British Universities Film & Video Council

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Examined Life, The (26 Parts)

Synopsis
The series addresses great questions philosophers have pursued down the ages, showing the diverse ways varous philsophers have approached each question. Aims to encourage the development of critical thinking skills, examine the basic assumptions people make about the world and their relationship to it, introduce thinkers who shaped the contemporary world view, and demonstrate the methods of philosophy.
1: Combines Plato’s Parable fo the Cave and the character of Socrates, with contemporary philosophers’ comments. Distinguishes between examined and unexamined life; studies elements of the Socratic method and its applications; looks at the role of questions in defining an examined life.
2: Considers how the Christian view of human nature arose out of and differs from the Greek view; studies the impact of Darwin’s principle of natural selection on western views of human nature. Discusses the significance of existentialists’ claims that existence precedes essence.
3: Examines how Descartes’ dualistic view has been attacked by materialists, including exponents of artificial intelligence and neuroscience.
4: Weaves maternal reflections with inquiries from philosophers through the ages as to whether a person has an enduring self and the role the idea of an enduring self plays in legal, moral and religious contexts.
5: Looks at the relationship between personality and culture. Contrasts an atomistic and a societal view of the self, represented by Descartes and Hegel using the endangered culture of the Laplanders in Sweden.
6: Explores the conflicts between Hobbes’ materialism and Berkeley’s idealism and the 20th century conflict between realists and antirealists.
7: Studies phenomenology; the significance of subjectivity; intention in consciousness; the significance of ‘noema’ and ‘lebenswelt’; Heidegger’s view of human double nature, inauthenticity and determination.
8: Discusses whether our lives are determined or whether we are free to make choices. Philosophers once thought we were free moral beings, but how does this fit in with laws of physics? What is the relationship between responsibility and freedom?
9: Asks whether time is something measured by clocks or whether it exists as an entity in its own right. Explores theories from Aristotle, Augustine and Kant, and contrasts Newton’s theories of time with Einstein’s theory of relativity.
10: Examines arguments used to prove God does or does not exist. How did the world begin? Is there a reason for its order and design? Can we reconcile the existence of God with the existence of evil?
11: Studies varieties and features of religious experience; the role of culture in interpretation; hyper-religiosity and temporal lobe stimulation; credulity, the will to believe and the role of rationality and evidence.
12: Studies the rationalism of Descartes and Leibnitz, the root of rationalism in Plato and geometry and asks whether pure reason can generate knowledge.
13: Studies the philosophical position of empiricism; Locke’s empiricism, its ‘gap’ between mental experience and the material world; Berkeley’s solution and Hume’s scepticism; Hume’s scepticism regarding knowledge of the uniformity of nature; empiricism, naturalism and science; Quine’s view of contemporary empiricism and language.
14: Examines Immanuel Kant’s position that we intepret the world through a priori constructs of the mind, as well as later philosophers’ views of how these constructs may vary among language groups and cultures.#
15: Looks at Bacon’s inductivist view that grew out of the scientific revolution and challenges posed by Popper and Kuhn. Considers Kuhn’s views on the role paradigm theories play in scientific revolutions.
16: Looks at correspondence, coherence and pragmatist theories of truth, and how conflicts have carried over into realist versus antirealist views of science, including the Einstein-Bohr debate on quantum mechanics.
17: Asks how it is possible for us to interpret and understand each other. Explores Schliemacher and Wittgenstein on language and meaning.
18: Discusses whether all morality is culturally determined, or whether there are moral values that are valid for all cultures. The claims of relativism are explored along with the implications of relativism for child labour.
19: What is intrinsically valuable? Considers the utilitarian principle of ethics; qualitative vs quantitative evaluations of utility; how problems of prediction and measurement impact on utilitarianism; utilitarian theories that allow several kinds of intrinsic goods; whether nature has intrinsic dignity or value; whether effects of actions on non-humans count as ethics.
20: Addresses rights-based theories of ethics, particularly Kant’s, and their implications for particular issues - autonomous and non-autonomous ethics; maxim, universal law, the categorical imperative.
21: Explores Aristotle’s and other ancient views of virtue, the good life and contemporary virtue ethics with its focus on emotions, personal relationships, character, and long-term values.
22: What is a moral dilemma? Considers the relevance of utilitarian, Kantian and virtue ethics to a family with a severely impaired newborn.
23: Asks whether the state is merely an artificial arrangement we construct to make life better, as social construct theorists claim, or whether it’s a natural organism through which people achieve their potential.
24: Explores the difference between retributive and distributive justice; egalitarian theories of distributive justice; justice based on merit; the socialist form of justice; Rawls’ views on justice and social welfare; Nozick’s views on justice as liberty; the problem of international justice.
25: Studies the nature of art; the imitation theory of art; Plato’s criticism of art; the expressive and formalist theories of Danto’s ‘end of art’ theory; the concept of an artworld and Dickie’s theory of art. Considers how views have been affected by changes in styles and techniques.
26: Evaluates how the meaning and purpose of life have been viewed in light of religion, culture or history, and from an individual existential perspective. Considers Hegel and Marx, the system builders; Kierkegaard, existentialism and the three stages of life; Sartre and creating meaning; Simone de Beauvoir and the second sex.
Language
English
Country
United States
Medium
Video; 26 videocassettes. VHS. col. 26 x 30 min.
Year of production
1999
Availability
out of distribution; 2001 sale: £12.75 (+VAT inc. p&p) each part 2001 sale: £99.00 (+VAT inc. p&p) set
Subjects
Philosophy
Keywords
art criticism; ethical issues; existentialism; justice; moral values; philosophical investigation; time

