How Ought We to Live?

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Is Ethics Based on Virtue?
Part of the Series: Examined Life Series
Is Ethics Based on Virtue? explores Aristotle's and other ancient views of virtue and the good life, as well as contemporary virtue ethics with its focus on emotions, personal relationships, character, and long-term values.
Moral Dilemmas…Can Ethics Help?
Part of the Series: Examined Life Series
The parents and medical staff caring for a premature baby struggling for life are faced with the decision of whether or not to continue treatment. Philosopher Immanuel Kant, whose ideas have influenced modern medical ethics, would answer such a question by focusing on human dignity and the chance for the…
Why Bother Being Good?
Wickedness has its rewards, which raises the question: Why bother being good? Explore this issue with Plato, whose dialogue The Republic is a detailed description of a highly regulated, virtuous society. Plato contends that the individual achieves virtue in an analogous way.
Does Reason Define the Good?
Kant suggested that reason determines what is moral or immoral. Analyze his famous categorical imperative, which is a set of obligatory moral rules guided by reason. See how Kant's rules go far beyond the Golden Rule. Then uncover the shortcomings of the categorical imperative.
Do Our Souls Make Us Free?
Look at the problem of free will from the point of view of the soul, the conjectured seat of mentality that exists apart from the body. Discover that neuroscience suggests that the soul does not exist and also casts doubt on the concept of free will.
Could Machines Think?
Push your exploration of the mind even further by looking at functionalism, which suggests that anything that functions like our brain has mentality. The implication is that, in principle, machines can think. Study some responses to this theory, including John Searle's thought experiment called the Chinese Room.
Mark on the Crucifixion and Resurrection
[Mark 11-16] Continue examining the gospel of Mark, this time focusing on the infamous trial and crucifixion of the Son of God. Also, consider why this gospel ends so abruptly and how it suggests to readers the mystery of God's kingdom--and the role of suffering and sacrifice within it.
Death, Illusion, and Meaning
Explore how it's possible for us to find meaning in life--even when confronted with the finality of it. Drawing on the work of cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker, discover how forms of death denial serve to allay fears about our insignificance, and how we can cultivate meaning in the face of…
Can Rules Define Morality?
Part of the Series: Examined Life Series
Can Rules Define Morality? addresses formalist theories of ethics, particularly that of Immanuel Kant, and explores the implications of his views in relation to ethical issues.
Biblical Wisdom Literature
[Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Job] Questions about the meaning of life abound in the Bible's books of wisdom literature: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Job. Join Professor Koester as he unpacks each book's distinctive character and outlook, the answers it offers to life's questions (sometimes straightforward, sometimes nebulous), and its contribution to a fascinating…
Man & His Environment: In Harmony & In Conflict
This program examines philosophic and scientific debate on our human environment. Studies views of nature found in various cultures and suggests we make a conscious choice to live in harmony with the environment. Suggests we create an harmonious living space through planning; studies growth of cities and their problems; and…