your first days in high school. Think about how much you have changed, how much may not have changed. Are you the same person now that you were then?
Fellow Lesson: My First Year
Mon: Sept 9
Our Third (and Final!) Thought Experiment: The Case of Tookie Williams
Prior to today's class, I'd like you to take some time to listen to a podcast. I am a huge fan of podcasts and subscribe to many (including Radiolab, The Hidden Brain, Revisionist History--all excellent). You can listen to a podcast while you work out, if you commute, while walking or hiking, or getting ready for bed, even. Invisibilia is one of my favorite podcasts and often tackles stories relevant to our FYS theme. Plan on making some time to listen to Invisibilia's podcast on "the personality myth."
Read: The Case of Tookie Williams, FYS Readings pages 19 - 24.
LISTEN: Invisibilia, "The Personality Myth"
Micro Essay: Is the Tookie Williams residing on death row the same Tookie Williams that committed crimes more than twenty years earlier? What do you think? Develop an argument for your position drawing on evidence from the Invisibilia podcast and from your own intuitions regarding self and identity.
You can access a written excerpt from the Invisibilia episode HERE. And you can access a full transcript from the podcast HERE.
Weds: Sept 11
Technology and the Self: Tracking and Representing Yourself via Technology
Today's class will be meeting in HUM 15, a computer lab. We'll begin work on two important elements of our FYS: thinking about goals and who we want to be and thinking about how we represent ourselves via technology. We will be building an e-portfolio on WIX (https://www.wix.com) where I will ask you to think about how you want to represent yourself and what goals you want to set for the semester, the academic year, and beyond. We'll also think about the impact of data on our self-conceptions and how we might use a "data driven life" to track our goals (sleep goals, financial goals, study goals, etc.).
As part of this project, we'll also be talking about the quantified self.
Gary Wolf, "The Data Driven Life"
Watch: The Quantified Self
Micro Essay: Let's think about goals, how we might track our goals, and what goals we might like to set for the semester and include in your e-portfolio. For your micro essay, identify some of your goals for the semester and how you might measure them to ensure that you are meeting your goals.
Think about: Do you agree with Gary Wolf's claim that our new technological tools, such as tiny sensors, ubiquitous computing, and social media, are changing our sense of self in the world?
Fri: Sept 13
A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality
Read: John Perry, Dialogue of Personal Identity, First Night
Remember to bring your reading to class.
Recommended Reading: Reading and Writing Resources: pages 27 - 44 (available on Moodle)
Micro Essay: Gretchen Weirob uses her critical thinking skills to analyze Miller’s claim that same person = same soul. Can you summarize her argument against this view?
Fellow Mini-Lesson: Common Hour
Mon: Sept 16
A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality, Continued
Read: John Perry, Dialogue of Personal Identity, Second Night
Micro Essay: Weirob and Miller discuss the memory criterion of personal identity. Can you accurately summarize Weirob’s critique of the memory criterion?
Weds: Sept 18
We will have our first Participation Quiz today. You can find instructions posted on Moodle and they are included in your Reading and Writing Resources document (pages 45 - 46) also available on our course Moodle site. You should review the instructions which are posted on our Moodle site. The participation quiz is an opportunity for you to discuss the day's reading on your own and to support and help one another get used to class discussions. Take this as an opportunity to work together and support one another in building your knowledge-base on personal identity and your comfort level in engaging in class discussions.
Read: John Perry, Dialogue of Personal Identity, Third Night
Micro Essay: There is no micro essay due today. You should prepare comments for our first Participation Quiz.
As you prepare for this first Participation Quiz, you should think about:
the resolution of the dialogue: what do you think about how the dialogue ends?
the competing theories of personal identity: does one theory strike you as more acceptable than another? why? Do you find Miller's defense of the memory theory persuasive? What about Weirob's bodily continuty theory?
how might you apply the various theories discussed in the dialogue to some of the other puzzle cases we have discussed (Tuvix or Tookie)?
what do you think of Weirob's analysis of the case of Julia/Mary Frances? Do you agree with her analysis? Why or why not?
who do you find yourself agreeing with more by the end of the dialogue?
