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Philosophy & Literature Courses


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.

The Lazy Philosopher's Guide to Atheism and Religion 

Monday 20th 

until Wednesday 22nd March 2023.

[Taunton, Somerset]

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.

The Lazy Philosopher's Guide to Simone de Beauvoir

Tuesday 11th 

until Friday 14th April 2023. [Cockermouth, Cumbria]

“Self-knowledge is no guarantee of happiness, but it is on the side of happiness and can supply the courage to fight for it.”  This encapsulates de Beauvoir’s life of academic and authorial excellence, authentic living, as well as political and feminist activism.  In this course, with the aid of Skye Cleary’s recent book, How to be You: Simone de Beauvoir and the Art of Authentic Living, we will explore what de Beauvoir can teach us today.

The Lazy Philosopher's Guide to Iris Murdoch

Friday 26th 

until Monday 29th May 2023. [Cockermouth, Cumbria]

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.

An Introduction to Chinese Philosophy

Monday 3rd 

until Wednesday 5th July 2023.

[Taunton, Somerset]

Focusing on the two main schools of Chinese philosophy, Confucianism and Taoism, this course will explore their foundations, their key thinkers, including Lao Tzu and Zhuang Zhou, as well as Confucius, and Mencius, and then consider the possibility of their ethical application to Western society today.

Freedom, Franchise & Femininity in Virginia Woolf

Thursday 24th 

until Sunday 27th August 2023. [Cockermouth, Cumbria]

What is Freedom?  Is Freedom having a ‘room of one’s own’?  Are there several forms of Freedom?  Is ‘Political Freedom’ and franchise the most valuable?  Using Woolf’s novel Mrs Dalloway, as well as her essay A Room of One’s Own, this course will explore the concepts of Freedom, Franchise and Femininity.

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