601 Introduction to a Liberal Education

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Instructor(s): Dr. Scheffler, Dr. Charlton
Semester: Fall 2020
Class Time: Tuesday 7-9 p.m. EDT

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This course is an introduction to the great books through reading representative western works of philosophy, drama, religion, literature, biography, political philosophy, and civil government. It will provide the student with a basic familiarity of the texts the study of which constitutes a liberal education, an education which is the education of the free person, the person who is able to think and to think for himself. The texts studied in this course are not merely relevant to our time, but relevant to all times and places, a sampling of the works whose subject is how to be a human being. They are the general works that transcend any of the specializations that tend to constitute modern learning. This course will provide a general grounding for the other more thematic courses in the program.

  • PLATO, Apology and Crito
  • PLATO, The Republic, Book I-II
  • SOPHOCLES, Oedipus the King and Antigone
  • ARISTOTLE, Nicomachean Ethics, Book I
  • ARISTOTLE, Politics, Book I
  • PLUTARCH, The Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, “Lycurgus,” “Numa Pompilius,” “Lycurgus and Numa Compared,” “Alexander,” and “Caesar”
  • The Bible, Old Testament, Job
  • ST. AUGUSTINE, Confessions, Books I-VIII
  • MONTAIGNE, The Essays, “Of Custom and That We Should Not Easily Change a Law Received,” “Of Pedantry,” “Of the Education of Children,” “That It Is Folly to Measure Truth and Error by Our Own Capacity,” “Of Cannibals,” and “That the Relish of Good and Evil Depends in a Great Measure upon the Opinion We Have of Them”
  • SHAKESPEARE, Hamlet
  • LOCKE, Concerning Civil Government, Second Essay
  • SWIFT, Gulliver’s Travels
  • GIBBON, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Ch. XV-XVI
  • The Declaration of Independence
  • The Constitution of the United States of America
  • The Federalist, Nos. 1-10
  • MARX and ENGELS, Manifesto of the Communist Party