Education Programs: Enduring Questions: Pilot Course Grants

Period of Performance

6/1/2011 - 5/31/2013

Funding Totals

$25,000.00 (approved)
$25,000.00 (awarded)

NEH Enduring Questions Course on "What is the Good Life?"

FAIN: AQ-50363-11

Wheaton College (Norton, MA 02766-2322)
John Partridge (Project Director: September 2010 to April 2014)

The development of a first-year seminar on the question, What is the good life?

This course examines historical and contemporary reflections on the question, “what is the good life?” starting with Plato’s Apology. Socrates’ life and death inspired three ways of thinking about the best life. Accordingly, this course features three units: Happiness, Morality, and Meaning. Students will appreciate the breadth and complexity of each tradition and the implications of the different answers given within them. The course will enlighten students and empower them to pursue the good life as they see it. The principal texts exemplify the core commitments within each tradition, while additional works put the three traditions into conversation with one another. Finally, each unit includes a figure embodying something essential in each tradition. Students will study the life and work of Beethoven (happiness), Mother Teresa (morality), and Paul Gauguin (meaning), and will identify how the conception of the good life in each tradition informs these lives.