Scandinavian nations are famously ranked the happiest countries in the world, but what is the secret to their happiness? In this course, we reach into philosophical and sociological depths to examine the foundations of the good life. We explore Copenhagen and surrounding areas to get a taste of human thriving in public and private spheres, and in political and personal affairs.
How do social cohesiveness, the Scandinavian welfare model, and the valuing of life balance promote human flourishing? Meanwhile, Scandinavians, like all modern humans, also experience loneliness, alienation, and anxiety. Our course takes us into the minds of nineteenth- and twentieth-century European thinkers, writers, and artists who were deeply troubled by the existential conditions of suffering, loss, and meaningless, but who also saw them as fundamental occasions to examine how we live. With them, we inquire into our relationships, activities, and commitments. We wonder about the importance of personal responsibility and active engagement. And we ask whether freedom is key to happiness, and, if so, freedom to do what? We may not discover the secret to happiness in this course, but we do continue an age-old pilgrimage in search of the good life for us, our fellow beings, and future generations.
Related Discipline(s)This summer course would also be of interest to the following discipline(s):
Literature, Religious Studies