Fri: Sept 20
There's no micro essay due today. Today you should bring a draft hard copy (no electronic copies please) of your first writing assignment with you to class. We’ll engage in a peer-review process and workshop our essays. For more information on writing philosophy essays READ: Reading and Writing Resources: pages 19 - 23. The final draft of your first writing assignment is due Wednesday, Sept. 25.
Fellow Lesson: Revising
READ: FYS 100 Reading and Writing Resources, pages 19 - 23, Revising
Part Two: Philosophy and the Self
In this part of the course we will grapple with the key philosophical theories about the nature of the self and self-identity. Remember that you must always have access to your course readings in class. Please note that there may be days that I ask you to bring hard copies of an assigned reading.
Mon: Sept 23
John Locke and Personal Identity
Read: John Locke, FYS Readings, pages 36 - 43
Micro Essay: Can you identify the core elements of Locke’s account of personal identity? Try and produce a list of three or four elements of Locke’s account of the self and self-identity.
Weds: Sept 25
Continuing with Locke
We'll also talk a little about engaging in close and critical reading and annotating.
You might want to rewatch Voyager: Tuvix. You can do so HERE.
Read: Interrogating Texts, FYS 100 Reading and Writing Resources, pp. 6 - 7
Micro Essay: How might you use Locke's theory of personal identity to analyze the case of Tuvix? If Locke had to give some advice to Captain Janeway, what advice do you think he would offer?
The final draft of your first essay is due today. Remember you will need to turn in your final draft, your peer evaluation, and your rough draft all stapled together, in that order.
Fellow Lesson: Active Reading
Fri: Sept 27
Thomas Reid and Personal Identity
Read: Thomas Reid, FYS Readings, pages 44 - 51
We'll concentrate today on Chapter 6 of the Reid reading.
Micro Essay: Can you carefully articulate in your own words one or two of Reid’s criticisms of Locke’s view of personal identity?
Mon: Sept 30
Continuing with Reid
We'll also talk about note taking skills today.
Thomas Reid, FYS Readings, pages 44 - 51
Effective Listening and Note Taking, FYS 100 Reading and Writing Resources, pp. 27 - 38
We'll concentrate on Chapter 4 of the Reid Reading
Micro Essay: How would Reid analyze the case of Tuvix? Do you find his analysis persuasive?
Fellow Lesson: Note Taking
Weds: Oct 2
Julian Baggini: Is There a Real You?
Watch: Julian Baggini, "Is There a Real You?" Baggini is a contemporary British philosopher. Note that you can access a transcript of Baggini's talk on his web page. Click the button that says "Transcript."
Recommended Reading: David Hume, FYS Readings, pages 52 - 58. Baggini's account of the self was heavily influenced by Hume and so if you would like a deeper understanding of Baggini's view, read the Hume selection included in your FYS Readings.
Micro Essay: Baggini claims that his account of the self is very liberating. Why does he think so? Do you agree?
As you listen to Baggini's TED Talk, see if you can identify the main elements of his account of personal identity? Can you create a bulleted list of key elements? How does it differ from Reid's account of the self?
Fri: Oct 4
Derek Parfit, Personal Identity, and our Second Participation Quiz
Read: Brain Transplants and Personal Identity, FYS Readings, pages 60 - 65
Micro Essay: There is no micro essay today. We will have our second Participation Quiz today. As you prepare for this second participation quiz, you might think about the various thought experiments we have encountered. Here are some possible discussion points:
How Parfit would analyze the case of Tookie Williams. If Parfit had to give some advice to Governor Schwarzenegger, what advice would that be? How would he support that advice? See if you can draw on Parfit's philosophical views to determine how he would justify his advice regarding whether Tookie Williams should be put to death.
How would Parfit analyze the case of Julia? Would he agree or disagree with Weirob? Miller?
What are the similarities between Parfit's view and Locke's view?
How does he update Locke?
How would Parfit respond to Reid’s account of personal identity?
How do you think Parfit would analyze the case of Tuvix? What advice would he offer Captain Janeway?
