Literature and Philosophy (IDENTITY (SOCIAL (RACE (DU BOIS: Notes the…
Literature and Philosophy
LOCKE: Seeks to understand what constitutes personal identity, and decides it involves continuity of memory, as well as a collection of experiences and knowledge over time.
PROUST: Seeks to define the self in terms of physical orientation and sensory experience, as well as memory, and habit.
BUTLER: Argues that gender, as a man-made construct, is nothing more than a series of performative acts, which may be imposed upon one by society.
DE BEAUVOIR: States that women are unfairly defined as "the other" by males. Given the status of a "particularity," and thus she experiences limitations to her expression of self.
DU BOIS: Notes the experience of "Double-Consciousness" as a black man, the viewing of oneself as an individual, but also as one defined by how the dominant whites view him, with "amused contempt" and "pity."
PEELE: Uses the themes of racial exploitation, as well as double-consciousness, to examine the injustices that black people face due to racism and "othering."
CHARLES MILLS: Argues that race is a human construct, one which may seem arbitrary, but is powerful nevertheless because of its great impact on human lives.
STATUS OF HUMANITY
KAFKA: Gregor's household role as breadwinner is compromised when he turns into a giant insect, altering his family's perception of him. Though his body has changed, he retains his old memories and sense of self, yet his family revokes his former identity and defines him as "it."
INNATE / A PRIORI
DESCARTES: "And from the mere fact that such an idea is in me...I draw the obvious conclusion that God also exists...."
NIETZSCHE: Argues that the doctrine of philosophers are products of their own biases, desires, and times.
SARTRE: "Moreover, to say that we invent values means nothing else but this: life has no meaning a priori."
LE GUIN: The "Omelans" seek to preserve their way of life at the expense of a child's suffering.
OPPENHEIMER: The gangsters argue that history belongs to the "winners," and use brute force to retain the upper hand in society.
DUTY TO OTHERS
KANT: Argues that what is moral comes from one's "good will," that the consequences that follow do not matter, as long as the intent was good.
J.S. Mill: Argues that one should act according to the greatest utility. Even an act of selfishness, if it maximizes utility, is an ideal act.
ARENDT: Falls in both categories. Eichmann's acts are deplorable because they caused much death and suffering, but also because he acted thoughtlessly. He was not motivated out of hatred, but duty to his state, yet she argues he still must pay for his actions.
ANTIGONE: Acts out of familial duty to give her brother a proper burial, despite the threat of punishment by death