PHIL SYLLABUS - PHIL 105 Meaning Happiness and the Good...

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PHIL 105 Meaning, Happiness and the Good Life • Cathal Woods SP 08 Syllabus Office: Blocker 229 Office Hours: M - Th 4.15-5.00 Email: [email protected] and by appointment Phone:x3233 Course Goals Philosophy has the potential to offer you a rich store of wisdom and self-understanding. I hope that this course opens your imagination to the variety of different sources of value in human life and some of the questions associated with leading meaningful lives. By reflecting on one of the principal problems of philosophy, we hope to become more patient and generous individuals, while at the same time, as always in a philosophy course, developing our critical thinking skills. We'll read some key texts in philosophy (and literature) in order to familiarize ourselves with various theories and arguments about, and attitudes toward, the meaning of life. Our readings are drawn from the history of philosophy East and West, from contemporary Western philosophy and from contemporary science – psychology, evolutionary biology, political economy and others. We will being looking for answers to questions such as the following: 1. What does the question ‘What is the meaning of life?’ mean? 2. What is the relationship between a happy life, a good life, and a meaningful life? 3. Is happiness found in the elimination of our desires? 4. Or by controlling how we respond to what happens to us? 5. Or in the worship and service of a universal being? 6. Or in knowledge or the pursuit of knowledge? 7. Is the virtuous person automatically happy? 8. Can human life have meaning in a material world? 9. What do scientists tell us about happiness? 10. And about the relationship between happiness and one's community? 11. How do these questions and their answers apply to my own life? 12. Can seeking happiness actually cause unhappiness? In connection with the last two questions, you should be aware that thinking about these topics can sometimes prompt personal crises. The college provides counseling services, which can be contacted by phone at 455-5730 . Texts 1. The Weight of Things , Jean Kazez, Blackwell 2. The Happiness Hypothesis , Jonathan Haidt, Basic Books 3. Happiness: The Science Behind Your Smile , Daniel Nettle, Oxford University Press 4. Brave New World and Brave New World Revisited, Aldous Huxley, Harper Perennial 5. Readings on-line at our class Blackboard site. Log in at . Bookmark this page and check it daily – it will be our primary mode of communication outside class. Contact Robin Takacs (x2112) if you need assistance with Blackboard.
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Instructor’s Responsibilities As the class instructor, I take all of the following to be my responsibility: to be adequately prepared to facilitate discussion and/or lecture in each class; to encourage students to think for themselves; to make the course interesting and engaging to the majority of students; to make explanations clear, e.g. by using only everyday English and defined terms; to treat all students with respect;
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PHIL SYLLABUS - PHIL 105 Meaning Happiness and the Good...

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