What Does It Mean to Be Free?

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The Big Questions of Philosophy
We have all pondered seemingly unanswerably but significant questions about our existence - the biggest of all being, "Why are we here?" Philosophy has developed over millennia to help us grapple with these essential intangibles. There is no better way to study the big questions in philosophy than to compare…
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Offering learners an in-depth analysis of the wisdom of the Western world, The Examined Life studies the "Great Questions" that have intrigued philosophers from antiquity to the present. Using writings of past philosophers and interviews with more than 50 contemporary thinkers, the course episodes underscore how these great questions -…
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Influential philosophers throughout history have argued that humans are purely rational beings. But cognitive studies show we are wired to accept false beliefs. Review some of our built-in biases, and discover that logic is the perfect corrective. Then survey what you will learn in the course.
Do We Have Free Will?
Part of the Series: Examined Life Series
Do We Have Free Will? asks if our lives are determined, or if we freely choose among alternatives. Ancient philosophers believed us to be free moral beings, but how do we define our options in a world governed by the laws of physics?
Moral Dilemmas…Can Ethics Help?
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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…
What Is Real?
Part of the Series: Examined Life Series
What is Real? explores the conflict between Thomas Hobbes' materialism and George Berkeley's idealism, and the 20th Century conflict between realists and antirealists. Philosophers include John Searle, Hilary Putnam, and Richard Rorty.
What Is Philosophy?
Part of the Series: Examined Life Series
What is Philosophy? combines two classic models -- Plato's Parable of the Cave and the character of Socrates -- with contemporary philosophers' commentary on the subject.
Ethics Matters
In this fascinating educational series, Dr. Dan Halliday talks with contemporary philosophers and helps place their ideas in a real world context.
How Does the Brain Produce the Mind?
The next three lectures address the big question: What is the nature of the mind? Start with the celebrated "hard problem" of consciousness: How does the brain produce the mind? Investigate two possible answers and explore why many philosophers consider both to be problematic.
What Makes a Society Fair or Just?
Enter the fray with philosophers John Rawls and Robert Nozick, who reached different conclusions about what would constitute a just society. Begin with a thought experiment based on Christopher Nolan's movie Interstellar, pondering how you might start civilization from scratch in the fairest possible way.
Suicide Examined
In the last half-century, suicide rates have increased nearly 60% worldwide. This is your opportunity to investigate ways to think about this stigmatized subject. You'll examine what great philosophers and holy books say about suicide, and consider the numerous factors that sometimes compel people to take their own lives.
Who or What Is God? (Books 8-9)
Of all the Roman philosophers, Augustine felt the most kinship with the Platonists, who had developed a transcendent view of God. Where they fell short, he believed, was in imagining God as a distant being, uninterested in material reality. For Augustine, God is immediate and accessible, as he argues in…