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Psychology 496: C.S. Lewis’ Views of Human Nature

C.S. Lewis’ Views of Human Nature

Spring 2000

Psychology 496: Section: 79803
University Studies 410: Section: 92330
TR 9:40-10:55, G&G 405

Alvin G. Burstein

This is a capstone course. As such, its concerns are situated at the interface of several academic disciplines. It is value oriented, concerning itself with choices faced in our lives. It is writing intensive. It requires students to actively participate in a number of ways: by using the library and the internet to acquire supplemental information, by presenting their thinking in class and following the arguments of others and by writing papers.

The core reading will be C. S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy. Class sessions will consist of detailed discussions of the manner in which defining aspects of human nature are raised in the reading for that day. Roll will be taken in class. Twenty-five percent of the final grade will be based on attendance and participation.

Three papers will be required, each about 1200 words in length (4-5 typed double spaced pages). Papers must be typed. The first paper will deal with the student’s own sense of kinship and alienation as contrasted with Lewis’.

The second paper will describe an aspect of Lewis’ life and the impact it had on his views of human nature as expressed in the readings.

The third paper will deal with a core characteristic of human nature (other than kinship) and contrast the student’s views with those of Lewis.

Each paper will determine twenty-five percent of the final grade. Late papers will have points deducted.


C.S. Lewis’s Views of Human Nature
Schedule of Readings


Jan 13 Whose Life is it Anyway?
Jan 18
Jan 20
Jan 25 Psychological Characteristics of Human Being
Jan 27 Begin OSP
Feb 1 Submit topic for third paper
Feb 3
Feb 8
Feb 10 First paper due
Kinship and Alienation
Feb 15
Feb 17 Begin Perelandra
Feb 22
Feb 24
Feb 29 Second paper due:
A Consequential Event in CSL’s Life
Mar 2
Mar 7 Begin THS
Mar 9
Mar 14
Mar 16
Mar 28
Mar 30
Apr 4
Apr 6
Apr 11 Third paper due
Apr 13
Apr 18
Apr 20 Some Final Questions
Apr 25 Some Final Questions
Apr 28 Some Final Questions

…the past influences everything and dictates nothing.

– Adam Phillips, Darwin’s Worms