Mon: Oct 7
Paul Snowdon and Animalism
Snowdon's approach to personal identity comes the closest of the views we are considering to Weirob's views. Think about the similarities between the two.
Read: Paul Snowdon, "The Animal You Are”; FYS Readings, 66 - 72
Micro Essay: How would an animalist such as Snowdon analyze the case of Tuvix? What advice would Snowdon offer to Captain Janeway?
Weds: Oct 9
The Narrative Self
Recall that we have seen the narrative self before. Where? You might want to go back and refamiliarize yourself with that earlier discussion.
Read: Julie Beck, "Life's Stories"; FYS Readings, 74 - 88
WATCH: The Narrative Self
Micro Essay: How might we use the narrative theory of the self to analyze the dilemma of Tuvix?
Fri: Oct 11
Second Formal Writing Assignment: The Case of Tuvix
You’ll need to bring a draft hard copy of your essay to class today and be prepared to engage in a group peer review process. The final draft of your first writing assignment is due Wednesday, October 16.
For a rubric for evaluating this essay, see Writing Philosophy Essays, pages 7 - 8
If you're interested in exploring more philosophical resources on the perennial problem of the self and personal identity, you might be interested in checking out IS YOUR 'SELF' JUST AN ILLUSION?.
Mon: Oct 14
Fall Break: No Classes
Begin reading The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace. We'll be discussing this biography over the course of 4 class periods in the third part of our seminar. You should begin critically reading it now--using the skills you have been learning about being a careful and critical reader. You might also be interested in reviewing reading guide for The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace, found on pages 89 - 95 of your FYS Readings.
Part Three: Contemporary Self Dilemmas
Having examined some of the traditional philosophical theories of the self and self-identity, in this part of the course we’ll turn to some contemporary approaches and problems raised in thinking about the self. We’ll also talk about one concrete self: the self of Robert Peace. Remember that you always need to bring your day’s reading to class. There may be days that I ask that you bring a hard copy of reading to class.
Mon: Oct 14
Fall Break: No Classes
Begin reading The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace. We'll be discussing this biography over the course of 4 class periods in the third part of our seminar. You should begin critically reading it now--using the skills you have been learning about being a careful and critical reader.
Weds: Oct 16
Your second writing assignment is due today. Remember to staple together your final draft, your rough draft, and your peer evaluation.
Ready, Set, Registration
11:00 AM Section: We will meet in PAC 186 for today's class.
1:00 PM Section: We will meet in PAC 184 for today's class.
Students will learn to prepare for a productive meeting with their academic advisor, understand the spring registration process, and select courses that fit their academic, career, and personal goals.
Fri: Oct 18
Discussion #1 of The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace
Read: Part I, pages 3 - 74
Micro Essay: Hobbs writes about Rob Peace's "system of neural switches" (p. 63) that allows him to cycle through various selves. What does he mean by this and what do you think it implies about Rob's sense of self as a young man living in Newark?
Continue reading The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace so that you will be ready for our November 1 discussion.
Mon: Oct 21
Paul Bloom and a Community of Selves
We'll also talk a bit this week about information literacy and evaluating sources of information using Schmidt Library's Summons tool and some of their online video tutorials.
Paul Bloom, First Person Plural, FYS Readings Part Two, pages 1 - 23
Complete Online Video Tutorial: Using Summon Search
Micro Essay: Bloom argues that we ought to think of ourselves as a community of competing selves. What evidence does he cite in support of this claim? See if you can identify at least three pieces of evidence (his premises in support of his claim). Do you think he makes a persuasive case for his claim?
Weds: Oct 23
Watch: Using YCP Summon Search: Locating a Specific Article
Julian Baggini, What is the Self? It Depends (can you find this article via Summons?)
Bruce Bower, My Culture, My Self (can you find this article via Summons?)
Micro Essay: According to these two essays, how do the Eastern and Western conceptions of the self compare and contrast?
