In contrast to “The Experience of Hell” which focused on description, this section addresses the topic of explanation. To this end, we explore the social scientific concept of causation. For example: How do we account for the fact that “Hell happens…”? How do issues of cause and effect become muddled as a result of different understandings of Hell? Why does it matter which version we choose?
Image IV. Tyrants, Murderers, and Madmen: “The devil’s deeds . . .”
12. Thursday, September 30
- Robert Todd Carroll, “Satan,” in the The Skeptic’s Dictionary: READ
- Milovan Djilas, Conversations with Stalin, pp. 56-84.
- Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem, pp. 36-55.
Image V. Stalinist Terror: “a self-imposed hell. . .”
13. Tuesday, October 5
Begin to discuss George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia, read at least the first half of the book.
14. Thursday, October 7
- Conclude discussion of George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia. Entire book.
15. Tuesday, October 12
We will have a film on this date, both during class and in the evening. We will select some time period between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. to finish the film. Please make sure that you keep this slot upon on your calendar.
- Richard Bugajski, “The Interrogation” (film)
- Prepare for film by reading HERE.
You may find this depiction of Stalinist terror agonizing. In my opinion, this is no way to sugar-coat the horrors of Stalinism. Remind me to warn you beforehand about one especially disturbing scene.
16. Thursday, October 14: NO CLASS. I will be in an as-yet-to-be-named country.
Saturday, October 16 – Sunday October 24
17. Tuesday, October 26
- Begin discussion of Aldous Huxley, Brave New World. Read the first half of the book
- Benedict Carey, “Brain Researchers Open Door to Editing Memory,” New York Times, April 6, 2009: HERE
- Jonathan Colvin, “Me, my clone, and I”: READ
- “Mary had a little lamb”: RECITE
Image VI. Technology is Us: “A hell of your own making . . .”
18. Thursday, October 29
- Finish discussion of Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
19. Tuesday, November 2
- Peter Singer, “Taking Life: Humans,” from Practical Ethics (hand-out)
- Browse through this site about Peter Singer
- Harriet Johnson, “Unspeakable Conversations”: READ
- Keith Fornier, “The Dignity of the Person”: READ
20. Thursday, November 4
Second Great Debate: Topic TBA
NOTE: Please leave your technology at home. This includes electronic devices of any kind, such as laptops, i-Pads, cell phones, Kindels, video cameras, or other personal digital devices.