Philosophy, Religion, and the Meaning of Life (Audiobook)

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Posted on 2012-03-04. By anonymous.

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Philosophy, Religion, and the Meaning of Life By Professor Francis J. Ambrosio
Publisher: The T[each]ing Co[mp]any 2009 | 18 hours and 45 mins | ISBN: n/a | MP3 32 kbps | 264 MB



What is the meaning of life? Is human existence meaningful or absurd? Is it even worth asking this kind of question? Anyone who has ever pondered these fundamental questions has an extraordinary adventure in store.

In 36 inspiring lectures, award-winning Professor of Philosophy Francis J. Ambrosio fields the biggest of the "big" questions, in a boldly revealing inquiry into one of the most fundamental of all human concerns.

Philosophy, Religion, and the Meaning of Life charts how the question of life's meaning has been pursued through the ages, highlighting the Western philosophical and religious paths in the human search for meaningful living.

Embracing a wide range of perspectives, Professor Ambrosio demonstrates that whether we are philosophically inclined or not, religious or atheistic, cynic or optimist, the question of life's meaning is shared universally by human beings, as an essential dynamic of human existence itself.

In revealing the ways in which our civilization has grasped the question of meaning and by proposing a specific type of purposeful inquiry, these lectures provide you with the tools to come to terms with the question in a direct, practical way. Philosophy, Religion, and the Meaning of Life delivers a clear and useable framework for both understanding the history of the human path to meaning and for navigating that path as an individual, personal concern.

Two History-Shaping Archetypes

First, the lectures lead you through the history and evolution of two Western traditions that address the question of meaning: the Greek-derived, Humanist philosophical tradition and the Judeo-Christian/Islamic theistic tradition. Most centrally, you encounter two key metaphorical figures:
  • The Hero: Reflecting the worldview of secular, Humanist philosophy, the Hero's universe is shaped by impersonal forces of necessity and fate, indifferent to human desires. The Hero realizes the goal of self-fulfillment and self-mastery through achievement and the overcoming of obstacles to fulfill his or her fate wholly and perfectly. The Hero's identity emerges in contexts ranging from the lives of Socrates and Marcus Aurelius to Nietzsche's Zarathustra and the Existentialist vision of Jean-Paul Sartre.
  • The Saint: The Saint affirms a contrasting sense of life, identifying selfhood primarily in relation to others, human or divine; a covenant bond of care, concern, and responsibility whose purpose is love itself. You find the Saint's identity in figures such as Abraham and Jesus, and later in the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard and the novels of Dostoevsky.

You track these two archetypes as they react to and evolve with cultural changes across the centuries, from the ancient world and the rise of Christianity through the medieval era and the Renaissance to the Enlightenment and our own times, where you find them still vibrantly alive. You locate these hugely influential figures in scripture and ancient philosophy, but also in Renaissance art, contemporary literature, and the movies.
In the persona of Michelangelo, you find the expression of Saintly passion through the power of art, as well as the Hero's identity in the artist's arduous inner struggle.
You uncover the Saintly ethos in the short stories of Flannery O'Connor as she articulates contemporary spiritual poverty and affirms the deep need for the Other.
You witness in the personal trials of St. Augustine the problematic attempt to synthesize the Hero and Saint in the name of a unified culture of spiritual Humanism.

Course Lecture Titles
1. Meaning—A Question and a Commitment
2. Hero and Saint—Mapping the Cultural Genome
3. The Heroic Age—The Greek Worldview
4. Heroism and the Tragic View of Life
5. Plato—Politics, Justice, and Philosophy
6. Plato's Republic—The Hero's Reward
7. The Heroic Ideal in Late Stoicism
8. "In the Beginning"—The Hebrew Worldview
9. Father Abraham, the First Saint
10. Saintly Types in the Hebrew Bible
11. Jesus as Saintly Innovator—Forgiving Love
12. Hero or Saint? Saul of Tarsus
13. Hero or Saint? Augustine of Hippo
14. Mohammed—The Prophet as Saintly Innovator
15. Saint Francis and Dante—Saintly Troubadours
16. The Agony and Ecstasy of Michelangelo
17. Enlightenment Patterns of Cultural Mutation
18. Mt. Moriah Revisited—Saintly Transgression
19. A History of Suspicion—Marx, Darwin, Freud
20. Nietzsche—The Return of the Tragic Hero
21. Dostoevsky—The Return of the Saint
22. A Century of Trauma
23. The Quantum Leap
24. Existentialism—Sartre and de Beauvoir
25. Camus and the Absurd Hero
26. Flannery O'Connor and the Mystery of Grace
27. The Holocaust and the Crisis of Forgiveness
28. Faulkner and Beckett—Images of the Forlorn
29. Viktor Frankl—Freedom's Search for Meaning
30. Simone Weil—Imagining the Secular Saint
31. Simone Weil—A New Augustine?
32. Identifying the Secular Saint
33. The Secular Saint at the Movies
34. Ernest Becker—The Denial of Death
35. Terror and Hope in a Planetary Age
36. The Secular Saint—Learning to Walk Upright


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