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PHIL 61: Philosophy and the Scientific Revolution (HPS 61)

Galileo's defense of the Copernican world-system that initiated the scientific revolution of the 17th century, led to conflict between science and religion, and influenced the development of modern philosophy. Readings focus on Galileo and Descartes.
Terms: Spr | Units: 5 | UG Reqs: GER:DB-Hum
Instructors: Friedman, M. (PI)

PHIL 61S: A Meaningful Life in a Physical World

Questions about the meaning of life have occupied a central place in philosophical thought throughout its history. However, the scientific view of human beings as essentially complex, evolutionarily-designed biological systems in a purely material world (one governed by fundamental physical laws) seemingly puts pressure on the idea that humans can live a life of genuine meaningfulness. The guiding questions of this course will be: Is there the prospect of our living truly meaningful lives even if we are just complex biological systems? If so, what kind(s) of meaning can we hope to achieve? If not, how should we live our lives? In exploring these questions, we will read works by philosophers (and psychologists) approaching these questions from many different traditions and perspectives. Possible authors will include Plato, Hobbes, Rousseau, Nietzsche, Sartre, Camus, Sigmund Freud, Viktor Frankl, Bertrand Russell, John Searle, Owen Flanagan, Daniel Dennett, and Ruth Millikan.
Last offered: Summer 2012
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