Does atheism have a rational foundation? If we are just atoms in motion, how can anything be right or wrong? What is reason and why trust it? What is true? What should I believe, about myself and the world I live in? What should our politics be? What should our values be?
Christians and Muslims and others have been challenging atheists with these questions more than ever. Learn how to answer them…and with something more coherent and well thought out than they even think their answers are! Thinking through the answers to these questions can also make you smarter, wiser, with a better grasp of the world and your place in it. It will give you a firmer basis for understanding who you are and the world you live in and how to improve both.
Get a leg up on all these goals, by taking my course next month (this November) on Naturalism as a Worldview: How to Build a Philosophy of Life. My course establishes the philosophical foundations of humanism and how to defend them, from the ground up. And I think this is the best way to introduce yourself to doing philosophy and thinking like a philosopher! We’ll work from my book Sense and Goodness without God and discuss its merits or ways to improve on it.
But this time I’m also going to ask students in this course for how my book, or the conclusions in it, could be revised or improved. So this is your chance to contribute any ideas and thoughts you may have had about that!
We will get at questions like: What is the nature of reality? What is the nature of knowledge and truth? What is the nature of humanity? What is the nature of love? What is the nature of beauty? And what consequences do these conclusions have for us? How do we decide on what’s best or what’s true if there is no God? Why live? Or care? About anything? Why is faith unreliable? What is reliable? How reliable? Why? What exists? What doesn’t? How do we know? What should we do about it? What does being a moral person mean? And why should we strive be one?
Learn about all aspects of naturalism as a philosophy of life, and how to use it in practical ways, and improve on it, to develop a better personal philosophy of life, the world, and everything. In the process you will learn many of the basics of college-level philosophy, and how to think like a philosopher, an important skill for those who know religion is bunk, but that we still need a better way of understanding ourselves and the world. Religion sucks. But you need a belief structure to replace it with. This course is about how to go about doing that.
This takes just one month online. You study and participate at your own pace, as much or as little as you like, and you get to ask me any questions you want about the course topics all month long, and read and participate in online discussions with me and other students. I will direct and comment on readings each week and give weekly course assignments which consist of answering questions about what you’ve learned and what you think about it. The course text you have to buy is Sense and Goodness without God (which you should purchase in the format you want as soon as possible so you’ll have it in time for the course). All other readings and media will be provided to students free of charge (all you have to provide is your access to the internet).
Official Course Description: Build the foundations for a practical philosophy. Learn how to develop and defend your own naturalistic worldview from studying and critiquing a model example, and how to employ it in your daily lives and your understanding of the world. Learn the basics of how to develop and test a philosophy of epistemology (theory of knowledge), metaphysics (theory of existence), ethics (theory of morality), aesthetics (theory of beauty), and politics (theory of government), using logical, evidence-based reasoning. Based on assigned readings, lectures, and weekly class discussion online with Dr. Carrier (Ph.D. in the history of philosophy from Columbia University).
Specific Topics Addressed Include: (1) “Naturalism, Supernaturalism, Philosophy, and Worldview Theory,” in which we learn what naturalism is, and how it differs from supernaturalism; what a worldview is, and the basics of how to think about and construct a worldview; and what philosophy is, and how to think like a philosopher. (2) “Naturalism and the Universe, Your Self, Your Mind, and Your Freedom,” in which we learn what naturalism can say about the nature and origins of existence, of the universe and all its contents, but also in particular of you as a person, and thus of consciousness, thought, and freedom (your personal autonomy). (3) “Naturalism on Morality, Society, and Politics,” in which we learn what naturalism can say about whether there is any moral or political truth, what it’s nature is, and where it comes from, and what this means for how we should strive to organize society. (4) And “Naturalism on Meaning, Purpose, and Beauty in Life,” in which we learn what naturalism can say about the meaning of life and its purpose or value, and about the nature of beauty and ugliness, and what value they have, what they signify, and where they come from.
The course could fill so register soon! Late registration is possible but not guaranteed.
Let your friends, colleagues, and local groups and organizations know about this course, too. They might also be interested!