Fri: Oct 25
Daniel Dennett and Multiple Selves
READ: Daniel Dennett, The Origins of Selves, FYS Readings Part Two, pages 31 - 46
Complete Online Video Tutorial: Using the CRAAP Test to Evaluate a Website
Micro Essay: Let's see if we can articulate the key elements in Dennett's account of the self. Identify three to four characteristics in his account of the origin and nature of the self.
You can read more about key information literacy concepts HERE.
Mon: Oct 28
The Narrative Self
READ: Marya Schechtman, The Narrative Self, FYS Readings Part Two, pages 47 - 61
Micro Essay: Schechtman discusses a variety of views of the narrative self and identifies some of the significant commonalities in these views. Can you identify the key elements of the various narrative view of identity that Schechtman discusses? What are the common fundamental claims of the narrative approach to the self? Identify at least four key elements.
You might also be interested in these other discussions of the narrative theory of self-identity:
Daniel Dennett, The Self as a Center of Narrative Gravity
Stefan Snaevarr, "Don Quixote and The Narrative Self”
Weds: Oct 30
Galen Strawson and the Episodic (Non-Narrative) Self
READ: Galen Strawson, I Am Not a Story, FYS Readings Part Two, pages 62 - 71
NOTES: The Episodic and Non-Episodic Self
Micro Essay: Strawson makes a distinction between being a narrative/diachronic person and being a non-narrative/episodic person. Think about the key differences between these different kind of selves. How would you describe Robert Peace’s and Jeff Hobb’s selves: as narrative or non-narrative? Why?
You might also be interested in reading: Galen Strawson, "Against Narrativity"
Fri: Nov 1
Discussion #2 of The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace
Read: Parts II and III, pages 77 - 202
Let’s think about:
what developments have happened with Rob in parts II and III?
What is their significance in terms of Rob's evolving self?
What more are we learning about Rob's character and what do you think about how his character is developing?
Jeff Hobbs shows up in the narrative. What do we know about Jeff? What are some of the similarities and differences between Jeff and Rob?
Are there parallels between Rob's experiences in college and your own?
Some key concepts that you might want to pay attention to include Rob's use of fronting (138 - 140) and how he contrasts fronting with being authentic or being complicated.
What role does race continue to play in defining Rob's sense of self?
Rob's father continues to play a large role in Rob's life. Why do you think that is?
We've explored a number of concepts we might think about as we think about both Rob and Jeff: possible selves, a community of selves, the narrative versus the episodic self. How can we apply some of these ideas to the story of Rob and Jeff? Does Rob have an episodic or narrative self? Does Jeff have a episodic or narrative self?
Micro Essay: How might we use some of the themes we have been exploring (personal identity, the multiple self, cross-cultural selves, the narrative self) in an analysis of Robert Peace and how Hobbs portrays Peace.
Mon: Nov 4
Forgetting and the Self
Jonah Lehrer, The Forgetting Pill Erases Painful Memories Forever, FYS Readings Part Two, pages 72 - 90
Watch: Lacuna Commercial
Well, would you? Would you take a pill to forget bad memories? Why or why not? Think about an argument for why we ought or ought not to take such a pill. If you could go to Lacuna, Inc. and have the memory of a bad relationship erased, would you?
Micro Essay: Let's think about the implications of Lehrer’s account of memories for the psychological theory of personal identity and for our reading of Jeff Hobb’s book. On the basis of his reporting on the nature of memory, what do you think Lehrer might have to say about Hobb's memoir of Robert Peace's life?
Weds: Nov 6
Alzheimers and the Self
READ: Charles Leadbeater, The Disremembered, FYS Readings Part Two, pages 91 - 99
Micro Essay: How does Leadbeater suggest we understand the nature of the self and dementia?
You might also be interested in: The Strange Case of the Woman Who Can't Remember Her Past
Fri: Nov 8
Our Third Participation Quiz: Discussion #3 of The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace
Read: Part IV, pages 205 - 284
Micro Essay: There is no micro essay due today.
