GOVT-357 Dept Sem. Modern Critics of Modernity
Fall for 2013-2014
Lise Van Boxel
Among the critics of the modern world in which we still live, two thinkers stand out as offering the most powerful diagnoses and most challenging condemnations of modern politics and modern life. Jean Jacque Rousseau exposes many flaws of modern civil society, including a loss of citizenly virtues, an expansion of selfish self-love, and a general and pervasive disintegration of the inner self of human beings that threatens to make human happiness impossible. Friedrich Nietzsche portrays the modern world as so thoroughly animated by a leveling egalitarian spirit that it threatens all forms of human excellence and all future possibilities of human excellence. Both thinkers see late modernity as a time of crisis and display deep and harrowing projections of possible futures if something is not done to address this crisis. This course will consider with care and close readings of the assigned texts the problems of modernity as diagnosed by both thinkers and will consider solutions proposed by each thinker to those problems.
Prerequisites: Junior and Senior Government Majors
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