ICS Calendar Title: Person, Family, Society

ICS Course Code: ICSD 130609 F12

Instructor: Dr. Shannon Hoff, shoff@icscanada.edu, 416.885.9151

Term and Year: Fall 2012

Last Updated: July 13, 2012


1. Course Description

2. Reading Schedule

3. Course Requirements

4. Required Readings

5. Some Recommended Readings

1. Course Description

This course will reflect on the nature of the social world and the different demands it makes upon us, demands that are personal, familial, political, social, and religious. Challenging the common view that individuals are independent and self-made realities, we will look at the different kinds of communities that define us, in both restrictive and enabling ways: family, political society, and religion. We will explore the tensions that arise between these various communities and the claims they make upon us—between family and social membership, between religious community and political membership, between formal legal identity and concrete group identification, and so on. We will look at the way in which we emerge as individuals only through these primary identifications, but we will explore how our individuality and our sense of being called can push us away from these identifications. The course includes diverse texts and films; it aims to develop familiarity with historically significant periods and texts, and an existentially and philosophically rich sensitivity to the complexity of the social relationships that shape us and make claims on us.

2. Reading Schedule

Part One: Family and State

September 11                Introduction

September 18                Sophocles, Antigone

September 25                Plato, Lysis

October 2                        Plato, Republic, Book II

October 9                        Aristotle, Politics, Book I, Chapters 1 and 2

Part Two: Conscience and Calling

October 16                        Paul, Letter to the Romans

October 23                        NO CLASS

October 30                        Paul, Letter to the Romans


November 7                        Joan of Arc (film TBD)


November 13                Bonhoeffer, Ethics, “What Is Meant by ‘Telling the Truth’?”

Part Three: Originary Dissociations

November 20                Russon, Human Experience

November 27                Russon, Human Experience


December 4                Russon, Human Experience

December 11                Satyajit Ray, The Home and the World (film)

3. Course Requirements

Note: These requirements will change for the online version of the course.

Class Participation        15%

Each course member is required to do the reading assignment and participate in class

discussions. Good participation should be mindful of the participation of others, and should have as its priority the construction of a shared conversation.

Presentations        25%

Each course participant will give one presentation on course readings, which s/he will present to me approximately five days prior to the class, and will revise in light of my comments. The presentation should be the equivalent of seven double-spaced pages.

Writing Assignments        60%

Each course participant must hand in six writing assignments throughout the semester, answering a question about the reading that I will provide. These writing assignments should be treated as an occasion for developing and improving your writing. 

4. Required Readings

Aristotle, Politics (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: JC71 .A41 S5)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BJ1253 .B615 1965)

Paul, Letter to the Romans

Plato, Lysis (ICS Reserve Shelf: B353 .C3 1997 in Complete Works)

____, Republic (ICS Reserve Shelf: B353 .C3 1997 in Complete Works)

John Russon, Human Experience (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BF204.5 .R87 2003)

Sophocles, Antigone (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: PA4414 .A1 G7 v.1)

5. Some Recommended Readings

David Grene and Richmond Lattimore, eds., The Complete Greek Tragedies, Vol. 1-3 (Robarts Library: PA3626 .A2 G67 v.1-3)

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B430 .A5 W4)

Tamim Ansary, Destiny Disrupted (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: DS35.63 .A57 2009 ; Robarts Library: DS35.63 .A57 2009X)

Karen Armstrong, Mohammed: A Prophet for Our Time (Robarts Library: BP75 .A764 2006, also available as an e-book through the UTL system)

Alain Badiou, Saint Paul: The Foundations of Universalism (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BS2650.52 .B3313 2003)

René Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B1853 .E5 C73 1979)

Herman Dooyeweerd, Roots of Western Culture (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BR115 .C5 D6613)

Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BF173 .F682 1962)

G. W. F. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B2928 .E5 M54 1977)

Martin Heidegger, Being and Time (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B3279 .H48 S413 1996)

Immanuel Kant, “Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View”in On History. New York: Bobbs-Merrill, 1963.(ICS Library Reserve Shelf: D16.7 .K3)

R. D. Laing, The Divided Self (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: RC465 .L3)

Brian McLaren et. al., eds., The Justice Project  (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BR115 .J8 J877 2009)

James H. Olthuis, ed., Towards an Ethics of Community (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BD394 .T68 2000)

Plato, Apology; Crito (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B358 .C3 1997 in the Complete works)

John Russon, Bearing Witness to Epiphany (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BD450 .R788 2009))

James K. A. Smith and Henry Isaac Venema, eds., The Hermeneutics of Charity (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT83 .597 .H47 2004)

Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: DF229 .T5 C7)

D. W. Winnicott, The Child, the Family, and the Outside World (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: HQ774 .W514 1987 ; Robarts Library: HQ774 .W514 1987)

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