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RELIGST 11N: The Meaning of Life: Philosophical, Aesthetic, and Religious Perspectives

Raise ultimate questions about life. Yes, the unexamined life is not worth living, but also the unlived life is not worth examining. Students and professor examine their own lives in the light of questions that the readings and lectures bring up: 1. The big picture: Is there such a thing as "the" meaning of life? 2. What is entailed in making personal-existential sense of one's own life? 3. What constitutes the good life, lived in society? 4. How can a university education bear upon the search for a meaningful life? 5. What "methods" for or approches to life can one learn from studies in the humanities? After introductory lectures, the seminar studies a series of artworks, poems, diverse texts, and a film, all of which bear on the questions mentioned above -- works such: 1. Plato's Allegory of the Cave, from "The Republic" 2. Manet's "A bar at the Folies Bergere" 3. A comparison/contrast of Monet's early (1862) "Still Life" and van Gogh's late (1889) "Irises" 4. Lyric poetry T.S. Eliot: "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," "The Waste Land," and "East Coker"; Edwin Muir: "The Heart Could Never Speak"; Philip Larkin: "Days" 5. Martin Heidegger's "What Is Metaphysics?" 6. Jean-Paul Sartre's novel "Nausea" 7. Marx's Paris Manuscripts of 1844 8. Bergman's "The Seventh Seal"
Terms: Win | Units: 3 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
Instructors: ; Sheehan, T. (PI)
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