VanderWeele Teaching

The Human Flourishing Program Faculty and Research Associates aim to offer courses to Harvard undergraduate and graduate students annually. Below is a list of upcoming courses.

EPI 230: Religion, Well-Being, and Public Health

Winter 2019

The course will give an overview of the current state of research on the relationship between religion, well-being, and public health. Over the past three decades, the research literature documenting these relationships has grown dramatically. Evidence has accumulated that religious participation has beneficial effects on all-cause mortality, mental health, cardiovascular disease survival, cancer survival, health behaviors, meaning and purpose, happiness and life satisfaction, social relationships, volunteering, and civic engagement. The course will provide a basic introduction to well-being research and will then review the research studies that have been conducted in this area, with a focus on some of the measurement and methodological challenges faced in this research. The course will explore future research directions in religion and well-being, as well as questions of relevance to the public health implications of the research. Specific topics will include religious participation and longevity, religion and mental health, religion and spirituality in end of life care, religion and purpose, religion and character development, religion and social relationships, forgiveness, and partnerships between religious organizations and public health institutions, including the various tensions encountered in such partnerships. Attention will be given throughout to questions of measurement, study design, and methodology, and the challenges in conducting rigorous research in this area.

Course Prerequisite(s): ID538 or ID200 or [(BIO200 or BIO201 or BIO202&203 or BIO206&207/8/9 or PHS2000A) and (EPI201 or EPI208 or EPI500 or EPI505 or ID201)]; may not be taken concurrently

PHI 175W: Wisdom of Work (Proseminar)

Spring 2019

Human beings spend much of their waking lives at work. We invest much of our early lives and education thinking about and preparing for work, and as adults we regard the quality of our work as highly important. Yet we rarely reflect on what work even isor what role it can or should play in a fulfilling existence. Particularly since technological and economic changes seem to portend a future of radically different possibilities for work, questions related to the meaning of labor are receiving increased attention. Does work have a place in a philosophically and spiritually informed life? How does work relate to its ostensible opposite, leisure? Does work contribute to or distract from the highest human purposes? This course will consider contemporary questions like these in light of the tradition of Western philosophical reflection. The course will consider the foundational perspectives of Plato and Aristotle on work and leisure as well as the contributions of Augustine and Aquinas. Readings from a host of modern thinkers will be drawn from thinkers as diverse as Martin Luther, John Locke, Karl Marx, Simone Weil and Hannah Arendt.