Let's think about some of the themes we have been exploring and some of what is going on with Rob and Jeff. What's happening in Rob's life? What's happening in Jeff's life? How is Jeff choosing to portray Rob's life? You might want to take stock of some of the concepts, theories, and ideas we have been exploring in this unit of the course. How might you apply one of the selections we have read in this unit of the course to Hobbs' narrative or Robert Peace's life? Think about how you might use the ideas from our readings to help illuminate interesting questions and hypotheses regarding The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace. Come to class with some prepared comments so that you can meaningfully engage in a discussion, support one another, and generate some ideas that might be helpful for your third writing assignment.
Mon: Nov 11
Authenticity and the Self
Ben Yacobi, The Limits of Authenticity, FYS Readings Part Two, pages 100 - 108
You might also be interested in: Cody Delistraty, The Coming-of-Age Con, FYS Readings Part Two, pages 109 - 116
Micro Essay: Would Jeff Hobbs think that Robert Peace is living an authentic life? Do you think he is living an authentic life?
Weds: Nov 13
Discussion #4 of The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace
Read: Parts V and VI, pages 287 - 406
Micro Essay: Let's imagine that Robert Peace is taking Dr. Weiss' FYS "Who Am I? What Am I?" (which he loves--it's his favorite class!) and has just finished reading The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs. He's been asked to write a micro essay now that he has finished reading the story (his story)--what does he write?
Fri: Nov 15
Peer Review Process: Writing Assignment #3
Today we will work on drafts of our third formal writing assignment. The final draft of your first writing assignment is due Wednesday, November 20.
Part Four: Technology and the Self
Most of you probably use digital technologies every day, maybe for long stretches of the day. We use and interact with many forms of technologies throughout the day. What is the impact of these technologies on our sense of self? How does technology impact how we present ourselves to others? In what ways does technology mediate our sense of self? These are the questions we want to explore in this fourth and final portion of the course. Remember that you always need to bring your day’s reading to class. There may be days that I ask that you bring a hard copy of reading to class. The readings for this portion of the course can be found on Moodle: FYS Readings Part Three.
Mon: Nov 18
The Cyborg Self
WATCH: Amber Case, "We Are All Cyborgs Now"
Read: Hari Kunzru, "You are Cyborg"
You can find a transcript of Case's TED Talk in our FYS Readings Part Three, pages 1 - 3.
You might also be interested in reading: Jennifer Ouellette, My So-Called Second Life: Are you your avatar? FYS Readings Part Three pages 4 - 16
Micro Essay: Why do Amber Case and Donna Haraway think we are all cyborgs now? Do you agree with them? Does your use of technology impact your sense of self and how you present yourself?
The final draft of your third writing assignment is due in class today. Remember to bring your final draft, your rough draft, and your peer evaluation.
Weds: Nov 20
The Online Multiple Self
Sherry Turkle: Who Am We? FYS Readings Part Three pages 17 - 39
Elizabeth Weil: What Do Teens Learn Online Today? That Identity is a Work in Progress
Turkle discusses MUDs and MOOS, which are text-based role playing virtual systems. Today’s massively multiplayer online role-playing games are the direct descendants of MUDs and MOOs. You can read more about MUDs and MOOs HERE. Is playing Fortnite similar to participating in a MUD or MOO? What do you think?
Micro Essay: More than twenty years separate the Internet experiences that Turkle and Weil document. What do we learn about the self and technology from these two dispatches about Internet culture? See if you can identify two or three takeaways from these two articles.
The final draft of your third writing assignment is due in class today. Remember to bring your final draft, your rough draft, and your peer evaluation.
Fri: Nov 24
The Self and Social Media
Read: Dana Boyd, Teens and Social Media, FYS Readings Part Three pages 41 - 65
You might also be interested in Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson, Studying the Digital Self
Micro Essay: According to Boyd, in what ways has teens' online lives complicated their sense of identity? Do your own experiences with social media confirm or disconfirm her account of teens and their sense of identity?
If you’re interested, you can find Dana Boyd on YouTube discussing her work:
Mon: Nov 25
Stop Googling! It’s time for your final participation quiz!
