Loyola University Chicago

Department of Philosophy

PHIL 280: Being Human: Philosophical Perspectives

PHIL 280: Being Human: Philosophical Perspectives

The Generic Catalog Description

An introduction to philosophical thinking through the question: What does it mean to be human? As a first course in philosophy, it is an introduction to what philosophy is and to works of major philosophers. As a treatment of the meaning of human nature, the course considers the human person as physical being, as knower, as responsible agent, as a person in relation to other persons, to society, to God, and to the end, or purpose, of human life.

PHIL 280: Being Human

Hanne Jacobs

In this course, we will examine different philosophical accounts of what it means to be a self. Our presumption will be that we as human beings are more than mere material bodies and we will inquire into the different ways in which philosophers from different eras have attempted to define this “more.” In doing so, we will discuss several aspects that characterize our lives as specifically human, such as conscious awareness, reason and knowledge, freedom, time (past and future), personal identity, embodiment, and responsibility. Our reading of several texts out of the history of philosophy will enable us to raise certain perennial philosophical questions such as the question concerning the relation between world and self. Among the authors we will discuss are Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Locke, Leibniz, and more contemporary phenomenological accounts (e.g. Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, and Levinas).

PHIL 280: Being Human

Daniel Vaillancourt

Short Description: This course examines the way philosophy looks for fundamental characteristics that identify life as a properly human life, asks about its ultimate meaning or purpose, and raises questions about what counts as a good life. 
Outcome Statement: Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of the various approaches of the philosophical question of what it means to be human.

I believe in class-by-class graded assignments that give evidence of the work you do between classes (you should work daily on this course). I use everything: quizzes, essays, discussions, presentations, groups, debates, dramatizations, and so on. My medium of choice, however, is the written one. I use an electronic classroom and rely heavily on the web, email, and other technological marvels to conduct class.

Typical Readings: 
Christopher Biffle, A Guided Tour of Rene Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy 
Joan Frances Crowley and Dan Vaillancourt, Lenin to Gorbachev 
Sigmund Freud, The Ego and the Id  
Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialism and Human Emotions 
Zachary Seech, Writing Philosophy Papers 
Viktor Frankl, Man's Search For Meaning