We all have some vision of what the good life should look like. Days filled with reading and strolls through museums, retirement to a tropical island, unlimited amounts of time for video games…. Whatever they may be, our concepts tend toward fantasy of the grass is greener variety. But what would it mean to live the good life in the here and now, in the life we’re given, with all its warts, routines, and daily obligations? Though the work of philosophers for the past hundred years or so may seem divorced from mundane concerns and desires, this was not always so. Thinkers like Plato, Aristotle, Immanuel Kant, and Friedrich Nietzscheonce made the question of the good life central to their philosophy. In the videos here, University of New Orleans philosophy professor Chris Surprenant surveys these four philosophers’ views on that most consequential subject.
The evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins found happiness in science, and we are all the richer for his contributions to the field. But, judging by his memoirs, we are equally fortunate that he did not pursue a career in law.