Philosophy & Literature Courses

Residential

Philosophy: The Mystique of Existentialism 

Friday 4th until Sunday 6th June 2021

Existentialism was one of the most influential intellectual movements of the 20th century, surging from its 19th century Kierkegaardian foundations in reaction to the experience of Nazi domination and occupation. Its exponents, including Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Albert Camus, have left a rich literary and philosophical legacy.

The Lazy Philosopher’s Guide to Plato

Friday 11th until Monday 14th June 2021

According to A. N. Whitehead, ‘The European philosophical tradition is… a series of footnotes to Plato.’  This course will consider Plato’s enduring influence by examining, and discussing, many of his ideas including virtue and the good life, justice in Socrates’ unapologetic apology, the allegory of the cave and beauty.

The Lazy Philosopher’s Guide to Kafka

Friday 3rd until Sunday 5th September 2021

According to Kafka, “It is often safer to be in chains than to be free.”  Tracing his life and key works, we will explore some of Kafka’s ideas including the blending of the realistic and the fantastic, how bureaucratic forces limit an individual’s freedom and end by looking at his legacy, which was only made possible by his lifelong friend and literary executor Max Brod.

A Crash Course in Global Philosophy

Sunday 17th 

until Wednesday 20th October 2021

Much of the world’s philosophy has historically been ignored by the West.  Yet, if philosophy is a love of wisdom, there is no doubt that the philosophy of other cultures can only enrich us.  This course will explore some of the philosophical contributions from the rest of the globe, including India, China, and the Muslim world. 

The Lazy Philosopher's Guide to Religion & Atheism

Sunday 28th November until Wednesday 1st December 2021

Does religion still play an important part in Western societies?  Taking inspiration from Alain de Botton’s book, Religion for Atheists, this course will begin by laying down the foundations of the philosophy of religion before exploring what religion can still contribute to a modern society, from an atheist’s point of view.

Fantastic Female Philosophers

Sunday 12th 

until Wednesday 15th December 2021

Female philosophers are often overlooked, and though there are few examples in the ancient and medieval worlds due to patriarchal dominance, they have made themselves salient in modernity.  This course will celebrate the contributions made by female philosophers throughout the last two millennia, including Ban Zhao, George Eliot, Hannah Arendt, Simone du Beauvoir and Judith Butler.

Philosophy: The Wisdom of the Stoics

Tuesday 8th 

until Friday 11th March 2022

Stoicism is often misunderstood as languishing through life without complaint.  In this course we will see how thinkers such as Seneca, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius confronted one of the key questions of the ancient world: ‘How should we live?’ and supplied us with pragmatic ways in which to flourish.

The Lazy Philosopher's Guide to Tolstoy

Sunday 3rd 

until Wednesday 6th April 2022

Tolstoy was as much a philosopher as a writer, and beyond his most famous works he applies his genius to the whole of the human condition.  Using some of his short stories, this course will explore Tolstoy’s views on art, politics, religion and living an authentic life.