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:

  1. Understand how tradition lets us overcome what Scheffler calls our "homelessness in time"
  2. Understand how tradition allows you to belong to something larger than yourself.
  3. Explain how finding meaning through tradition is different from finding meaning through a cause.

Read This:


Normativity of Tradition (Scheffler)


Questing for Transcendence (Scholar's Stage)

Do This:

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.

Watch This: