Philosophy and the meaning of life

Course Dates: 12/05/25 - 28/07/25
Time: 17:30 - 19:30
Location: Keeley Street
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.
NB: No class on 26/05/24.
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Full fee £259.00 Senior fee £259.00 Concession £168.00

Philosophy and the meaning of life
  • Course Code: HP006
  • Dates: 12/05/25 - 28/07/25
  • Time: 17:30 - 19:30
  • Taught: Mon, Evening
  • Duration: 11 sessions (over 12 weeks)
  • Location: Keeley Street
  • Tutor: Karl White

Course Code: HP006

Mon, eve, 12 May - 28 Jul '25

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 Centre 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.

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. An open mind and a willingness to listen to and think about views with which you do not always agree are more important than specific levels of skills.
There will be no classes on 06/05/24 and 27/05/24.

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:

Karl White

Karl White completed a Ph.D on the Romanian-French philosopher EM Cioran at King’s College London, having originally been educated at University College Cork. He has tutored students of all ages at university level in various areas such as Philosophy and Literature, Philosophy and Film, and Classical Civilisation. He has published work on Samuel Beckett and written educational works on Shakespeare. He believes in making philosophy accessible to people of all backgrounds and educational levels and promoting lively and open discussion in the shared journey of learning.

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.