PHIL 305 CP, Philosophy of the Human Person

David Baird, Ph.D. cand., Tuesdays & Thursdays, 2:35 pm to 3:50 pm

PHIL 305 CP, Philosophy of the Human Person (3 sem. hrs.)

This course addresses what it means to say that human beings are persons having freedom and subjectivity. It examines the different powers of the human person, including the powers of understanding, willing, feeling, and loving. It will also examine the difference between body and soul, as well as the unity of the two in humans. Finally, it will explore the question of the immortality of the soul.

Instructor's Note: As a doctor often studies health by way of its opposite, so in this course positive accounts of the human person will be examined in close conjunction with negatives. The aim will be to reach a nuanced appreciation of human persons not only as individuals but as parts of functioning and flourishing societies, and will include critical engagement with several modern assumptions and attitudes by way of various postmodern critiques. As the focus is on human subjectivity, this will be done with frequent recourse to psychology, theology and the arts, specifically contemporary depictions of personal and interpersonal breakdown in postapocalyptic and zombie fictions.

  • Prerequisites: any 100-level PHIL course, or instructor’s permission.

  • The course meets the University Core Requirement for Philosophy, and meets the requirements for a Philosophy Major, Concentration, or Minor; English Ancillary Requirement; and Christianity and Culture: Catholic Studies Minor.

  • All CPC courses may be counted as electives for any TWU Degree.

  • CPC courses may count towards CPC certificates as listed in the Course Requirements for each Certificate.

Video: Night of the Living Dead, 1968, SGL Entertainment. Warning: Mature content with extra cheese.

"Romero’s grainy black-and-white cinematography and casting of locals emphasize the terror lurking in ordinary life; as in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963), Romero’s victims are not attacked because they did anything wrong, and the randomness makes the attacks all the more horrifying. Nothing holds the key to salvation, either, whether it’s family, love, or law. Topping off the existential dread is Romero’s then-extreme use of gore, as zombies nibble on limbs and viscera. Initially distributed by a Manhattan theater chain owner, Night, made for about 100,000 dollars, was dismissed as exploitation, but after a 1969 re-release, it began to attract favorable attention for scarily tapping into Vietnam-era uncertainty and nihilistic anxiety. By 1979, it had grossed over 12 million, inspired a cycle of apocalyptic splatter films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), and set the standard for finding horror in the mundane. However cheesy the film may look, few horror movies reach a conclusion as desolately unsettling." Night of the Living Dead, 1968, SGL Entertainment