Applying Philosophy & Creating Your Life's Meaning (Full)

C. Prescott Sobol, Senior Lecturer

Course: ENGLISH 192, SEM 006
Class Number: 33591
Credits: 3 HU
Time: MW 12:30 PM – 1:45 PM
Place: NWQ G566

Course Description:

We receive a lot of advice about what to do with our lives, but our educational system rarely provides opportunities for us to study how what we do makes our lives more meaningful. Many people say, “Well, just study this,” “Just believe that,” “Just make x amount of money,” “Just tough it out—it'll get better later,” “Just take this job,” “Just be yourself” (whatever that means), “Just do it,” or “Just find a good romance.” In this course, we will assume that at UWM, and in life in general, it is not merely what you do, but how, why, and with whom you do it, that creates a sense of purpose and meaning. We will study psychology, fiction, poetry, music, philosophy, history, and memoir—a wide variety of sources that describe how we can make our lives more meaningful and satisfying. Most importantly, we will apply those ideas to our lives, using them to create more meaning in our work, our play, our social relationships, our family relations, and other aspects of existence.

Texts will include excerpts from many sources, including:

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
Hamlet's Blackberry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Age. William Powers
Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?. Michael J. Sandel
Flying Lotus
The Handbook of Epictetus. Epictetus
The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. Michael Pollan
Fight Club. Chuck Palahniuk