Modern Philosophy and the Meaning of Life

Professor: Edwin McCann

Section Meetings

49349R - Th 9am MHP 102

49350R - Th 10am MHP 102

Class Information (Updated 14/9)

Class Syllabus

Section Syllabus

Useful Links

    Reading and Writing Philosophy:




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Week 1 - No section meeting

Week 2 - Montaigne (Playlist HERE)

        SoTW: Children of the Revolution - T. Rex

        - Scientific/Copernican Revolution

        - Reformation

        - Scepticism



                Veil of Perception

                External-World scepticism


Week 3 - Pascal (Playlist HERE)

        SoTW: Breaking Into Heaven - Stone Roses

            - The Liar Paradox and Montaigne

            - Scepticism about mathematical truths

            - Reformation (Chart)

            - Pascal’s Wager

Week 4 - Spinoza (Playlist HERE)

        SoTW - Effect and Cause - The White Stripes

            - Reconstructing Arguments

            - I.P.29

Week 5 - Spinoza (Playlist: see last week)

        SoTW: Don’t Fear the Reaper - Blue Oyster Cult

            - Grading guide (Here)

            - Philosophy as Preparation for Death (V.P.38)

            - The Island of the Immortals

Week 6 - Voltaire and Hume (Playlist HERE)

        SoTW: As Above So Below - Klaxons

            - Arguments from Analogy

            - Argument from Design

            - Summary here

Week 7 - Hume

        Rima’s away, section covered by Tiffany Chang

Week 8 - Hume

       SoTW: The Miracle - Queen

            - Hume, ‘On Suicide’ (Handout)

            - Hume, ‘Of Miracles’ (Handout)

Week 9 - Hume and Kierkegaard

    SoTW: The Universal - Blur

        - Paper Topic Checklist (Handout)

        - Paraphrasing Quotes (Handout)

        - Faith in Fear and Trembling

Week 10 - Kierkegaard (Playlist HERE)

    SoTW: Map of the Problematique - Muse

        - Overview of paper topics for second paper

Week 11 - Nietzsche

    SoTW: Passacaglia - Bear McCreary (BSG)

        - Eternal Recurrence (Handout)

        - Asimov’s ‘The Last Question’ (Text or Narration)

Week 12 - Nietzsche

    SoTW: (Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman - The Kinks

        - God is Dead

        - Morality, where to from here?


Week 13 - Thanksgiving (No Section)

Week 14 - Nietzsche, Sartre, Nagel and Camus

    SoTW: Life is What You Make It - Weezer

        - Overview of paper topics for third paper


          for a correction on the handout check email

Week 15 - Last Section

    SoTW: Dead End Street - The Kinks

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