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Philosophy for Living

The question “What is the good life?” was asked by the earliest philosophers, both Greek and Chinese. You might wonder what a bunch of people who lived thousands of years ago have to say about the good life for you—someone who lives here, now, in the 21st Century. That is one of the things we will explore in this class as we study different theories of the good life. You probably already have a variety of what we would call “pretheoretical” or unexamined ideas about what the good life is. These are things you already believe, but haven’t yet articulated or, going a step further, defended. One of the goals this semester will be for you to think deeply about the good life in a way that informs and enriches your own experience in the world. While we will be starting with what some of the ancient philosophers said about the good life (Epicureans, Stoics, Confucians) we won’t end there. We will also jump into the 20th century by examining Existentialist philosophy, and we will wrap things up by examining some current work in contemporary philosophy & psychology of human well-being. Although we will be studying many different ideas about the good life, this course isn’t guaranteed to improve your life. That is up to you. (Or is it?)