Another semester dawns

It’s Opening Day at our school, and for the 2014 renditions of “Bioethics” and “Atheism & Philosophy“!

Interesting convergence of courses. Both are concerned with how to live and die well, how to fill the interval between birth and death meaningfully, purposively, responsibly, freely, and cooperatively.

PHIL 3345 – Bioethics. This course explores ethical issues arising from the practice of medical therapeutics (conventional and “alternative”), from the development of new biomedical technologies, and more largely from reflections on life’s meaning and prospects. 

PHIL 3310 – Atheism and PhilosophyThis course examines various perspectives on atheism, understood as the belief that no transcendent creator deity exists, and that there are no supernatural causes of natural events. The course compares this belief with familiar alternatives (including theism, agnosticism, and humanism), considers the spiritual significance of atheism, and explores implications for ethics and religion.

Both are about living out the implications of how we choose to view our place in the wide world, and in the long winding human procession. They’re both also about negotiating a peaceable accord with peers who’ve made different choices.

And they’re about the future of life. Seems like the perfect day to recall William James’s “vital question.”

The really vital question for us all is, What is this world going to be? What is life eventually to make of itself? The center of gravity of philosophy must therefore alter its place. The earth of things, long thrown into shadow by the glories of the upper ether, must resume its rights. Pragmatism

That’s a cryptic and pregnant opening salutation, I know. We’ll spend every bit of our months together seeking to clarify its meaning.

But first, introductions. Who are you, I’ll ask, & why are you here in Bioethics or A&P, at MTSU and in Tennessee, in the USA, on this rock, in this dark bright wondrous cosmos?

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