Find Meaning in Tradition
Wed, Apr 13
One response to the question of where to seek meaning in life is simply: Tradition! In this class, we'll explore this method, and ask whether doing something because of tradition is well-motivated. (To put the question slightly differently: we'll ask whether traditions give us genuine reasons to act in particular ways.) Our guide will be a contemporary philosophy, Samuel Scheffler.
We have three main in-class learning goals. By the end of lecture today you will:
- Understand how tradition lets us overcome what Scheffler calls our "homelessness in time"
- Understand how tradition allows you to belong to something larger than yourself.
- Explain how finding meaning through tradition is different from finding meaning through a cause.
Complete these steps before you come to class
- Consider the following prompts (you may want to write responses to these in your journal or talk about them with a friend):
- Are there any examples of traditions that you experience as "timeless"?
- Do you think that you're someone motivated to find meaning largely through participating in tradition, or living for a cause?
After you've finished today's reading, make sure you complete the reading quiz, which you can access through your section's Canvas page.