What constitutes a life well lived? How do we imagine answers to that question? Who gets to answer that question for us? And do we ask it as an “us” or as an individual? This course considers the way religious and political thought has shaped considerations of the classical ethical question of how we should live, and the way that ethics has often served to connect religion and politics in thought and practice. Do we need a religious basis to answer ethical questions, or can we determine how to live without religious sources of authority? Is ethics a project of an individual or of communities, and if the later, are these political communities, religious ones, or something else? On what basis, or with what capacities, can we imagine new answers to ethical questions-in community or on our own? We will discuss these questions and more through a consideration of a range of answers to the question of how we should live.
This course satisfies the introductory course requirement for the minor in religion and politics.
This might be one of the most important courses that you can take at WashU. It will teach you methods of skepticism and discourse that will help you better understand and navigate traditions, including the ones that you're a part of, and give you the requisite theoretical knowledge to begin asking the question of what the good life might be in earnest.
— Fall 2019
I felt that the class environment fostered an environment in which different identities could work in conjunction for producing greater understanding.
— Fall 2019