Category Archives: Religion

Searching for Meaning in a Secular Age / Meaning, Relevance, and the Limits of Technology

All Things Shining (image Amazon)Another book discussion, this time in the UC Berkeley series Conversation with History:

Host Harry Kreisler welcomes philosophy professors Hubert Dreyfus and Sean Kelly to discuss their book, “All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age.”

Drawing on their reading of Western classics, Dreyfus and Kelly analyze how different epochs offered unique answers to the question of what is sacred and what can provide meaning for human existence.

They explore the examples of Homer, Jesus, and Melville to highlight differing paradigms of culture practice. Dreyfus and Kelly then trace the transition to the secular age in which nihilism prevails.

They conclude by identifying how a sense of meaning emerges from heroism, athletics, and craftsmanship.

The above playlist (of two videos) also has an episode of the same programme from 2006 that features Hubert Dreyfus discussing “Meaning, Relevance, and the Limits of Technology”:

Host Harry Kreisler welcomes philosopher Hubert Dreyfus for a discussion of why machines cannot become human. In their discussion, they talk about the role of philosophy in clarifying what it means to be human.

Also see Sean Kelly’s contribution to The New York Times’ philosophy blog The Stone.

The Victorians: Empire and Race

Prof. Richard J. EvansVia Gresham College, a series of lectures on the Victorian era by Professor Richard J Evans FBA. Below is the episode on Empire and Race:

Science and religion came together to help shape the attitudes of the British and Europeans towards the rest of the world, whose inhabitants were increasingly regarded as socially inferior and spiritually ignorant. This lecture looks at how these ideas framed the growth of overseas Empire in the latter part of the nineteenth century, how Britain and those European states that possessed colonies governed them and what were the consequences for politics and ideology at home, above all in the growth of the Social Darwinism, racism and extreme nationalism that led to the end of the ‘Victorian’ era in the First World War.

Other lectures in this series, The Victorians: Culture and Experience in Britain, Europe and the World 1815-1914, include:
Time and Space
Art and Culture
Life and Death
Religion and Science
Gender and Sexuality