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PH10F — The Meaning of Life and Existence

Course Rationale

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Contemporary society has been made complex by the scientific, information, communications and technological advancements of many generations which have shaped human existence and interaction in the midst of a globalized world a globalized world where the interconnections are unavoidable, salient and compulsive. This requires that human beings, especially the young generation in developing societies take the pain to reflect on the human, social, economic condition, and environmental conditions and the other realities that shape human existence and survival.

This course provides the forum for reflection on these issues with no motive to groom students toward a degree orientation or specialization. It is expected that challenging students and participants to reflect will lead to meaningful development of the ability to critically examine all facets of life, existence, expectations and orientations.

The course is designed for all undergraduate students and persons interested in the general exploration of the human condition, human life and existence.

Course Objectives

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At the end of this course, participants are expected to be able to

•  Analyze issues relating to human life,

•  Analyze critically issues of existence

•  Discuss critically issues that drive human relationships, and

•  Discuss carefully the concepts of means and ends in various cultures, contexts and societies.

The course will be devoted to reflections on the following issues:

Course Outline

a) Human nature, morality and society

critical and philosophical reflection on varieties of conceptions of human nature, the good life, the rational foundation for morality; the relation of individual to state; authority, liberty, and justice.

b) Life, death and existence

careful discussion of questions concerning the meaning of life and death, examine concepts and ideas of meaning of human existence historically and analytically from various traditions.

c) Purpose of life and conditions for its fulfillment

the raising and exploration of answers to such questions as: What is the best sort of life? Is there one type of life that is best for everyone? Is democracy the best arrangement for state management? Are humans ever truly free?

d) Political, social and other arrangements conducive to good life

an examination of questions about the political and social arrangements of our lives and questions about blame and responsibility that require us to think about the meaning of human freedom. We explore freedom and responsibility, to enable student to be able to ask questions about the possibility of knowledge, the rationality of religious belief, and the nature of the self. Our discussion includes non-Western and feminist philosophical perspectives.

•  Language, symbolism and mythologies and life

an exploration of the place of language, symbolisms and mythologies in human existence with the hope of generating critical philosophical reflection on the part of students on the various dimensions of relationships staff/student, lecture/student, seller/buyer, client/provider, parent/child, husband/wife, etc., and we undertake an examination of the role of norms, rules, laws, respect, love, affection, hatred, greed, creativity, destruction and force in human existence. They should be able to answer such questions as: Why be moral? And whose interest is served by my being moral? Why continue to live?


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3 Hours weekly. That is 2 Hours of Lecture and 1 Hour of Seminar/Tutorial weekly. The Seminars/Tutorials are compulsory


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  • Course Work:

    Tutorial Presentation 10%
    One long essay (2500 words) 30%

    Final two-hour Examination 60%



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