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PHIL 2287:
What is the Meaning of Work and Leisure?

Boston College: Summer Session II, 2018


Prof. Jon Burmeister

We spend much of our lives working, or preparing ourselves to work. We spend much of the rest of our time pursuing leisure. But what are our goals in doing so? How important is it for our work to be meaningful? Is leisure simply the absence of work, or something more? And what role do each of these play in a fulfilling life? To answer these questions, we’ll consultAristotle, Seneca, Martin Luther, Max Weber, J.M. Keynes, Karl Marx, Hannah Arendt, and more.

Questions about the course? Write



Video with Andrew McAfee (MIT Sloan School)





2018 Conference


About the Participants: 
marber Dr. Peter Marber, Finance
roochnik Dr. David Roochnik, Philosophy
muir Dr. Russell Muirhead, Government
quigley David Quigley, Provost

The Liberal Arts and the Future of Work & Leisure

A liberal arts education has always had the ability to transform a student, and thus to transform how they choose to organize their time in adult life: both the time they spend at work and the time they spend at leisure. Yet the factors influencing what sorts of work and what sorts of leisure are available are in a state of increasing flux.  From AI-driven automation, to globalization, to infinite entertainment delivered instantly to the palm of your hand, the general conditions of work and leisure are undergoing a radical transformation.

In this shifting landscape, what role do the liberal arts have to play?  In addition to a liberal education being valuable for its own sake, how can it prepare students for an economy in which whole sectors of work may rapidly shrink or disappear, e.g., through off-shoring or automation?  And how can it help students develop the habit of spending their free time well, in the face of endless possibilities for distraction?



Past Conference — 2017


2017 Participants: 

Dr. Juliet Floyd, Philosophy
Dr. Robert Margo, Economics
Dr. Juliet Schor, Sociology
Dr. William Griffith, Computer Science


Work & Leisure Resources

crossroads educate
aristotle AI1
fulfilling 5hr
obama simpeecon

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