What gives an individual life meaning? Pleasure? Success in achieving desires? Flourishing in ways distinctive to a rational agent or a human being (including, for example, developing rational capacities and self-mastery, succeeding in worthwhile projects, cultivating relationships, living morally, developing spiritually)? Can we be mistaken about how well our lives are going, or about what has value? What are the main sources of uncertainty here? Does the fact that our lives will end threaten their meaning? Can luck spoil an otherwise meaningful life? Can science contribute to our understanding of these issues? We’ll examine these and related questions through historical and contemporary readings.
Format: tutorial; This tutorial will meet remotely by Zoom on a fixed weekly schedule agreed to by the instructor and participants.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
Five tutorial papers (5-6 pages in length), five critiques (2-3 pages in length), and one rewrite.
None. This tutorial is an appropriate first course in PHIL.
First-year students and potential philosophy majors
This course meets the 100-level PHIL major requirement.
Students will write a tutorial paper (5-6 pages in length) every other week, and a peer critique (2-3 pages in length) in alternating weeks, evenly spaced throughout the semester. The instructor will provide timely comments on writing skills, with suggestions for improvement.