August 2012

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Here are the first “shorty” topics; do one of these. These are due by email Sunday night (Sept. 2nd); send to Bonnie if you’re registered for PHI 632 and to Ron if you’re registered for PHI 652.

More information is on the Shorties Page.

  1. What do you think about Gilbert’s “surprisingly wrong answer” and “surprisingly right answer” about control and happiness (in the “Prospection and Control” section of chapter 1)? Say whether you think he’s generally right or not on this, and give the best quick reason you can for your opinion.
  2. Gilbert’s suggest (in “Feeling Happy” in chapter 2), following Freud, he say, that people universally seek emotional happiness. What do you think is the best reason to accept that, and the best reason to reject it? Which seems better?
  3. In referencing Nozick (“Feeling Happy Because” in chapter 2), Gilbert says we shouldn’t confuse living a life virtuously with happiness, (although the former might tend to cause the latter). Is this a good criticism of Nozick? Why or why not?
  4. Aside from the points raised in the earlier questions, what do you think is either the strongest point made by Gilbert in chapters 1-3, or the biggest mistake he makes? Give your best reason for thinking this.

All students in the course should have an email about signing up on the discussion board. Email me if you don’t; go ahead and follow the instructions there to sign up if you do.

We have a new room for the seminar: Humanities 134. We’ll meet there for the first meeting on Wednesday August 29th and from then on.

There’s a preliminary course syllabus available here.