Work and The Good Life

Wed, Sep 02

What role should work play in your conception of Eudaimomia?  In this class period, we will look at research from psychology on the phenomenon of burnout and compare and contrast these contemporary debates with the ancient debates about flourishing we've been studying.  In the process, we'll consider methodological differences between how psychologists, sociologists, and philosophers study happiness.  And we'll practice skills of connecting philosophical principles with life episodes, which will be useful in completing the Connect and Reflect assignment.

By the end of session, you will:

  1. Compare the answers virtue ethicists, utilitarians, and existentialists would give to the question "What role should work play in living a good life?"
  2. Brainstorm arguments answering the question "How does your career fit into your vision for the good life?"
  3. Consider general criticisms of capitalist structures, and assess whether or not you think these are sound.

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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):
    • How much of your sense of meaning in life now comes from your intended career?  How much do you think people should rely on careers for meaning?  If your answers diverge, how can you get your view of the role of career  in the good life closer to what you think it should be?
    • What do employers like AirBnB owe to their employees?  If you had to identify a "common good" for AirBnB right now, what would it be?  Are companies responsible for promoting human flourishing?  Or would it be better if we all expected people to pursue flourishing outside of work?
  • Optional: test yourself by taking a practice comprehension check [now closed].

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