Special Topics

Fall 2024

Enlightenment East and West 

Professor Eyal Aviv

HONR 2016:10 - 4 Credits

CRN: 83826

T 1:30PM - 4:00PM

***This course is limited to students who have been admitted to the Honors Program as rising sophomores.***

Course Description: 

Throughout history, philosophers, poets, and religious leaders have argued that there is more to life than meets the eye. To help us, ancient and modern thinkers chart paths to see reality more clearly. In Ancient Athens, for example, Plato encouraged us to use wisdom to climb out of the cave of ignorance and see the light of truth. In India, sages and philosophers asked us to lift the veil of ignorance to see things as they are. In this seminar, we will follow some of these ancient and more modern paths.

We will focus on two relevant key terms as our guiding themes, Enlightenment and Liberation, and cover thinkers seeking liberation from, among others, epistemological, political, racial, and gender bondages. We will examine similarities and differences between various seminal responses to the problems of human wisdom, truth, suffering, injustice, and liberation. Together, we will ask what prevents us from seeing reality more clearly and, if we agree that it is needed, what we can do to ensure personal and collective liberation.