Credits

Contributor
Arne Naess; Bernard Williams; Charles Taylor; Daniel Dennett; Hilary Putnam; Hubert Dreyfus; J.C.C. Smart; John Searle; Julia Annas; Martha Nussbaum; Michael Sandel; Paul Churchland; Paul Ricoeur; Peter Singer; Richard Rorty; Robert Solomon; Ronald Dworkin; Rudiger Safranski; Stephen Toulmin; Susan Wolf; W.V. Quine

Sections

Title
What is philosophy?
Synopsis
1: Combines Plato's Parable fo the Cave and the character of Socrates, with contemporary philosophers' comments. Distinguishes between examined and unexamined life; studies elements of the Socratic method and its applications; looks at the role of questio

Title
What is human nature?
Synopsis
2: Considers how the Christian view of human nature arose out of and differs from the Greek view; studies the impact of Darwin's principle of natural selection on western views of human nature. Discusses the significance of existentialists' claims that ex

Title
Is mind distinct from body?
Synopsis
3: Examines how Descartes' dualistic view has been attacked by materialists, including exponents of artificial intelligence and neuroscience.

Title
Is there an enduring self?
Synopsis
4: Weaves maternal reflections with inquiries from philosophers through the ages as to whether a person has an enduring self and the role the idea of an enduring self plays in legal, moral and religious contexts.

Title
Are we social beings?
Synopsis
5: Looks at the relationship between personality and culture. Contrasts an atomistic and a societal view of the self, represented by Descartes and Hegel using the endangered culture of the Laplanders in Sweden.

Title
What is real?
Synopsis
6: Explores the conflicts between Hobbes' materialism and Berkeley's idealism and the 20th century conflict between realists and antirealists.

Title
How do we encounter the world?
Synopsis
7: Studies phenomenology; the significance of subjectivity; intention in consciousness; the significance of 'noema' and 'lebenswelt'; Heidegger's view of human double nature, inauthenticity and determination.

Title
Do we have free will?
Synopsis
8: Discusses whether our lives are determined or whether we are free to make choices. Philosophers once thought we were free moral beings, but how does this fit in with laws of physics? What is the relationship between responsibility and freedom?

Title
Is time real?
Synopsis
9: Asks whether time is something measured by clocks or whether it exists as an entity in its own right. Explores theories from Aristotle, Augustine and Kant, and contrasts Newton's theories of time with Einstein's theory of relativity.

