What is happiness? What makes our lives meaningful and go well? Is it possible to investigate such subjects objectively? In the seminar, we are going to look at some recent work in philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, and the social sciences to help us better understand these puzzling phenomena.
This course will explore the moral concerns of modern living. What does it mean to be “good”? Where do my moral rules come from? Is selfishness really so bad, or can it be a virtue? Is there a relationship between happiness and morality? Are there universal moral laws that should be followed by everyone everywhere? Or should we judge moral actions only by their consequences? What is our responsibility to our planet and other people?
In this class, we will engage with short fiction to extract and discuss interesting philosophical questions. Some of the fiction we encounter will involve time travel and others not. Robert Heinlein, Ursula LeGuin, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and Ted Chang are some of the authors we may discuss.