Fall 2019


Listed in: First Year Seminar, as FYSE-116

Moodle site: Course


Daniel P. Barbezat (Section 01)


In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson radically breaks with John Locke's emphasis on "life, liberty and property" and instead asserts that the "inalienable" rights of humans are "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" – further, he asserts that governments should be supported by the People to the extent that they can “most likely effect their safety and happiness.” In this bold move, Jefferson placed "happiness" at the core of, not only personal, but our collective political concern. However -- what did Jefferson mean by “happiness"? What does it mean for us and this Nation today? In this seminar, we will examine how we define, measure, and attempt to generate and maintain happiness. Our examination will serve as an introduction to the many methods of inquiry and articulation available at the college. We will read, discuss and write about written texts and film, drawn from philosophy, political science, history, literature, psychology and economics. In addition, we will undertake in-class exercises allowing an exploration of our own well-being and those around us. Classes will be held to generate conversations about the texts, films and exercises. There will be frequent, short writing assignments on the materials of the seminar and one relatively long final paper. Thus, students will gain practice in the articulation of their ideas and internal states through speaking, writing and self-awareness.

Fall semester. Professor Barbezat.

If Overenrolled: Dean's office determines this.


2020-21: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019