Baker Academic

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Too Much Good in the World! - Le Donne

The University of the Pacific requires every undergraduate to take a senior seminar called "What is an ethical life?"  Because every senior must take this course, the need for adjunct lecturers is high.  Given this need (please don't laugh), I was asked to take on one of these ethics seminars.  This has meant something of a crash course in ethical theory and ethical problems and exposure to narratives that explore ethical themes.  I picked up the course reader determined to choose ten essays to feature in the course.  What I found was that each essay was more intriguing than the next.  Even better, I began revisiting some of my favorite books and films from a pedagogical perspective (i.e. asking how would I use this in class?).

In addition to the required course reader, I've decided to have my students choose from: The Autobiography of Malcolm X with Alex Haley; A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin; or The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A.J. Jacobs. Alongside several film clips and comedy sketches, we will view in full the following films: "Crimes and Misdemeanors" (1989), "Gandhi" (1982), and "Stranger than Fiction" (2006).

I have lamented more than once that there just isn't enough time to cover the ocean of amazing books, films, philosophers, religious thinkers that explore ethics. My most recent lament came in the form of an audible cry within earshot of my of my wife: "There is just too much good in the world!"  Her reply: "You don't hear that very often."


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