Fall 2009

The Moral Self:  A Comparative Inquiry

Listed in: Religion, as RELI-74


Maria R. Heim (Section 01)
John P. Reeder (Section 01)


Religious thinkers and philosophers in many times and places have worked out conceptions of the human self or agent who has desires, emotions, character traits, and intentions, and have asked how these various aspects of human nature help or hinder moral progress. This course studies various classical and contemporary treatments of human moral capacity, including arguments that our identities and actions are not a function of our conscious agency, but of social and psychological forces of which we are largely unaware.  We will read from a number of theorists (Foucault, Bourdieu, Butler, and others), but the course will be centered on a comparative analysis of the moral psychologies of the 13th century Christian figure Thomas Aquinas and the 5th century Buddhist figure, Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa.

Fall semester.  Professors Heim and Reeder.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2009