Self, Society, & Social Networks

Ronald Sundstrom

PHIL 195
Core D1

Course Description:

Working out a sense of our goals, having friends, and contributing to the common good, as Aristotle and other philosophers have noted, is at the center of our experience of the good life, of a life worth living. This course will introduce you to some of those magnificent ideas in the history of philosophy, and you will see how these ideas, of self and society, are reflected in the activities of the city around us. Slowing down to reflect on the philosophy of the human person requires that you step back from the online flurry of shaping our profiles, and of “friending” and “de-friending,” to consider how modern media is altering our experience of society, friendship, and the meaning of being human. Pushing back against this massive trend cultural critics declare: You Are Not a Gadget. And that your most valuable social networks are not virtual. Through this philosophy course, together with your peers, you will examine what is enduring, what is changing, and what is fundamentally important about our social networks, digital or otherwise.

Faculty Bio:

Ronald Robles Sundstrom is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of San Francisco; additionally, he teaches for USF’s African American Studies program and the Master of Public Affairs program for the Leo T. McCarthy Center of Public Service and the Common Good. He is the Co-Winner (with Brian Komei Dempster) of the 2010 USF Distinguished Teaching Award. His areas of research include race theory, political and social theory, and African and Asian American philosophy. He has published several essays and a book in these areas, including The Browning of America and The Evasion of Social Justice (SUNY, 2008).