Honors | Ideas & Experience II (HON)
H212 | 28994 | Norm Furniss

MW 11:15am-12:30pm
HU 111

The general aim of all our H 212 seminars is “to study some of the
sources of our modern mentality and discover how the great writers
from the Enlightenment to the present have shaped our views.” I hope
this seminar will be a useful step on this journey. To give focus to
our specific efforts, we will orient our work around two ideas,
liberty and happiness, that are central to our understanding of
ourselves and the world we live in. To sort through the issues
raised, we will find it useful to refer to the concept of “ethics.”
Our working definition will be: Convictions about the types of lives
it is good and bad for a person to lead. This orientation helps us
relate our discussion of ideas to concrete issues we face in our
private lives, as members of society, and as citizens of the United
States. Among the issues we will investigate are: Is it within one’s
liberties to burn the American flag? Does the Free Market corrode
moral character? Is falling out of love sufficient reason to end a
marriage? None of the questions we raise has pat, “correct” answers;
they all require thought and persuasive argument

We will introduce our ideas of liberty and happiness with classic
works by Montaigne, Mill, Locke and Seneca. We also will probably
read Ian Buruma, Murder in Amsterdam, and portions of Eric Weiner,
The Geography of Happiness. Written assignments will include two
noncumulative examinations and a series of papers based on class
readings and discussion. Doing additional reading for these essays
is neither necessary nor useful. I would be pleased to discuss
details with anyone who might be interested in the seminar. My
office is Woodburn Hall, room 405, Email:  furniss@indiana.edu;
Office Hours, Mondays 2-4.