Fall 2019 HC 221H: Mythos & Ethos I: Stories & Ethics from the Cradle of Civilization

Fall 2019-2020

Professor: Kimberley Parzuchowski

4.00 credits

  • CRN 12750: Monday & Wednesday, 12:00 - 13:20 @ CON 104
  • CRN 12757: Monday & Wednesday, 14:00 - 15:20 @ CHA 301
  • CRN 12752: Tuesday & Thursday, 16:00 - 17:20 @ TYKE 240

Human life is fraught with confusion and the anguish that we must chose to act and then live with the consequences of those actions. “How shall I live?” is an ancient question.  In this course, we will explore ethics as conceived in Western antiquity in a variety of texts including biblical literature, Plato, Aristotle, and through narratives from ancient Mesopotamia, Israel, & Greece.  With Greek philosophical insight and values as our guide, we will reflect on the nature of moral perception and how it functions in the ways we interpret and act in our world.  We will consider tensions in the human condition, particularly in relation to justice & competing duties to: family, country, gods, & self.  Noting conflicting values and paradigm shifts throughout the works we read, we will inquire into how literary and philosophical writers wrestle with these changes and what insights these ancient texts may have as we face the challenges of moral living today, particularly in strengthening our shared democratic values.  Genuine pluralism seeks to bring an authentic diversity of voices to the table to ensure the potential wellbeing at all levels of society.  Can these ancient often homogenous worlds whose ideas we have inherited, offer insights for how we ought to treat each other in the cultural & philosophical diversity of our current era?