Philosophers, have you ever taught a course about philosophy as a way of life? Stephen R. Grimm, professor of philosophy at Fordham University, has. During the course his students have to select one of the ways of life covered in the course, spend three days living it, and then create video reflections of the experience. It would be great to hear from others who’ve tried something like this.
From Grimm’s syllabus:
The goal of this course is a little audacious: to help you become wiser, and to lead a better life.
The idea of “philosophy as a way of life” is that this goal cannot be achieved just by discussion, argument, and reflection—the usual tools of philosophy as it is practiced today. Although these methods are important, what is needed in addition is an attempt to live out the theories we learn in class, to try to incorporate their insights into our lives, and to see whether they bear fruit.
In the first part of the course we will focus in particular on four approaches to life—Stoic, Buddhist, Confucian, and Jesuit—and you will be asked to choose one of these ways of life to “live out” for three days, and then to report back to the class with your observations and experiences.
In the second part of the course we will then consider different theories about the purpose or goal of life, and about what makes life meaningful. Along the way, you will be asked to develop your own views about what makes life meaningful, and to defend them.
You can check out the videos at his site. Here’s one:
(top image: still from Buddhism as a Way of Life #3 video)