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Liberal Arts & Cultural Heritage
Fall 2021 Semester Rome

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Course Overview


Pain & Pleasure: Philosophies of Hedonism

Pain & Pleasure: Philosophies of Hedonism Course Overview


CEA Partner Institution: CEA Rome Center
Location: Rome, Italy
Primary Subject Area: Philosophy
Instruction in: English
Course Code: PHL362
Course Details: Level 300
Recommended Semester Credits: 3
Contact Hours: 45
Prerequisites: Prior to enrollment, this course requires you to have completed either one two-hundred or two one-hundred level courses in the subject area of instruction.
Additional Fee: $30.00
Additional Fee Description:This course requires payment of an additional fee to cover active learning components that are above and beyond typical course costs, such as site visits, entrance fees and other expenses.


This course investigates the philosophical and historical dimensions of pain and pleasure using examples from Ancient Rome. The philosophical dimension explores the seemingly uncontroversial view that pleasure is good and pain is bad, and the more controversial conclusion that the good life is the pleasurable life. It does so through close readings of original philosophical as well as non-philosophical texts, considering issues that prompt puzzling questions about pain and pleasure and how they mix: the pleasures and pains of food, love, sex, power, the (ostensible) badness of death, the question of whether we ought to live pleasant lives knowing that we will die, and the question whether we can.

Such theoretical explorations accompany and complement the historical dimension of the course, which explores the "practice" of pleasure and pain. At the end of the course, an analysis of the place synonymous for where pain and pleasure met, the Colosseum, will be accorded privileged attention, as a way to systematize the philosophical and historical knowledge accumulated.

*This course replaced course Pain & Pleasure in Ancient Rome

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