Title
Does God exist?
Synopsis
10: Examines arguments used to prove God does or does not exist. How did the world begin? Is there a reason for its order and design? Can we reconcile the existence of God with the existence of evil?

Title
Can we know God through experience?
Synopsis
11: Studies varieties and features of religious experience; the role of culture in interpretation; hyper-religiosity and temporal lobe stimulation; credulity, the will to believe and the role of rationality and evidence.

Title
Is reason the source of knowledge?
Synopsis
12: Studies the rationalism of Descartes and Leibnitz, the root of rationalism in Plato and geometry and asks whether pure reason can generate knowledge.

Title
Does knowledge depend on experience?
Synopsis
13: Studies the philosophical position of empiricism; Locke's empiricism, its 'gap' between mental experience and the material world; Berkeley's solution and Hume's scepticism; Hume's scepticism regarding knowledge of the uniformity of nature; empiricism,

Title
Does the mind shape the world?
Synopsis
14: Examines Immanuel Kant's position that we intepret the world through a priori constructs of the mind, as well as later philosophers' views of how these constructs may vary among language groups and cultures.#

Title
How does science add to knowledge?
Synopsis
15: Looks at Bacon's inductivist view that grew out of the scientific revolution and challenges posed by Popper and Kuhn. Considers Kuhn's views on the role paradigm theories play in scientific revolutions.

Title
Does science give us the truth?
Synopsis
16: Looks at correspondence, coherence and pragmatist theories of truth, and how conflicts have carried over into realist versus antirealist views of science, including the Einstein-Bohr debate on quantum mechanics.

Title
Are interpretations true?
Synopsis
17: Asks how it is possible for us to interpret and understand each other. Explores Schliemacher and Wittgenstein on language and meaning.

Title
Is morality relative?
Synopsis
18: Discusses whether all morality is culturally determined, or whether there are moral values that are valid for all cultures. The claims of relativism are explored along with the implications of relativism for child labour.

Title
Does the end justify the means?
Synopsis
19: What is intrinsically valuable? Considers the utilitarian principle of ethics; qualitative vs quantitative evaluations of utility; how problems of prediction and measurement impact on utilitarianism; utilitarian theories that allow several kinds of in

Title
Can rules define morality?
Synopsis
20: Addresses rights-based theories of ethics, particularly Kant's, and their implications for particular issues - autonomous and non-autonomous ethics; maxim, universal law, the categorical imperative.

Title
Is ethics based on virtue?
Synopsis
21: Explores Aristotle's and other ancient views of virtue, the good life and contemporary virtue ethics with its focus on emotions, personal relationships, character, and long-term values.

Title
Moral dilemmas ... can ethics help?
Synopsis
22: What is a moral dilemma? Considers the relevance of utilitarian, Kantian and virtue ethics to a family with a severely impaired newborn.

Title
What justifies the state?
Synopsis
23: Asks whether the state is merely an artificial arrangement we construct to make life better, as social construct theorists claim, or whether it's a natural organism through which people achieve their potential.

Title
What is justice?
Synopsis
24: Explores the difference between retributive and distributive justice; egalitarian theories of distributive justice; justice based on merit; the socialist form of justice; Rawls' views on justice and social welfare; Nozick's views on justice as liberty

Title
What is art?
Synopsis
25: Studies the nature of art; the imitation theory of art; Plato's criticism of art; the expressive and formalist theories of Danto's 'end of art' theory; the concept of an artworld and Dickie's theory of art. Considers how views have been affected by ch

Title
What is the meaning of life?
Synopsis
26: Evaluates how the meaning and purpose of life have been viewed in light of religion, culture or history, and from an individual existential perspective. Considers Hegel and Marx, the system builders; Kierkegaard, existentialism and the three stages of

Production Company

Name

In-Tele-Com

Name

Swedish Educational Broadcasting

Name

Teleac-Not

Distributor

Name

Resources in Training & Education Ltd

Contact
Donald Hill, Mark Brady
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admin@riteltd.net
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01749 689027
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Notes
Probably no longer in business (2009)

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