Work and the Good Life

Apr 11

Pick your Professor

What role should work play in your conception of eudaimomia? In this session, 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 this day, 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:

PrimaryWork and Identity: Karl Marx and Max Weber

Secondary: Understanding Marx on Work

Do This:


  • After you’ve finished today’s reading, make sure you complete the reading quiz, which you can access through your section’s Canvas page.

Suggested: Make a list of things you want in a job (freedom, creativity, impact). Now ask yourself whether you’re likely to find such a job in a capitalist economy, and why you want these things from your work in the first place.

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