ICS Calendar Title: Person, Family, Society

ICS Course Code:  ICS 130609 F11

Instructor: Dr. Shannon Hoff, shoff@icscanada.edu, 416. 979. 2331 ext. 232

Term and Year: Thursdays, 1:30-4:30 pm, Fall 2011

Last Updated: October 3, 2011

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 fully 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, religious community, and groups formed on the basis of other kinds of shared identities. We will look at the way in which we emerge as individuals only through these primary identifications, and at the conflicted way in which our individuality is essentially an attempt to understand and even overcome them. We will also 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. The course includes readings from diverse philosophical, religious, and literary texts and films. It aims to develop an existentially and philosophically rich sensitivity to the complexity of the social relationships that shape us and make claims on us.

Course Materials (to be purchased at Bob Miller Book Room, 180 Bloor St. W.)

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)

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

Course Requirements

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 the

experience of the class as a whole.

Presentations        25%

Each course participant will give one presentation on course readings.

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 at the beginning of the course

Recommended Readings

Aeschylus, Euripides, and Sophocles, 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)

__________, The Case for God (Robarts Library: BL473 .A76 2009X)

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)

Annie Dillard, The Living (Regis College Library: PS3554 .I398 L5 1999)

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

William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury (Robarts Library: PS3511 .A86 A6 2006X, also available as an e-book through the UTL system)

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”

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: ON Order – shelved on S. Hoff's course 'Liberal theory and its critics' shelf)

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

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

Malcolm X, “The Ballot or the Bullet” (http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/speeches/malcolm_x_ballot.html)

Course Schedule

Part One: Family and State

September 15                Introduction

September 22                Sophocles, Antigone

September 29                Plato, Lysis

October 6                          Plato, Republic, Book II

October 13                        Aristotle, Politics, Book I, Chapters 1 and 2

Part Two: Conscience and Calling

October 20                        Paul, Letter to the Romans

October 27                        NO CLASS

November 3                        Paul, Letter to the Romans


November 10                        Joan of Arc (film TBD)


November 17                        Bonhoeffer, Ethics, “What Is Meant by ‘Telling the Truth’?”

Part Three: Living in Tension

November 24                        Russon, Human Experience

December 1                        Russon, Human Experience


December 8                        Russon, Human Experience

December 15                Satyajit Ray, The Home and the World (film)