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This course addresses a central question in practical philosophy: How should we live? The question has two parts: What is the best life for individuals? And what social and political arrangements make such a life possible? In attempting to answer these questions we also engage related theoretical questions concerning what is real and how we have access to it.
We begin with readings from Plato’s Republic–a seminal work in the history of philosophy that illustrates the inseparability of theoretical and practical questions and has exerted a powerful influence on nearly every subsequent attempt to answer these questions in the context of the Western philosophical tradition. While reading the Republic, we also consider some of the best of these attempts in the Western philosophical canon (“footnotes on Plato” by Aristotle, Hobbes, Kant, Mill, Nietzsche and others) and the challenges they present to Plato’s conclusions.
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
six 2-page papers, two 5-page papers, presentations, participation
first-year students, prospective and actual majors
meets 100-level PHIL major requirement
LEAD Ethical Issues of Leadership
LGST Interdepartmental Electives