Loyola University Maryland


The Good Life Course Pairing

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Truth, Love and Happiness: The Promises of Ancient Philosophy (PL201)

Given voice through Plato’s writing, the philosophical visionary Socrates emphatically states, “I prefer nothing if it is not true.” He teaches us how he became an expert in the art of love and assures us that we too could be happy if we knew the true nature of the Good. But how do we access the truth? And how should we understand our pursuits of love and happiness? In this course we engage the claims made by Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and the Stoics, as well as those of Aquinas and St. Augustine, regarding three of the most sought after things in human life: truth, love and happiness.  These thinkers challenge modern understandings of the natural world and our place in it, the purpose and possibilities of love and the real meaning of human happiness. Our study of Ancient philosophy may awaken a sense of dissatisfaction with ourselves as we stand and urge us to develop new visions of ourselves as knowers, lovers and pursuers of happiness.

Faculty Biography

Mavis Biss, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2011. She specializes in moral philosophy, with particular focus on Kantian ethics and conceptions of moral creativity. Her dissertation “Moral Imagination in an Ethics of Principle” was supported by a fellowship from the American Association of University Women and her article “Kantian Moral Striving” was awarded the 2015 Wilfrid Sellars Prize. She is currently working on the topic of moral self-perfection.

The Good Life—Literature and Medicine (EN101)

“We are healthy only to the extent our ideas are humane.”—Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions

This literature course will focus on the human side of illness, disability, and mental and physical health.  We’ll grapple with the ways that dealing with health issues—whether as patient, caregiver, or observer—forces us to express, and sometimes question, our identities, cultures, and values.   Readings will include poetry, fiction, essays, and a graphic novel, all chosen to help us explore through discussion and writing what it might mean to live a good and healthy life, whatever our physical or mental condition.   Among the readings will be some works by practicing physicians.  The course should appeal particularly to students interested in literature, psychology, medicine, and other health-related professions.

Faculty Biography

Gayla McGlamery (B.A., Baylor University; Ph.D. Emory University) teaches introductory English courses as well as upper-level courses in Victorian literature and culture, and film adaptation.  She is past Chair of the English Department; a former Co-Director of the Honors Program and of Loyola’s international program in Leuven, Belgium; and a long-time academic advisor.

Mentor Biography

Pat Cassidy joined the Messina staff as a Program Coordinator in the summer of 2015. Previous to his work at Loyola, Pat worked at the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Baltimore, MD from 2010-2015 where he managed and facilitated volunteer formation and programming in Belize and Tanzania. A Former Jesuit Volunteer himself, Pat served in Punta Gorda, Belize from 2008-2010 directing local student retreats in Mayan Villages and coordinating service immersion trips from the United States. In his spare time, Pat can be found biking around Baltimore, exploring new restaurants, and practicing yoga.

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