Why have you chosen to study at Humber this year? Do you think that doing so will make you more employable and therefore increase your income? Are you hoping to satisfy your intellectual curiosity or develop new skills? Do you hope that these skills will help you to make a difference in the lives of others? Or is school simply a good way to meet new friends and romantic partners?
If you answered yes to any of the above, you already have some ideas about the good life - you have some thoughts, that is, on what sort of things make our lives as good as they can be. Rather than assuming that we already know what ingredients go into making the good life, however, we will take a big step backwards in this course in order to study a broad range of thinkers as each attempt to find the key to the good life. For some, it will be found in the happiness of pleasurable experiences (Epicurus, Fischer, and Montaigne). For others, it will found in overcoming physical, psychological, or political obstacles to happiness (Marx, Freud, Sacks). For Rousseau, the good life consists in a tranquil celebration of nature; for Nietzsche and Emerson, in artistic individualism; and for Plato, in wisdom and knowledge. Our task will be to determine if any of these approaches - alone or in combination - can offer us any guidance as we ourselves seek to achieve the good life. Students who have taken PHIL 401 The Good Life cannot take this course.