Search results - The Meaning of Life
London Road Campus
|Dates||Wed 16 Jan to Wed 20 Mar 2013|
Time of meeting: 7.00-9.00pm
Number of meetings: 10
|Application status||Course ended|
|Course contact||If you have any questions about this course, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.|
OverviewWhat do philosophers have to say about the meaning of life? Why do some think that this question is meaningless? Does a scientific world view imply that life has no meaning? Is meaning simply a matter of caring about things or are there objective values?
Description'What's the meaning of life?' is by many considered to be one of the most important questions we can ask ourselves. In this course we will explore how different philosophers have approached it. We will consider several ways of interpreting this question and the charge that it is meaningless. Our first focus will be on traditional views about the purpose of human life. We will then ask what the meaning of life might be given a modern, scientific world view. After discussing the claim that life has no meaning, we will look at two types of position about the meaning of life. Subjectivists argue that things are meaningful for us if we take them to be so. Objectivists believe that we can only find meaning in life if the goals we pursue or the activities we engage in are objectively valuable.
Programme detailsWeek 1: Introduction. What do we mean by ‘meaning’?
Week 2: Supernaturalism and the search for a purpose that transcends our lives.
Week 3: Aristotle on the function of human beings.
Week 4: Why life might seem meaningless.
Week 5: Subjectivism about meaning.
Week 6: Narrativity: Should our life tell a story?
Week 7: Valuable goals and immortality.
Week 8: Valuable activities and living in the present.
Week 9: Self-realization and the common good.
Week 10: Meaning and happiness.
Thaddeus Metz: 'The Meaning of Life', in: The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/life-meaning/
Joshua Seachris: 'Meaning of Life: The Analytic Perspective, in: The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://www.iep.utm.edu/mean-ana/
Dr Andrea Lechler
Andrea Lechler holds a degree in Computational Linguistics, an MSc in Artificial Intelligence, and a PhD in Philosophy. She writes on ethics,...more
Course aimsCourse aim:
To discuss different philosophical views on the meaning of life.
1. To present different ways of interpreting the question 'What is the meaning of life?'
2. To show why life might be thought to be meaningless.
3. To introduce students to various accounts of what the meaning of life consists in.
Assessment methodsAssessment is based upon either one essay of about 1,000 words or four shorter assignments totalling about 1,000 words. The shorter assignments involve answering questions on the homework reading. Advice on philosophical writing will be given in the first class. Alternative methods of assessment can be arranged with the tutor.
Teaching methodsThe classes will involve presentations by the tutor, group work and general discussion. Students will be given as homework short excerpts from philosophical books or papers, which will be discussed in the following class. They have the opportunity to test their understanding of the course contents by answering questions on the reading or writing an essay.
Teaching outcomesBy the end of the course students will be expected to:
1. understand the views and arguments discussed in the course.
2. have the ability to critically engage with these positions and communicate their views to others.
3. be able to use the content of the course to reflect on their own life.
- Programme Fee
- Home/EU fee: £145.00
- Non-EU fee: £145.00