We can all imagine ways our lives might be better, and ways they might be worse. So too, we can imagine better and worse ways for our lives to end. And its obvious that the choices we make affect the quality of our lives. In this course, we will examine a variety of philosophical perspectives on these issues. In particular, we will raise the following questions:
- What makes life worth living? What does it take to lead a good life?
- What is the relationship between a person’s moral character, her actions, and her well-being?
- What, if anything, makes death bad?
- Should we fear death?
- Is there any such thing as a good death?
- What does it mean to be rational?
- What does it mean to make good choices?
- What is the relationship between choosing rationally and living well?
We will explore how contemporary research in psychology and behavioral economics informs our answers to these questions. We will also explore how contemporary social and institutional factors affect one’s chances of living a good life, with particular focus on the impact of social inequalities. Students will develop philosophical skills that enable them to approach these and other important questions carefully, thoughtfully, and rigorously.
Grades will be based on in-class participation, quizzes, essays and exams.
No previous experience with Philosophy is assumed
4 hrs of lecture w/discussion per week