Jean Twenge: Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? FYS Readings Part Three pages 66 - 80
Sherry Turkle, Stop Googling. Let's Talk FYS Readings Part Three pages 81 - 89
You may also be interested in:
Sherry Turkle, The Tethered Self
Connected, But Alone? Sherry Turkle's TED Talk
You can find critical responses to Twenge and Turkle here, if you're interested:
Alexandra Samuel: Yes, Smartphones Are Destroying a Generation, But Not of Kids
Nathan Jurgenson: Does the Internet Allow Us to Be More or Less Ourselves
- Nathan Jurgenson, Digital Dualism
Micro Essay: Today we will have our fourth Participation Quiz. You will be responsible for making three meaningful contributions to our class discussion. There is no micro essay due today, but you should prepare a list of participation topics. This could include, among other discussion topics:
Do you agree with Turkle's analysis of the impact of technology on the sense of self?
How has Turkle changed her mind since writing about MUDS/MOOs to writing about smart phones and Google?
What is Jean Twenge’s main thesis? What evidence does she present in her essay in support of her thesis?
Do you see evidence for Twenge's and Turkle's assessment of technology in your own use of technology?
Do you feel as if your self is tethered to your technology? Is this a good thing? a natural or unnatural thing? A bad thing?
What would Dana Boyd say in response to Turkle's admonition to stop googling and talk? How might Boyd reply to Twenge? What might Twenge say to Boyd?
Whose analysis is more consistent with your own experiences?
What would Amber Case say in reply to Turkle’s observations?
Think back to some of our earlier readings (Bloom, Dennett, Yacobi). How might they be applicable to the issues Turkle or Twenge raises?
Can you connect our current issue (technology's impact on our sense of self) with any of the readings and discussions we have had in the previous units of the course?
How might you use these articles to develop an argument of your own for your fourth writing assignment?
Weds: Nov 27, Fri: Nov 29
Thanksgiving Break: No Class
You and Your Technology: Over the course of the Thanksgiving break, you might want to monitor and critically reflect on your technology use. What forms of technology are you using most? How much are using them? How are you using them? Are there particular apps or social media sites you are using? What do you think is the impact of your technology use on your sense of self? On how you interact with friends and family?
Mon: Dec 2
The Self and Psychopharmacology
Carl Elliott, The Tyranny of Happiness: Ethics and Cosmetic Psychopharmacology FYS Readings Part Three pages 90 - 100
Micro Essay: Elliott argues that if given the chance to use pharmaceuticals to relieve a person's alienation or "spiritual emptiness" so that the person feels less disoriented or lost he would not. Can you reconstruct his reasons for arguing against this practice? Why is he opposed to what he refers to as cosmetic psychopharmacology?
As young first-semester college students, some of you may have a hard time identifying with what Elliott identifies with the current predicament of many Westerners living in the 21st century, though your parents and grandparents may have a keen sense of this predicament. It's a predicament that's actually caught quite nicely in the song "Is That All There Is?"
Weds: Dec 4
READ: David DeGrazia, Prozac, Enhancement, and Self-Creation, FYS Readings Part Three pages 101 - 107
Micro Essay: Who do you find yourself agreeing with more in regard to cosmetic psychopharmacology: Elliott or DeGrazia?
Fri: Dec 6
Transhumanism and the Self
WATCH: How close are we to downloading the human brain?
READ: Susan Schneider, Future Minds: Transhumanism, Cognitive Enhancement and the Nature of Persons, FYS Readings Part Three pages 109 - 119
Schneider imagines a future scenario in which we can upload ourselves to cyberspace. This has been explored in several science fictions films, including Transcendence, The Lawnmower Man, and even The Matrix.
Micro Essay: Does Schneider think we should download ourselves to cyberspace? Why or why not? Would you look forward to the possibility of downloading yourself to cyberspace?
Mon: Dec 9
Drafting of final paper: Peer Review Process
Today we will work on drafts of our fourth formal writing assignment. The final draft of your first writing assignment is due Monday, December 16.
There is no final exam in this course. The final draft of your fourth assignment is due Monday, December 16. Instructions for submitting your assignment can be found on the writing prompt.
Weds: Dec 11
Reading Day: There is no class today. This is a day set aside for you to prepare for your finals.