#1 What is a Good Life

The class Reading: are attached by their author name + topic


Phil499 Philosophies of the Good Life MW Classes

Summer 2021 Assignment 1

“How to Live a Good Life?”

4-5 pages (worth 15% of your grade)


Due Dates: Upload document to Canvas by 11:59 p.m. on June 7!


We’ve read multiple introductions to goodness and happiness. We have investigated Aristotle’s concepts of eudaimonism and seen his notion of flourishing being used elsewhere in our texts, the Eastern spiritual and philosophical traditions that Joshanloo used, Haybron’s focus on a kind of tranquil emotional well-being (incorporating concepts like the unconscious and also the physical into our understandings). Hurka gave us a basic overview of some philosophical approaches to happiness, like the ancient Greek idea of luck, versus the idea of happiness as a human right or something worth pursuing (despite John Stuart Mill suggesting we should pursue other things in order to find happiness). We’ve examined Smith and Davidson’s focus on generosity and giving as actions related to self-reported happiness, and read Carol Graham’s analysis of happiness as a privilege available to an increasingly small number of Americans in the early 21st-century U.S. We’ve noted Gretchen Rubin’s ideas for becoming more happy, as well as seeing some of the critiques of the emphasis on happiness in the early 21st Century. Can happiness be accurately self-reported? Do our expectations for our lives get in the way of our levels of happiness? And are we in danger of being both ethnocentric and presentist by focusing on happiness in the West in the 21st Century?


So, here’s the question. Given the readings we have done so far, what does “the good life” mean to you?

Your answer will be somewhat incomplete as we are still grappling with the answer in this class. We will return to this question in our final project, using different readings, and your answer may be very different by then!
So, your task for this paper is to use class readings to argue for a particular interpretation of “the good life” based on our main sources: McMahon, Hurka, Haybron, Joshanloo, and supported by any of the other sources we’ve read so far.
Use at least three of our main sources (the bolded ones above) and at least 1 of our other readings (Solnit, Porter, Rubin, Sternbergh, Graham, Smith & Davidson) to construct your argument.

Requirements (important)

· A 4-5 page paper (e. at least 4 full pages, not including a cover sheet or works cited page).
· An MLA works cited page and MLA in-text citations. DO NOT USE DIRECT QUOTES FROM THE READING! 
Cite the ideas that you find in the readings When you cite, ensure that you paraphrase carefully, and make a clear connection between your in-text citation and your works cited page. Use page numbers for all the pdf articles for your in-text citations. For any html documents, paragraph numbers or printed page numbers (eg. 1 of 26 to indicate that on your printed version of 26 pages, you found the idea on page 1) will be fine.
· An introduction and a conclusion, and 1 main point per paragraph, with topic sentences indicating what the paragraph is “proving.”
· A well-formulated thesis making your argument. Your introduction should lead into your thesis, and then each paragraph should develop your thesis further. Your conclusion can come back to your thesis but should extend it in some way. You won’t be able to start your paper with your thesis, as we think by writing. So some pre-writing or organizing of your thoughts will need to happen before you can come up with a thesis!
· Your paper must be free of spelling, grammar, and typographical erro Proof read it yourself and also find someone else to proof read for you.
· If you want extra help with any aspect of the paper, visit the Academic Success Center; please make an appointment online (via Starfish) or by calling
· Think of your audience as being a selection of professors you met during college. They want to know that you are thinking wisely about what a good life is, but they have not taken our class, so they don’t know what we have talked about and read!
· You can use “I” in your paper if you would like.
· The OWL (Online Writing Lab) at Purdue has great examples of MLA formatting for both in-text citations and the works cited page 

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