Philosophy of the "Blueprint" in the Good Place

by Pablo Ortiz

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Description

In this class, we will watch episode 8 of season 3 of The Good Place in which some of the protagonists visit a person they believe to be the ‘blueprint’ for living the most ideal life, i.e., having the best chance of entering the Good Place. While this episode is narrow in scope with regards to this topic (simply being a light-hearted critique of the contemporary thinker Peter Singer’s moral philosophy) we will use it as a springboard to discuss in more general terms how we might approach different conceptions of ideal personhood. We will look at several examples from different corners of the world to get our creative juices flowing, but they themselves should only be a springboard for our discussion!

Questions

 

  1. Are there any people you know, alive or dead, that you would consider a good ‘blueprint’ for an ideal human life? Who are they? Why would they be a good blueprint?

  2. Of the three different ‘blueprints’ presented in the readings, which one do you most agree with? Most disagree with? What do you think of the third one that you neither most agree nor most disagree with?

  3. What does the blueprint for ideal personhood in our world today look like to you?

  4. Do you think it is possible to have a single blueprint that could have worked in the past, can work now, and will work in the future? Why or why not?

Readings

I have provided three different readings for each ‘blueprint’. I very highly recommend everyone at least do the Introductory Reading ahead of time. It will be laying down the absolute barebones for everyone to start off on the same page going into the discussion. The Context Reading provides an intellectual background for the relevant parts of each blueprint's respective philosophy. The In-Depth Reading comes from a professional academic source that might be tough to read without knowing the prior context. However, it will be the most helpful of the three readings for getting a solid understanding of its respective ‘blueprint’. The readings not found on the internet can be found in PDF form in this Google Drive Folder or attached to the bottom of this post. The beginning of each reading is highlighted green, and the end is highlighted red.

  1. The Philosopher-King in Plato’s Republic:

  2. Introductory Reading: https://www.britannica.com/topic/philosopher-king

  3. Context Reading: see below

  4. In-Depth Reading: see below

  5. The Sage in Ancient Confucianism:

  6. Introductory Reading: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junzi

  7. Context Reading: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/confucius/#VirtCharForm

  8. In-Depth Reading: see below

  9. The Bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism:

  10. Introductory Reading: https://www.britannica.com/topic/bodhisattva

  11. Context Reading: see below

  12. In-Depth Reading: see below