These questions will be analyzed by considering topics from empathy, compassion, and well-being, generosity, trust, and cooperation, to uncertainty, fear, guilt, and suffering. We will engage with these questions and topics through reading and responding to material from a variety of disciplines, including philosophy, psychology, and economics, as well as contemplative studies and literature. In addition to conceptual learning, students will be introduced to tools and practices to support the exploration of altruism in their everyday life.
Primary emphasis will be given to dialogue, including introspection and conversations with others, which will be considered as a fundamental activity in the exploration and training of altruistic intentions and actions. As part of the course, students will regularly engage in personal and interpersonal reflections and write analytical essays. Students will complete a final project in which they explore selected course material at a deeper level, apply core concepts from the course to solve social or environmental problems, or create materials and resources that others may use to develop altruism.
At the end of the semester, each student will complete a dialogical examination. A foundational theme of this course is a focus on moving in the direction of greater altruism, a shift of balance from preoccupation with the magnitude of progress. By the end of the semester, we will discover how every life experience is an opportunity to take a step in the direction of altruism. ***PERMIT NEEDED***