NEW COURSE OFFERING: "Happiness and the Good Life” (PHIL 251)
Spring of 2014, TR 12–1:15 pm. CRN: 21502
Erik Angner, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Economics, and Public Policy
What’s the best way to make ourselves happy?
It's a big question, and scholars and “experts” of all kinds have jumped in to offer their advice. PHIL 251 offers some approaches to the question of happiness from rich philosophical traditions including hedonism, stoicism, utilitarianism, and positive psychology. Students not only study these traditions, but will try them out in their own lives.
Along the way, we will examine possible answers to the following related questions:
* Do you have to be wise in order to be happy and live a good life?
* Do you have to be good?
* What is the role of the virtues – honesty, courage, chastity, kindness, and so on – in living the good life?
* Are health, money, and friendship necessary for living the good life? Are they sufficient?
* How should the person trying to live the good life deal with things like death, adversity, bad luck, and malice?
* Is happiness something that just happens to you or is it something that may be pursued and conquered?
* What can philosophy tell us about the good life? What about science? Are science and philosophy substitutes or complements?
Questions about happiness and the good life are of interest to anyone who’s breathing, but they are particularly relevant to those with an interest in moral, social and political philosophy, welfare economics, positive psychology, public health, and medicine. Authors will include Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Epictetus, Seneca, Mill, Bentham, Sidgwick, Diener, and Lyubomirsky.
The course will engage your capacity for critical, analytical, and imaginative thinking and may help you make well-founded decisions about your own and other people’s well-being. The course will demonstrate how philosophy can illuminate other areas of discourse, in all areas of study. As an introductory-level philosophy elective, the course is open to all students.
The development of this course was sponsored by Mason's Center for the Advancement of Well-Being in collaboration with the Department of Philosophy.
Please direct any questions to the instructor via email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 703-993-5602.
December 23, 2013