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Grant number like: AQ-50057-09

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Carleton College (Northfield, MN 55057-4044)
Laurence David Cooper (Project Director: November 2008 to present)

Enduring Questions: Pilot Course Grants
Education Programs

[Grant products]

$25,000 (approved)
$17,496 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2009 – 12/31/2013

Cosmos or Chaos: Views of the World, Views of the Good Life

The development of a freshman seminar at Carleton College that focuses on what it means to live well and whether the structure of the universe supports human efforts to live well.

This project will develop a new freshman seminar, Cosmos or Chaos: Views of the World, Views of the Good Life, which addresses the question of the good life -- what does it mean to live well? -- by considering two prior questions: 1) What is the fundamental character of the world? and 2) What are the implications of this character for human beings? The importance of one's view of the fundamental character of the universe and of the good life, while not self-evident, has been addressed with great intellectual, moral, poetic, and spiritual power by thinkers throughout history. This course will consider some key visions of the character of the world and of how to live a good life. Students enrolled in the course will read, discuss, and write extensively about Homer, Sophocles, the Biblical books of Genesis and Exodus, Plato and Aristotle, the Gospel of Matthew and Augustine's Confessions, Niccolo Machiavelli, Francis Bacon, Nietzsche, Walker Percy, Hans Jonas, and Ken Wilber.