PHIL 227 – The Meaning of Life: Absurdity and Existence

Our lives matter to us and we think they are meaningful. But is existence ultimately meaningful? Or, is it absurd given the inevitability of death? We will explore such themes from the perspective of existentialism. Existentialist thinkers such as Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, De Beauvoir and Sartre not only focused on the meaning of life, the absurd and the concept of death, they also addressed issues such as the relationship between our bodies, our sexuality, and our affective grip on the world. Moreover, there are existentialist implications for what it means to be a person, and how people relate to one another and the world. The latter has given rise to a large literature on feminism and existentialist ethics while, at the same time, questioning essentialist thinking about the human condition. We will explore these issues along with key existentialist concepts such as authenticity, freedom, the other, and responsibility.




The Meaning of Life: Absurdity and Existence is taught by Dr. Michael Kirchhoff, who is an expert in Philosophy of Mind, Cognition and Phenomenology. Dr. Kirchhoff’s work has appeared in journals such as The Australasian Journal of PhilosophyPhilosophy and Phenomenological Research, and Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences.