Want to Learn How to Be Happy? Take Philosophy 304

That’s right, a class at UW-Madison all about how to be happy, called Philosophy 304: Happiness and the Good Life. In this 3-credit L&S course, students can discuss ancient and contemporary philosophers’ theories on how to find meaning in life.

The name alone was enough for me — after all, who doesn’t want to learn how to be happy? Even though I’m not a philosophy major, this course helped me because I strengthened my critical thinking skills. As we’ve learned from J175 already, critical thinking is essential in many fields today and the more practice you have, the better you’ll be.

I also enjoyed this course because the 20-person class size and Socratic seminars made the discussions less intimidating and more accessible. Our discussions took on the role of happiness in work, love, religion, and even death. As an incoming freshman experiencing adulthood for the first time, it put a lot of life’s great questions in perspective. 

I took this course with Professor Anat Schectman in Fall 2018, and although this course isn’t listed in the Fall 2020 philosophy course guide, there are some alternatives. 

Another course that contains similar content that actually will be offered this fall is Inter-He 201, and you can read one student’s review here. You could also take Philosophy 141, another course taught by Schectman during the spring semester that deals with similar themes. 

Otherwise, keep an eye out for it on the MyUW Course Guide. The new and improved version allows students to save courses for future terms, and who knows, perhaps the philosophy department will bring this gem back!

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