Schopenhauer and Toni Morrison on happiness

Students in “What is the Good Life?” an FYS course taught by Professor Partridge, met at the Mars Science Center outdoor classroom on Thursday, September 27. We are finishing up the Happiness unit of the course and were discussing various critics of the idea that happiness is our ultimate goal.

Schopenhauer, the famous 19th C. German philosopher, argues pessimistically that it is the goal, but that we can’t reach it, or can do so only fleetingly. Toni Morrison, the Nobel prize-winning novelist, recently argued in her 2011 Commencement address at Rutgers University that we should aim for something higher, a life of meaning and commitment to social justice. For their part, the students were happy to be outdoors on a beautiful day. (Philosophy alumnae/i take note: Professor Partridge actually held class outdoors!)

The development of the “What is the Good Life?” course is supported by an Enduring Questions grant administered by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Outdoor Philosophy Class