Course Detail
Course Components:
Enrollment Information
Enrollment Requirement:
Prerequisite: Member of Honors College.
Requirement Designation:
Social/Behavioral Science Exploration
Course Attribute:
Honors Course
In this course, students consider ideas and insights from classic works in philosophy, religion, literature, and the social sciences for the purpose of helping each student to refine his or her philosophy of life--to decide more consciously how he or she wishes to live and why. Students are expected to think candidly about how they know what they know, to reflect imaginatively on why they believe what they believe, and to explore the relationships between what they believe and how they live. During the first half of the course, students will consider the nature and implications of seven world-historical ethical systems, from the rational-practical philosophies of such diverse thinkers as Peter Singer and Marcus Aurelius to the religions of Confucianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. What does each system set forth as the basis for a good life and a just society? How do they differ and what does each suggest to its followers, or require of them? The second half of the course examines the challenges of moral and spiritual idealism "at the ground level," through literary masterpieces by Albert Camus, Feodor Dostoyevsky, John Steinbeck, and others. Throughout the course, in which the Socratic method of teaching is practiced, each student will be encouraged to apply the readings and ideas to refine his or her own philosophy of life and to explore ways he or she can better understand and serve the common good.