PHIL 253: Philosophy and Literature

PHIL 253-005: Philosophy and Literature
(Fall 2023)

12:00 PM to 01:15 PM TR

Thompson Hall 2022

Section Information for Fall 2023

This course fulfills the Mason Core requirement for Literature.

In this course we will examine problems of text and authority presented by fictive literature. Through close readings of texts considered philosophical, theoretical and fictional we will address the problem of truth from different angles and get different answers to the question: ‘what is true?’  We will also explore the question of writing itself as both a productive and reproductive enterprise. What is the status of the author?  What is the relationship between authority and truth in/of a text?

Plato poses our first questions here by the elaborate framing of his own authority and the critical examination of the limits of the written word. In their own ways Friedrich Nietzsche, Tim O’Brien and Clarice Lispector can be seen as responding to this Platonic challenge by transforming the relationships between truth, writing and reality. Similarly, Roland Barthes, Jorge Luis Borges and Hélène Cixous develop and deepen the problem of authority and the production of writing initiated by Plato. Through close reading and class discussion we will explore these philosophical issues that are not limited to the realm of literature but are perhaps best exemplified there.

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Course Information from the University Catalog

Credits: 3

Examines differences and relations between literary and philosophical texts. Examines texts from a given period in the history of literature and philosophy. Topics include the presence of common issues in literary and philosophical writings, the influence of philosophical ideas on the production of literary texts and literary theory, and the development in literary texts of issues that are possible objects of philosophical inquiry. Limited to three attempts.
Mason Core: Literature
Schedule Type: Lecture
Grading:
This course is graded on the Undergraduate Regular scale.

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