Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College


Philosophy 398. Experimental Courses

Life, Death and Meaning

In this course we examine whether there is a meaning of life or a plurality of meanings and the relationship among them; what kind of meaning it is and whether it is simply a matter of feeling that one’s life is meaningful or whether there an objective sense according to which a life can be meaningful no matter how it feels to the person living it; and, if life has some kind of meaning, what can be said about the prospect of living meaningfully and whether it is it possible to live the life that matters most to you.

We will also examine a set of questions that traditionally stand together under the same umbrella: are persons benefited, or harmed, by being brought into existence; does death matter to the person who dies, and if so, are some deaths worse than others; is it ever reasonable to commit suicide, and is it ever morally permissible to do so; are we immortal and, if not, would it be desirable to be so; and finally, given our answers to these questions, is pessimism or optimism an appropriate attitude to the human condition?