DSCY10090 The Art of Living Well

Academic Year 2022/2023

One of the most important ways we learn about ethics and how to live well is through literature. In this course we will develop a philosophical and practical sense of the art of living well by studying a wide range of literature. Each week we will explore a different work starting from Ancient Greek literature through European and English language works of literature up to the twenty-first century. Ethical themes and practical ethical dilemmas will be extracted from these works and considered in detail in each class. The relevance of these issues to the universally relevant present-day task of living an ethical life will be developed. Students are expected to contribute to these discussions in highly interactive ways. The assessment consists entirely of online assignments through the course of the trimester.

If you are taking this module as an elective - you may be interested in pursuing a Structured Elective programme in Philosophy (this will entail taking two more Philosophy electives). Your University Transcript could show that you have a Structured Elective in [Existential Philosophy & Critical Theory/Philosophy of Mind/History of Philosophy/ Ethics and Society] (as appropriate) See: https://www.ucd.ie/students/electives/structuredelectives.html

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successfully completing the module students will:
1. Have acquired a familiarity with and an understanding of a range of literary texts from different periods and places.
2. Have knowledge of some key ethical concepts like virtue, duty, rights, freedom and autonomy.
3. Be able to read a text to extract ethical insight from it.
4. Be able to express clearly a line of independent critical argument.

Indicative Module Content:

Writers like Xenophon, Plutarch, Thackeray, Geroge Elliot, Tolstoy, von Kleist, Sartre, Harper Lee and other authors will be looked at. The ethical themes that are treated will include virtue, duties, rights, happiness and freedom.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Autonomous Student Learning






Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The module is taught in two one-hour lecture slots, where the second lecture in the week usually has the structure of an interactive seminar. The mode of teaching will be highly interactive. There will be plenty of scope for student discussion both about the practical side of ethical decisions and about the more abstract questions concerning the nature of a good life. Some of the lecture time will be devoted to group work with students working in small groups and then coming back together for the larger discussion. As with all philosophy courses, individual reflection is a central way of developing your understanding and this will be encouraged in the lectures but also required for the online assignments. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: Short (750 word) online assignment engaging with the ethical issues arising from one of the texts under consideration in Block 1. Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Assignment: Short (750 word) online assignment engaging with the ethical issues arising from one of the texts under consideration in Block 3. Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Assignment: Short (750 word) online assignment engaging with the ethical issues arising from one of the texts under consideration in Block 2. Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

You will receive a grade and some comments online within a fortnight of the submission date for each assignment.

Name Role
Dr Patrick Dawson Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Daniel Esmonde Deasy Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Christopher Farrell Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Ms Suzanne Lynch Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Jeanne Riou Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Rowland Stout Lecturer / Co-Lecturer