Undergraduate Course: Meaning and Fulfilment (PHIL10212)
|School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
|College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)
|SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate)
|Available to all students
|This course examines the related concepts of meaning in an individual life (what makes one life more meaningful than another), 'the' meaning of life (where this raises more 'cosmic' questions about the meaning of life in general, rather than of an individual life), and sceptical challenges to the very idea of meaning in (or of) life
The course will cover a range of topics in the philosophy of life's meaning, including the following:
- The idea of a 'crisis' of meaning and what this tells us about the meaning of life and why we value it - here the method may be via case studies, e.g. John Stuart Mill's breakdown, the exchange between Kant and Maria von Herbert and Tolstoy).
- Whether and in what ways death and our cosmic finitude poses a challenge to living a meaningful life.
- How the end of humanity as a species might rationally influence how one thinks about one's life.
- The scope of the meaning of life - whether nonhuman animals could have meaningful lives.
- The distinction between meaning in a life and the meaning of life.
- Theories of the meaning (semantic content) of 'meaning in a life' and 'the meaning of life.' These will include 'fitting attitude' analyses and interpretative analyses.
- Substantive theories of the meaning of life and meaning in a life, including theological/supernaturalist theories, narrative theories, and hybrid theories which blend subjective and objective elements (e.g. taking satisfaction in engaging with objectively valuable ends and projects).
- The phenomenology of meaning - what experiences go hand in hand with finding one's life meaningful - or, on the other hand, meaningless.
- The relationship between meaning in a life and achievement and goal-oriented activity (related: meaning in different stages of life and the idea of a 'mid-life crisis').
- Whether evil lives can be meaningful.
- Whether yearning for meaning in one's life can be pernicious and whether we might not be better off aiming for happiness and well-being and transcending our attempts to find meaning.
The organization of these topics may vary from year to year.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
| Students MUST have passed:
Mind, Matter and Language (PHIL08014) AND
Knowledge and Reality (PHIL08017)
| Students studying on MA Cognitive Science (Humanities) are permitted to take this course without having met the pre-requisites of Mind, Matter and Language and Knowledge and Reality. However, it is advisable that students discuss the suitability of the course with their PT and the course organiser before enrolling.
Information for Visiting Students
|Visiting students should have completed at least 3 Philosophy courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses. Applicants should note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission. These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
|Midterm Essay (40%) 1500 words
Final Essay (60%) 2500 words
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Demonstrate a grasp of fundamental issues in the philosophy life¿s meaning
- Critically analyse and engage with literature by key philosophers in this field
- Present and evaluate arguments clearly and concisely both within a classroom context and in a written essay
- Demonstrate transferrable skills in research, analysis and argumentation
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Prof Michael Ridge
Tel: (0131 6)50 3657
|Mr Craig Adams