Fall 2018


Meanings in Life: An Inquiry (55+)

Research indicates that a coherent sense of meaning contributes significantly to the quality of our lives, the more so as we age. Yet if we’re unsure how to discover this sense, or which paradigms of meaning we can refer to, we might not engage with what’s truly meaningful in our lives.

Drawing on diverse sources—including the philosophy of Albert Camus, the psychologies of Viktor Frankl and James Hollis, the social- anthropological perspective of Ernest Becker and the Aristotelian virtue theory embodied in the work of Martha Nussbaum—as well as on poetry, art and mythology, this course will reflect on the big questions: Is there meaning in life? Does my life have meaning? How do we know what is meaningful? How has meaning evolved over the arc of my life?

Please note that enrollment in this course is reserved for adults 55+.

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Vancouver 6 Monica Franz $115.00 0 Join Waitlist
Vancouver 6 Monica Franz $115.00 0 Join Waitlist

What will I learn?

Week 1: Introduction—Dimensions of meaning 

Week 2: Camus’s Myth of Sisyphus

Week 3: Ernest Becker’s Denial of Death

Week 4: Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning           

Week 5: Nussbaum’s Value Theory and eudaimonia 

Week 6: James Hollis’ Depth Psychology and Fidelity to the Self

How will I learn?

  • Lectures
  • Discussion (may vary from class to class)
  • Papers (applicable only to certificate students)

How will I be evaluated?

For certificate students only:

Your instructor will evaluate you based on an essay, which you will complete at the end of the course. You will receive a grade of “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory.”

Textbooks and learning materials

There is recommended reading for this course.

Iddo Landau, Finding Meaning in an Imperfect World. Oxford University Press, 2017.

This book will be available from the SFU Bookstore or at your local or online bookstore.

If you're 55+, you may take this course as part of

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