Value in a Human Life: A Philosophical Reading Group (Fall 2023)
What makes for a good human life? What confers value on our lives? What seems to confer a value which is in fact delusive? And what is the relative place and rank each of the many apparent goods holds in a complete and flourishing human life?
Time & Location
Nov 29, 2023, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Palo Alto, 2345 Dartmouth St, Palo Alto, CA 94306, USA
About the Event
In this philosophical reading group, we will reflect on perennial questions about what makes for a good human life. What confers value on our lives? What seems to confer a value which is in fact delusive? And what is the relative place and rank each of the many apparent goods holds in a complete and flourishing human life? Are all goods organized around a single, highest good? If so, what is this highest good?
This fall term, we will consider and test the claims of such self-directed apparent goods as pleasure, success, and fame. In winter, we will examine relational goods, such as love and friendship. Finally, in the spring term, we will think about transcendent goods, such as beauty and contemplation of the divine.
Dinner will be provided to seminar participants. Please register so that Zephyr can plan accordingly.
Dates and Times (Fall 2023)
Meeting 1: October 4, 6–8pm
Topic: the Socratic project of philosophical inquiry into the good
Reading: Plato, Euthydemus (selections)
N.B. For our first meeting, we will read through the relevant passages from the Euthydemus together. Thus, while participants are encouraged to read the selections ahead of time, the discussion will not presuppose that all have done so.
Meeting 2: October 18, 6–8pm
Topic: the value of experiences
Reading: J. S. Mill, Utilitarianism (selections); Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics X.1–5; Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia(selections)
Meeting 3: November 1, 6–8pm
Topic: the value of making one’s name
Reading: Montaigne, Of Glory
Meeting 4: November 15, 6–8pm
Topic: Nietzsche and the will to power
Reading: Nietzsche (selections); Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics & Metaphysics (selections)
Meeting 5: November 29, 6–8pm
Topic: the value of being a good person
Reading: Cicero, De Finibus III
A complete packet of readings can be found here.
Discussions will be led by Zephyr's Director of Academic Programs, Landon Hobbs.
All Stanford undergraduates are encouraged to participate. Those who cannot attend all five meetings are encouraged to come to those they can. Please register ahead of time for any meeting you plan to attend, so that Zephyr can have an accurate headcount.