According to legend, inscribed on walls of the temple on the sacred site of Delphi in Ancient Greece were two premier injunctions: NOTHING IN EXCESS, and KNOW THYSELF. This course will be an examination of the latter injunction in an effort to discover what self-knowledge is, why it might be valuable, and what, if any, limitations it might face. What is missing from a person lacking in self-knowledge that makes her less wise, virtuous, or competent in certain areas than others who have this capacity, and what if anything might she do to fill that gap? Historical sources as well as recent research in philosophy, experimental social psychology, and neuroscience will inform our investigation, in the course of which we will become students of our own dreams, and cultivate some meditative practices.
Learners will gain familiarity with prominent themes from Western, classical Chinese, and Buddhist approaches to our knowledge of ourselves. In the course of doing so, they will gain an appreciation of the relation of self-knowledge to wisdom, of the value of intellectual humility, as well as of methods of learning about oneself that do not depend on introspection.
Learners will also become familiar with contemporary research in experimental social psychology, philosophy, and neuroscience into the emotions, the unconscious, the role of affect in decision making, and self-deception. They will also gain an appreciation of a challenge to the assumption of a coherent, unified self that derives from the Buddhist tradition.
This course was created by a partnership between The University of Edinburgh and Humility & Conviction and Public Life Project, an engaged research project based at the University of Connecticut and funded by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation.
Socrates and the Examined Life
-At his trial, charged with corrupting the Athenian youth, Socrates isn't exactly apologetic. He tells the jury to their faces that they only charged him because they don't like that he forces them to confront uncomfortable truths. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the jury sentences him to death. Socrates accepts the sentence unfazed, famously stating that he'd rather die than stop making people think, as 'an unexamined life is not worth living'. In this module we will examine this dictum and ask: was Socrates right to throw shade on the unexamimed life?
-Are you dreaming right now? How do you know you're not? Rene Descartes set himself a pretty titanic task: to doubt absolutely everything he cannot be certain of - even that the world exists! - and then try to see if we can rebuild our knowledge of ourselves and the world only from what we can be really certain of. In the process, he formulated some provocative thoughts on the radical separation of the mind from the body.
A re-casting of the Mind/Body problem
-Descartes' dualistic picture of the mind-body relation was highly influential for centuries. A vocal minority of thinkers challenged dualism, but only in the Twentieth Century did Gilbert Ryle manage to discern how Descartes' dualistic reasoning went wrong. In understanding Ryle's approach, we will also gain an appreciation of how know-how is a legitimate form of knowledge, and of how one way of gaining self-knowledge is by looking outward rather than looking inward.
MIND AND SELF: Some Aspects of Human Nature
-Is there such a thing as a human nature? And if there is, how can we know what it is? In this module we will look at how the concept of human nature is used and potentially misused, and what can all this tell us about ourselves. And finally: can human nature be changed?
Amazing course! Prof. Green is an exceptional teacher who knows the subject and delivers it with love! It didn't feel like an academic course but rather like an interesting discussion. Great philosophers Ryle, Freud, Descartes were sharing their point of views on the nature of human being, raising questions,...
Amazing course! Prof. Green is an exceptional teacher who knows the subject and delivers it with love! It didn't feel like an academic course but rather like an interesting discussion. Great philosophers Ryle, Freud, Descartes were sharing their point of views on the nature of human being, raising questions, and seeking answers. What is self? What is the "right act"? What dreams are telling us?
The last few weeks Buddhists also joined the discussion with their wise Koans and The Principle of Lightness. We, students, were deeply involved. Many were writing and sharing essays with their own research on the subject!..Another great thing about this course that there were no weekly deadlines for quizzes, the only requirement was to submit them all by the end of the course. All answers to the quiz questions are in the lectures. No additional resources are needed. Just listen carefully...I'm going to miss this class, its spirit, our FB group, and great storylike Prof. Green's lectures.
Good Afternoon. It's with some sadness that I verified that I have no longer access to this course. I got to know about coursera some weeks ago and immediately engaged in this course (even though it was finished already). I was following it very passionately, I just started with week 2, reading Descartes, and was dedicating this hours to seeing some more video lessons. Unfortunately I can't keep going...
Does anybody here have an archive of the course videos and readings links? I wanted it very bad for my days have been super entertaining with this studies. So I ask you students and you the professor for help.
Prof.Green is an amazing story-teller. I never understood or enjoyed reading ancient texts, but with M.Green's "translation" they became as current as modern literature. Socrates' or Descartes' questions about meaning of life remain open and as applicable to our times as they were centuries ago. I think the journey of knowing thyself is reconciliation and finding peace with thyself. This class is just about it.
Know Thyself is a fantastic course! The materials covered are varied and enlightening. The videos, readings and meditations set the stage to really learn a great deal about oneself. Mitch Green is a great teacher.