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This course is an interdisciplinary investigation of the question of the good life. From the perspective of the students, the question of the good originates in the questions of “How should I live?” and “How should my society be ordered?” The course combines Political Philosophy, Ethics, among other disciplines to answer these questions. Readings include selections from Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Shakespeare, Scripture, Machiavelli, Tocqueville, etc. Co-curricular activities such as trips and combined learning cohort lectures are also a part of this course.
This course is an interdisciplinary examination of truth. Students may ask questions, such as, "What is truth?" and "Is truth relative?" We will read both classic and contemporary texts that aim to raise the question of the nature of truth and to explore its essential connection with goodness and beauty. We will begin with a consideration of the impoverishment of the notion of truth in contemporary discourse and then consider both the origins of this impoverishment and alternatives to it. Along the way, students will learn to read texts closely, to engage in fruitful discussion of them with their classmates and to write compelling papers.
Where do we find the beautiful? How does an encounter with beauty change us? Does it move us to love and to justice? Or does it mislead and seduce us? Does beauty walk rightly with goodness and truth, or do philosophical and theological concerns distract and deaden the artist or the lover? These questions will guide our inquiry into the beautiful across disciplines and across centuries. We will read literary works by Dante, Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, and Walker Percy and attend to visual and musical encounters with the beautiful. We will pursue the contested interpretations of beauty among classical thinkers such as Plato, Kant, Hume, and Nietzsche, as well as more recent assessments by Roger Scruton, Elaine Scarry, Josef Pieper, John Paul II, and Hans Urs van Balthasar. With these great minds, we will ask not only if beauty can save the world but also what beauty could save the world.