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Authenticity and the Good Life

Today, common sense tells us that a good life is one lived authentically. Though it seems simple, this idea rests upon a complex and controversial philosophical framework with a dynamic and surprising history. In this course, we will analyze and evaluate the call to live authentically by locating it within the history of Western views of the good life. We will trace the idea of authenticity's roots in ancient virtue ethics and the Enlightenment's ethics of autonomy. Then, we examine authenticity's full emergence in Romantic and existential philosophy. Throughout, we will discuss the lifestyle that each worldview instructs us to live and how each is reflected in popular culture. Philosophers we will read or discuss include Charles Guignon, Charles Taylor, Aristotle, St. Augustine, John Stuart Mill, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Jean-Paul Sartre.

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Session Three
Course is Full
at the time of application
on the first day of session
Scheduled Class Time*

08:00 AM - 11:00 AM (PDT)

*The course will meet for two hours daily (Monday–Friday) for a live class during this window of time. The exact time will be set closer to the program start. In addition to the live meeting times, students will engage in out-of-class learning assignments such as assigned readings, group work, pre-recorded online lectures, and more.