Thursday, September 24, 2009

Atheism and Spirituality

Hot off the presses:

New course, Spring 2010-

Philosophy 4800.3 -- Readings in Philosophy: Atheism and Spirituality. TTh 2:40--4:05, JUB 202.

"I'm not religious. I'm spiritual."

We've all heard people say that. Perhaps you've said it yourself. But what does it mean? Can an atheist say it? What, precisely, do atheists believe-- and believe in? What makes a non-religious person "spiritual"?

This course will tackle these and many other questions drawn from reflection on philosophical texts from Epicurus, Pascal, David Hume, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Bertrand Russell, and John Dewey (among others), as well as more recent writings and public polemics involving "New Atheists" Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett.

We''ll hear from Julia Sweeney about "letting go of God" and gaining new spiritual perspective. We'll look at the humanistic and skeptical traditions of doubt, and we'll also consult the wisdom of the late Carl Sagan, whose posthumous Varieties of Scientific Experience echoes, honors, and complements William James's Varieties of Religious Experience.

And we'll wonder if the Brights (who reject the supernatural) live up to their name.

Contact Dr. James P. Oliver (, 898-2050, 307B JUB) for information and further details.

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