Course Instructor: Lev E. Levenson
“The best weapon of a dictatorship is secrecy, but the best weapon of a democracy should be the weapon of openness”—Niels Bohr, Sophie’s World: A Novel About the History of Western Philosophy (Jostein Gaarder) is an engaging and readable best-seller which uses a series of letters to 14-year-old Sophie to raise questions such as “Who am I?” “What is the nature of the world?” and “What can I know?” The letters constitute an introductory course in philosophy. This book is for those who desire to “embark on this perilous expedition to the outermost reaches of language and existence.” No previous knowledge of philosophy is required, only a “sense of wonder.” The first part of the course will cover the Pre-Socratic philosophers; Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle; the Medieval period; and will continue through Renaissance philosophy. The second half of the course will be offered next semester. It will begin with Descartes and conclude with contemporary movements in philosophy. The book is available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.