Academics

BLS 366: Life, Death, & Meaning

What is the meaning of life? Is my life meaningful or meaningless? Should I fear death? Is immortality really worth seeking? Do humans have an obligation to perpetuate their species? This course examines these classic questions of existential philosophy through the broader view of the humanities. Students in this course will read how philosophers have tried to answer these questions and will touch on how plays, poems, films, art and literature have addressed them, in order to grasp the broad impact these questions have upon the human experience.

The central objective of this course is to facilitate students self-reflection on their own lives. In the process students should gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of what constitutes a meaningful life and death. Students will also become familiar with various cultural, artistic, literary, and philosophical expressions of a meaningful life.

Textbooks

  • Benatar, David, ed. Life, Death, and Meaning: Key Philosophical Readings on the Big Questions. Rowman & Littlefield, 2004. ISBN 0742533689
  • Edson, Margaret. Wit: A Play. (any edition)
  • Albom, Mitch. Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson. (any edition)