The objective of this course is two-fold. First, this course introduces students to the roots of modern Western political, economic, and social thought. Through a careful reading of canonical texts, the foundational symbols and concepts of modern Western thought will be analyzed and critically assessed.
Our second objective is to learn how these symbols and concepts can be brought to bear on contemporary problems and how they inform questions about our own political and personal order. How, for instance, is the modern world different from the ancient? What is the role of rationality in modern social, political, and economic life? What is the place of technology? What are the ramifications of these developments on our public lives? On our interior lives? Students are encouraged to keep these objectives in mind for both discussion sections and their written work.