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OWL Monday Scholars


The Meaning of Life: Perspectives from the World's Greatest Intellectual Traditions

Mondays, February 29 - July 18
12:30 - 2:00 p.m.
Click Here to Register

Taught by: Dr. Jay L. Garfield 
Facilitated by: Cameron Bove

Facilitated by Cameron Bove, Monday Scholars is a weekly series that meets in the library’s Jamie Gagarin Community Room. The series combines the best of online learning with the best of classroom discussion. Each week, a new lecture topic will be watched and discussed. All participants need to do is come ready to engage their minds and participate in the discussion. Light refreshments will be served. Registration is required.

About the Course:

What is the meaning of life? It’s a question every thoughtful person has pondered at one time or another. It is at once a profound and abstract question, and a deeply personal one. 

We want to understand the world in which we live, but we also want to understand how to make our own lives as meaningful as possible; to know not only why we’re living, but that we’re doing it with intention, purpose, and ethical commitment.

How do we find that meaning, and develop that commitment? How can we grasp why we are here? Or how we should proceed? And to whom, exactly, are we supposed to listen as we shape the path we will walk?

The Meaning of Life: Perspectives from the World’s Great Intellectual Traditions is an invigorating way to begin or to continue your pursuit of these questions. Through the lectures, we will explore various spiritual, religious, and philosophical traditions from both the East and the West. These include looking at Ancient Indian texts including the Bhagavad-Gita, foundational Chinese texts such as the Chuang Tzu, classical Western texts such as Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, modern philosophers such as Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Nietzsche, and more contemporary philosophers such as Mohandas Gandhi and the Dalai Lama.

The Meaning of Life is a course rich in wisdom, including the realization that although a single answer to the question may forever elude you, that elusiveness is no great tragedy. 

About the Professor:

Dr. Jay L. Garfield is Doris Silbert Professor in the Humanities, Professor of Philosophy, and director of both the Logic Program and of the Five College Tibetan Studies in India Program at Smith College. Professor Garfield also serves on the faculties of the University of Massachusetts, Melbourne University in Australia, and the Central University of Tibetan Studies in India. He has written numerous scholarly articles and has written or edited, alone and with colleagues, more than 15 books.





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