Seminars meet each weekday morning, with afternoons free for course-related field trips, individual study, or exploring the many places of interest in and around the city.
Please note that OUDCE reserves the right to alter course content and/or cancel field trips in accordance with government guidance.
Introduction. Different interpretations of the question 'What is the meaning of life?'
Why have some philosophers deemed life to be meaningless? We discuss the view that life is meaningless because there is no God and ask in what ways religion can offer meaning.
Do we have to invent values and meaning? We examine subjectivist views about the meaning of life and start searching for objectivist alternatives. Was Socrates right in claiming that an unexamined life is not worth living and that being a good person is a necessary condition of living a good life?
Is a meaningful life a life lived in accordance with our nature? We discuss Aristotle’s and Rousseau’s views.
We also start considering the connection between meaning in life and the pursuit of goals, in particular the position that the pursuit of goals isn’t important because some activities are meaningful independent of their effects.
We discuss the view that striving towards goals is an important ingredient of a meaningful life and that lasting achievements can give our lives meaning.
Some believe that our lives are meaningless because of our smallness in comparison to the universe. Is it possible to give our lives more meaning by transcending our limits?
Is a meaningful life a life that tells a good story? Does the meaningfulness of our lives depend on when and how we die? Would our lives be more or less meaningful if we were immortal?