You may review the related courses listed at the bottom of the page.
This course explores the ways in which different thinkers, texts, and traditions have responded to the question concerning the meaning of life. Topics to be covered include the questions: What is human happiness? What makes a good life? What is meaningful work? What kinds of responsibility do I have for other people? How do various thinkers, both philosophic and religious, respond to the problem of human suffering? What is the relation of personal to social identity in an age of increasing complexity? We will read classic as well as modern and contemporary texts. In addition, we will use films to provide the basis for further reflection and discussion.
Richard Sugarman ()
Dates: May 20 - June 14, 2013; Cross listed with PHIL 095 Z1
Religion 085/Philosophy 95: On the Meaning of Life Summer 2013 This course can be taken either as a philosophy or religion class. It is meant to be a value to both beginners and to people who already delved into philosophic questioning and religious life. I want to emphasize that I view all education as continuing education. The greater variety of students and the somewhat more informal setting of Summer U make these courses among my favorite to teach. The course will be divided between lecture and discussion. The requirements are simple and straightforward. Students will keep a journal featuring their reactions to the ideas we discuss and their own ideas on the reading. These journals can provide the basis for the two papers (approximately five pages each) the students write. This syllabus is roughly the one we will pursue. It may seem like a lot of reading, but it is quite doable within the timeframe. We will not read the entirety of each book. There will be reading adjustments according to the pace of the class. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at my office phone: (802)-656-4383.
Week One ? Tuesdays with Morrie: a popular work dealing with how a retired sociology professor faces his own death, and in doing so, relates to a student some of the most basic events of a meaningful life. ? Leo Tolstoy?s The Death of Ivan Ilyich: according to Tolstoy, this book was very difficult to write, but very readable and includes very clear lessons on how life should and should not be lived. ? Neither of these books are about what it is to face death?they are about encountering life?s most enduring challenges and situations. Week Two ? Excerpts from William James? classic work, The Will to Believe. This text deals with the relation of morality to religion to science. It also investigates the relation of faith to reason, trust to hope, and the importance of taking probability seriously. ? Viktor Frankl?s Man?s Search for Meaning. One of the most thought-provoking books written from the standpoint of psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, in relation to his experience as a prisoner of Nazi concentration camps. A compelling discussion on the centrality of meaning to survival and the quality of life. Week Three ? Finish Frankl. ? Begin reading Martin Buber?s I and Thou. Buber, like Frankl, advances a new and original philosophy for establishing positive interpersonal human relations. He describes a way in which we can overcome a world of alienation from institutional, bureaucratic, and corporate life. Buber remains one of the most influential philosophic thinkers of the contemporary era. Week Four ? Being There, a philosophic comedy by Jerzy Kosinski. We also will watch the film based on the book. This book focuses on appearance versus reality, the oldest philosophic distinction. It centers on the apparent absurdity of political life and the influence of television on shaping the way that we see the world around us. ? Reflections on previous readings.
Course runs from to
Lafayette Hall L300 (View Campus Map)
to on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
|Last Day to Add|
|Last Day to Drop|
|Last Day to Withdraw with 50% Refund|
|Last Day to Withdraw with 25% Refund|
|Last Day to Withdraw|
|PHIL 010 Z1||Philosophy: Intro to Phil: Ethics||to||Mon|
|PHIL 096 Z1||Philosophy: On Human Suff'g: Phil & Relig.||to||Mon|
|REL 096 Z1||Religion: On Hum Suff:Phil&Rel Responses||to||Mon|
There are no courses that meet this criteria.