Philosophy and the meaning of life

Course Dates: 15/05/23 - 31/07/23
Time: 19:00 - 21:00
Location: Online
Some philosophers have insisted that philosophy should explain the meaning of our existence. What does it mean for us to be? And how then should we live? This course examines some seriously philosophical answers.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £239.00 Senior fee £239.00 Concession £120.00

Course Code: HP006

Mon, eve, 15 May - 31 Jul '23

Duration: 11 sessions (over 12 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

Philosophy is an abstract subject which can seem to have little to do with life. In fact, there are many philosophers who have argued that philosophy is, or ought to be, of service to us in understanding human existence. Does the life of a human being have meaning? Is there meaning in the universe at all? Does it make sense for us, when death is inevitable, to strive for anything or even to go on living? Be advised that this course is not life-coaching or therapy. It is a philosophical exploration of these difficult but fascinating questions.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

We will try to get to grips with arguments in the work of a variety of Western philosophers including Plato, Seneca, Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Sartre.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

You should not expect to learn the meaning of life or how to live, but only how to analyse the question of the meaning of life using arguments covered on the course. By the end, you should at least be able to:
– break down the question of the meaning of life into more manageable questions (i.e. analyse the question)
– summarise some answers of philosophers covered on the course
– relate the question of the meaning of life to other areas of philosophy.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course complements The great philosophers (HP002) and is an ideal follow-up, offering the chance to study a neglected area for those who have done some philosophy before. Though you may find some of the reading material difficult, the only absolutely essential requirement is to be prepared to see things from an unusual point of view.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Classes will consist of presentations and small-group and whole-class discussion. There will be some reading to do each week.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

All course materials will be provided by the tutor or are available free of charge online.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Please check our website for details of other philosophy courses on offer:

Oliver Josiah

Oliver holds a postgraduate degree in Philosophy from the University of Oxford. Since graduating, he has taught a wide variety of courses to a broad range of students, from adults and children exploring the subject for the first time through to advanced undergraduates. His main areas of interest are the Philosophy of Mathematics, Metaphysics, the Philosophy of Language, and Logic. Recently, his research has focussed on developing medieval approaches to semantic paradoxes using modern mathematical methods. When Oliver’s not teaching or writing up papers, he’s either lost in a good book or somewhere deep in the English countryside.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.