The Examined Life: Religion and Philosophy on the Art of Living|
Spring 2019 not offered
|Certificates: Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory|
What kind of life is worthy of a human being? How do you examine what W. B. Yeats called "the dark corners of your own soul" with the same scrutiny you give the world around you? To live a noble life is the most critical challenge we face as individuals, the courage to confront ourselves and our most cherished assumptions, and to face the world, in turn, as a conscious steward. To live an examined life, as Socrates implored over 2,400 years ago, is to be actively engaged in the world and to take ownership of our choices. It is to live in the sacred space between thought and action, truth and justice, philosophy and life.
Both philosophy and religion, for all their differences, ask the same perennial questions of humanity: How do you create a flourishing human life? Philosophy is not the possession of wisdom, but the love of wisdom, an orientation to truth and justice constantly in the making, demanding renewed devotion to conscious living. Diverse religious traditions, in turn, define the religious life as the striving for sanctity and human wisdom, in short, a way of life in harmony with the deepest truths of existence. In this seminar, we will explore classics of religious thought and Western philosophy as complementary responses to the deepest questions of humanity and the quest for a noble life. We begin at the beginning, with Socrates' challenge that the unexamined life is not fit for a human being, and explore how this challenge was put into practice in medieval and modern times. We will conclude with contemporary philosophers, both religious and secular, who challenge us anew to live up to the ancient Socratic ideal.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Discussion||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (RELI)
Selections from ancient authors: Plato, Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius
Selections from medieval authors: Maimonides, Ignatius of Loyola, Theresa of Avila, Benedict Spinoza
Selections from modern authors: R.W. Emerson, H.D. Thoreau, M. Foucault, A.J. Heschel, M.L. King
|Examination and Assignments: |
Midterm and final papers, short Moodle postings.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
This course fulfills the "Thematic Approach" requirement for the Religion Department major.