Death: A Free Philosophy Course from Yale

This course taught by Yale pro­fes­sor Shelly Kagan deals with some­thing we’re all going to face–death. Here’s how the course descrip­tion reads:

There is one thing I can be sure of: I am going to die. But what am I to make of that fact? This course will exam­ine a num­ber of issues that arise once we begin to reflect on our mor­tal­i­ty. The pos­si­bil­i­ty that death may not actu­al­ly be the end is con­sid­ered. Are we, in some sense, immor­tal? Would immor­tal­i­ty be desir­able? Also a clear­er notion of what it is to die is exam­ined. What does it mean to say that a per­son has died? What kind of fact is that? And, final­ly, dif­fer­ent atti­tudes to death are eval­u­at­ed. Is death an evil? How? Why? Is sui­cide moral­ly per­mis­si­ble? Is it ratio­nal? How should the knowl­edge that I am going to die affect the way I live my life?

Major texts used in this course include Pla­to’s Phae­doTol­stoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilych, and John Per­ry’s A Dia­logue on Per­son­al Iden­ti­ty and Immor­tal­i­ty.

You can watch the 26 lec­tures above. Or find them on YouTube and iTunes in video and audio for­mats. For more infor­ma­tion on this course, includ­ing the syl­labus, please vis­it this Yale site.

This course has been added to our list of Free Online Phi­los­o­phy cours­es, a sub­set of our meta col­lec­tion, 1,700 Free Online Cours­es from Top Uni­ver­si­ties.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Intro­duc­tion to Polit­i­cal Phi­los­o­phy: A Free Online Course from Yale Uni­ver­si­ty

Oxford’s Free Course Crit­i­cal Rea­son­ing For Begin­ners Teach­es You to Think Like a Philoso­pher

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.