The Meaning of Life

The Institute of Art and Ideas


Important information

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The meaning of life is a mystery that remains elusive. Whether we place our faith in scientific progress, the afterlife, family or personal well-being, we struggle to convince ourselves of deeper purpose. Today’s world presents us with new challenges, whilst promising to offer answers to age-old questions. In this course Professor Steve Fuller presents a radical account of how humanity has found meaning, and suggests the next ways which we will look for the meaning of life. Where might we find it?

By the end of the course, you will have learned:

How today’s cult of fame developed from the ancient’s search for meaning
What challenges Darwin’s theory of evolution presents to meaning
Why Plato thought that delusions were necessary for a prosperous society
The deeper message behind Hawking’s phrase ‘the mind of God’
The cyclical patterns in our search for life beyond death

As part of the course there are in-video quiz questions to consolidate your learning, suggested further content to explore topics further, discussion boards to have your say and an end of course assessment set by Professor Fuller.

IAI Academy courses are designed to be challenging but accessible to the interested student. No specialist knowledge is required.

The end-of-course assessment is available for authentication by our online proctoring partners Software Secure. Lean how you can earn a verified certificate.

Important information

Where and when

Starts Location

What you'll learn on the course

Scientific Progress
Darwin Theory
Zero Sum Game

Course programme

Course Syllabus
  • Part One: More than a Zero Sum GameSome philosophers have endorsed suicide – but does the ‘good life’ tip the balance against despair?
  • Part Two: Being and KnowingWhat can the experience of living teach us about ourselves and the nature of the world?
  • Part Three: Beyond LifeWhat does life signify beyond itself? Can our impact on others give our lives value?

Explore Further

Our editors have brought together a range of content from across which explore the ideas in this course.

About the Instructor
  • Steve Fuller

    Postmodern sociologist, and Professor of Sociology at Warwick, Fuller ignited a firestorm of controversy with Dissent Over Descent: Intelligent Design's Challenge to Darwinism.