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The Examined Life
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1.

Can Rules Define Morality?

Examine the rights-based theories of Kantian ethics, developed by 18th-century philosopher Immanuel Kant. Explore some of the implications of Kantian ethics for particular moral issues.
Online
2015; 1998
2.

Does Knowledge Depend on Experience?

Trace the evolution of the philosophical theory of empiricism by examining the writings of John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume. Watch as 20th-century philosopher W.V. Quine explains his own empiricism and naturalism theories.
Online
2015; 1998
3.

Does the End Justify the Means?

Consider whether philosophy can guide us in making difficult political and moral decisions. Analyze utilitarian ethics by applying the theory to issues surrounding a massive dam construction project with environmental import. Examine intrinsic value.
Online
2015; 1998
4.

How Does Science Add to Knowledge?

Explore the classic Baconian inductivist view that grew out of the Scientific Revolution and the challenges posed by Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn.
Online
2015; 1998
5.

Is Ethics Based on Virtue?

Connect ancient Greek philosophy and Aristotle's views about virtue and the 'good life' to contemporary, character-based virtue ethics. Investigate the virtue ethics focus on emotions, personal relationships, and long-term values for making life choices.
Online
2015; 1998
6.

Is Reason the Source of Knowledge?

Investigate the roots of rationalism in Plato and geometry and explore the rationalist theories of Descartes and Leibniz. Analyze the continuing debate over whether pure reason can generate knowledge.
Online
2015; 1998
7.

How Do We Encounter the World?

Examine reality as a phenomenon of consciousness, through the views of philosophers Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger.
Online
2015; 1998
8.

Are Interpretations True?

Consider whether there is a true or correct way of interpreting the meaning of what people say or write. Compare the views of philosophers from the 17th to the 20th centuries on language and meaning, the philosophy of hermeneutics.
Online
2015; 1998
9.

What Is Art?

Consider the nature of art and review changes in that nature from representational to expressive to formalist artistic styles. Explore the evolution of art in the 20th century and the significance of conceptual art. Consider Danto's 'end of art' theory.
Online
2015; 1998
10.

What Justifies the State?

Consider the primary question underlying political philosophy and how it has been addressed by political philosophers, from Aristotle through Hobbes, Locke, Rawls, and Hegel. Contrast social contract theory and Liberalism to a communitarian point of view.
Online
2015; 1998
11.

Does the Mind Shape the World?

Analyze Immanuel Kant's position that we interpret the world through 'a priori' constructs of the mind. Examine later philosophers' views of how these constructs may vary among languages and cultures.
Online
2015; 1998
12.

Moral Dilemmas...Can Ethics Help?

Analyze the relevance of utilitarian, Kantian, and virtue ethics to solving moral dilemmas. Apply each ethical theory to a particular moral dilemma facing a family with a severely impaired newborn.
Online
2015; 1998
13.

What Is Human Nature?

Explore traditional Greek views of human nature as described by Plato and his student Aristotle and consider the origins of Judeo-Christian viewpoints. Contrast those views with post-Darwinian and existential ideas about the nature of man.
Online
2015; 1998
14.

Does God Exist?

Examine arguments of theologists and philosophers about the existence of God, how the world began, and the reason for its order and design. Reflect how God's existence reconciles with the existence of evil and human suffering.
Online
2015; 1998
15.

Is Morality Relative?

Learn the views of contemporary philosophers to explore the claims of moral relativism and respect for the morals of other cultures. Examine implications of relativism and tolerance in instances such as death penalties, genocide, and child labor.
Online
2015; 1998
16.

What Is the Meaning of Life?

Determine how the meaning and purpose of life have been viewed in light of religion, culture, or history, as well as from an individual existential level. Focus on the views of existentialist philosopher Soren Kierkegaard.
Online
2015; 1998
17.

Is Mind Distinct From Body?

Investigate Descartes's dualistic view, that mind and body are two separate substances, and learn how that view has been challenged by modern studies in neuroscience and artificial intelligence. Compare different philosophical views of mental activity.
Online
2015; 1998
18.

Are We Social Beings?

Investigate the relationship between individualistic and sociocultural contexts represented by philosophers Descartes and Hegel and illustrated by the endangered culture of the Laplanders in Sweden.
Online
2015; 1998
19.

What Is Philosophy?

Investigates the meaning of philosophy by looking at its different aspects, such as personal interpretations and the Socratic method. Also investigates Plato's parable of ignorance and learning.
Online
2015; 1998
20.

What Is Real?

Explore the conflict between Thomas Hobbes's materialism and George Berkeley's idealism. Contrast it with the 20th-century conflict between realists and antirealists.
Online
2015; 1998