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Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description

The Good Life

Instructor(s): Mark Rye, Psychology

What does it mean to lead a good life? How can people thrive in the midst of life’s most difficult circumstances? Drawing upon insights from psychology, philosophy, religion, and literature, this course will explore strengths and virtues that enable people to flourish. We will consider how ancient Greek philosophers and modern psychologists have viewed the pursuit of happiness. When considering forgiveness as a possible response to injustice, we will examine philosophical conceptualizations, religious teachings, accounts by crime victims, the impact of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on post-apartheid South Africa, and a modern novel in which forgiveness is a central theme. After learning Buddhist meditation techniques, we will read scientific research on the effects of meditation. We will also cover how gratitude and peak experiences contribute to life satisfaction. For each topic, we will consider how perspectives across disciplines can be applied to enhance our own lives.

Course Offered