This class will engage some of the central questions surrounding the human experience through the medium of film. We will seek to understand some of the major ideas and thinkers in Western thought over a period of roughly three thousand years. We will deal with a great variety of subjects that any intelligent human being would care about, engaging these topics with a critical, analytical, and rational approach. This course is not about supplying facile answers to questions like “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Rather, this course is about learning to think for yourself—while watching good movies. Together, we will try our best to understand the world around us through these great thinkers and films.
Topics, Thinkers, and Films over six modules:
Inception: The Experience Machine and Free Will – Robert Nozick and Galen Strawson
The Birds: Psychology and Desire – Sigmund Freud
Match Point: Ethical Subjectivism and Moral Luck – David Hume and Thomas Nagel
District 9: People aren’t Objects: The Categorical Imperative – Immanuel Kant
The Hunger Games: Exploitation and Alienation – Karl Marx
Groundhog Day: Happiness and Friendship– Aristotle