Philosophy and Literature

Prerequisite: Open to grades 10-12
May fulfill either Literature or Social Science requirement (ENG, SOCSCI)

The fields of philosophy and literature represent dual (and often dueling) examinations of the human condition. Sometimes the traditions are at odds with each other, with the philosopher Plato even proposing to banish poets from his ideal republic. Works of philosophy can also be literary masterpieces in their own right through the use of poetry, dramatic dialogue, and imaginative prose, while literary works can pose deep philosophical questions about free will, justice, the nature of reality, and the meaning of life. Finally, the field of literary theory uses the tools of philosophy to ask questions about what literature is and how it works. We’ll familiarize ourselves with the thinkers and branches of the Western philosophical tradition starting with the ancient Greeks, and we’ll examine how that tradition has been challenged by non-Western philosophies and underrepresented voices