Interdisciplinary Honors Seminars

Hard Choices

01:090:294:03 Index# 12065
Professor Ruth Chang, SAS - Philosophy 
F 11:30A - 02:30P
Honors College, Rm S120
College Ave Campus


Course WILL count for major and minor credit in Philosophy

Life is rife with hard choices. Should you become a doctor or a lawyer? How much should you sacrifice in order to help others? Should you marry and have children? This course examines the phenomenon of hard choices by focusing on two questions: (1) what makes a choice hard? and (2) what should/does one do when faced with a hard choice? We explore answers to these questions from a variety of perspectives – philosophical, religious, literary, psychological, and neuroscientific. Potential readings: Allingham, Michael, Choice Theory: A Very Short Introduction Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics Lehrer, Jonah, How We Decide Sartre, Jean Paul, Existentialism is a Humanism Styron, William, Sophie’s Choice Course Packet (CP) – Additional articles and book chapters compiled and available on the first day of class.

RUTH CHANG earned a Doctorate of Philosophy from Balliol College, University of Oxford and a J.D. Harvard. She is interested in pretty much all areas of philosophy. Her current research concerns 1) the nature of normativity 2) the explanatory relation between reasons and values 3) the underdetermination of reasons or values 4) the role of the will in practical reason 5) self-constitution, 6) animal versus human action, and 7) social choice and legal adjudication. She is exploring connections among these topics, each of which grows out of a long-standing interest in the 'incommensurability' of values.