Suffering & the Good Life - PHI00096H

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  • Department: Philosophy
  • Module co-ordinator: Information currently unavailable
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2017-18

Module summary

This module examines the nature of suffering and how it might promote human flourishing in the context of Eleonore Stump’s Thomist approach to solving the problem of evil.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2017-18

Module aims

The module aims to introduce students to debates about the nature and value of suffering for living the good life, and, in doing so, enable students to enhance their analytical and communication skills.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students should be able

  • to explain the nature of suffering,
  • to explain the nature of human flourishing,
  • to assess whether suffering can contribute to human flourishing, and, if so, how, and
  • to evaluate Eleonore Stump’s Christian approach to the problem of suffering.

Module content

In this module, we explore the nature of suffering and its connection to human flourishing, particularly, in light of Eleonore Stump’s Christian approach to the problem of evil. We introduce the module by examining the nature of suffering, the problem of evil, and the good life. The first part of the module addresses the conditions of human flourishing: freedom, love, and personal union. The module then turns to human suffering, starting with the problem of alienation, where the sufferer becomes psychologically fragmented, thereby preventing them from leading the good life. To resolve this problem, we consider how the experience of suffering, such as experiencing disease and natural disaster, can prompt psychological integration, thereby making the good life possible again. To assess this model, we consider two challenges to it, namely, the problem of Hell and the eternal destiny of infants. We conclude by exploring the beatific vision, the consummation of the good life.

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
4000 Word Essay
N/A 100

Special assessment rules

None

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
4000 Word Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive feedback on their formative essay within two weeks of submission. Students will receive feedback on their formative essay plan within one week of submission. Students will receive feedback on their summative essay within four weeks of submission.

Indicative reading

Aquinas, Summa Theologicae

Aquinas, On Evil (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003).

Eleonore Stump, Aquinas, new ed. (New York: Routledge, 2005).

Eleonore Stump, Wandering in Darkness (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).



The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.