Work and The Good Life

Wed, Sep 22

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 Reflect and Connect assignment.

By the end of session, you will:

  1. Consider various philosophical answers to the question "What role should work play in living a good life?"
  2. Argue for or against the notion that all work ought to aim at some "common good"
  3. Consider criticisms of capitalism stemming from concerns about alienation.

Read This:


Work and Identity: Karl Marx and Max Weber


On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs

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? Are companies responsible for promoting human flourishing?
  • Once you've read the content for today, feel free to take a practice quiz here:

Watch This: