Philosophy & Literature Courses


The Lazy Philosopher’s Guide to Joyce and Ulysses 

Friday 26th 

until Monday 29th August 2022. [Cockermouth, Cumbria]

This, the centenary year of the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses, is the perfect time to explore his celebrated novel.  Joyce stated “The demand that I make of my reader is that he should devote his whole life to reading my works.”  He has indeed been responsible for a vast amount of scholarship surrounding his oeuvre.  Tracing his life, and using Dubliners and Ulysses as our guides, we will shed light upon Joyce’s intriguing and sometimes perplexing work.

The Philosophy and Literature of Iris Murdoch

Monday 5th 

until Wednesday 7th September 2022.

[Taunton, Somerset]

Murdoch’s philosophy has often been neglected in favour of her novels.  In this course we will remedy this imbalance.  Beginning with the novel The Bell, we will look at the relationship between her philosophy and her fiction.  We will then reflect upon the influence of Existentialism on her oeuvre before immersing ourselves in her best known philosophical work, The Sovereignty of Good

The Lazy Philosopher’s Guide to Søren Kierkegaard

Tuesday 13th 

until Friday 16th September 2022. [Cockermouth, Cumbria]

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” said Kierkegaard, who, in his attack on Hegelian thought, gave birth to a new philosophy for life: Existentialism.  This course will explore the ideas in two of Kierkegaard’s most famous works, Fear and Trembling and Either/Or, before considering his philosophical legacy.

More Fantastic Female Philosophers 

Tuesday 11th 

until Friday 14th October 2022. [Cockermouth, Cumbria]

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 Teresa of Ávila, Mary Wollstonecraft, Iris Murdoch, Susan Sontag and Martha Nussbaum. 

An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind

Monday 7th 

until Wednesday 9th November 2022.

[Taunton, Somerset]

In this accessible introduction we will consider such questions as: What is the relationship between the mind and the body?  Are the mind and the brain the same thing?  What is consciousness and can it be disembodied?  What does it mean to be a person and what gives me my identity?  By looking at dualism, the contributions of neuroscience, as well as theories of consciousness and personal identity, we will explore the ways in which philosophy has attempted to answer these fascinating questions. 

The Lazy Philosopher’s Guide to Metaphysics

Tuesday 15th 

until Friday 18th November 2022. [Cockermouth, Cumbria]

In this accessible introduction we will consider such questions as: Are time and space mental constructs? Are our lives predetermined or are we free to choose? By looking at the metaphysical topics of time and space, free will and determinism, as well as reality, we will explore the ways in which philosophy has attempted to answer these fascinating questions. 

An Introduction to the Philosophy of the Islamic World

Tuesday 14th 

until Friday 17th March 2023. [Cockermouth, Cumbria]

The classical philosophy of the Islamic world is largely an attempt to reconcile the Hellenistic philosophy of Aristotle and Plato with the doctrines of the Qur’an.  In this course, which focuses on the ‘Islamic Golden Age’ (750 ce to 1258 ce), we will trace the evolution of Islamic thought beginning with it’s founders, al Kindi and al Farabi, before exploring Ibn Sina and the Mind/Body problem, Ibn Rushd’s argument that philosophy and theology are not incompatible, then briefly detouring into Sufism and Rumi, before concluding with Ibn Khaldun’s Philosophy of History.