Spring 2024 - PHIL 822 G100

Selected Topics in Normative Ethics (5)

Life and Death

Class Number: 7332

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Wed, 4:30–7:20 p.m.



Selected Topics: Life and Death
[Note: this course is to be taught concurrently with PHIL 421W D200.]

Important note regarding enrollment: All seats are reserved for Philosophy Graduate students. Enrollments from other departments will be considered only upon submission of the Graduate Course Add Form, and with instructor's permission. All such enrollments will be done in or after the first week of classes.

This course will explore contemporary readings concerning what makes life meaningful and our relationship with death. We’ll incorporate both more theoretical material and work on related applied questions. Questions we discuss may include:

  • What, if anything, can make a life meaningful?
  • We live in a world where technology can take over an increasing number of human activities. How does this impact our ability to lead lives that are meaningful?
  • What is the relationship between the finiteness of our lives and our ability to find meaning in them?
  • What role should grief play in our lives?


Successful completion of this course will satisfy the “Value Theory Stream” distribution requirement toward the MA degree for Philosophy graduate students.


  • Short Reading Response Assignments and Quality of Participation 20%
  • Final paper (3,000-5,000 words) (This will require a paper proposal, version 1 of the paper, and a final version of the paper) 80%



All readings will be available on Canvas.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html