This mind-bending tour of metaphysics applies philosophy to the forefront of today's knowledge. Over the course of 24 fascinating lectures, Professor Johnson thinks through the big questions about humans and the universe: The relationship between the mind and the brain, how consciousness emerges from neurochemical processes, the existence of God, human free will, the possibility of time travel, and whether we live in a multiverse or even a computer simulation.
Drawing from the realms of psychology, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and philosophy, the first half of the course examines the defining traits of being human. You'll explore the connection between brains and minds, as well as the nature of the self, time, and human free will.
The second half of the course shifts from the nature of the individual to the nature of the universe. Here metaphysics, science, and theology all intersect as you consider the existence of God, the science behind relativity, and the bizarre-even spooky-world of quantum mechanics.
Although the subject has ancient roots, the metaphysics you study in this course is far from an esoteric system of thought. Indeed, this material is very much alive today-at the forefront of philosophy, physics, and medical technology. When you complete this course, you will have a much richer perspective on the world around you. Virtually every lecture will challenge some of your bedrock beliefs about yourself and the universe.
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These lectures really got me thinking, which is exactly what metaphysics should do. Professor David K. Johnson, (although he has sort of a nerdy voice), does an amazing job of leading the listener by the hand through each lecture. The lectures are structured and organized in a way that each one leads into the next topic.
I HIGHLY recommend these lectures for anyone looking to broaden their mind or enjoy thinking outside of the box.
9.1 / 10.0
- Niels J. Rasmussen
Content good; Presentation not so good
Some very intriguing mysteries are discussed:
• Philosophy of mind (theories around the relationship between the brain and the mind)
• Identifying personal identity
• The existence of free will
• The existence of God
• The nature of time
• The origin of our universe
• Do multi-verses exist
• The nature of reality itself
But I was left feeling like the professor’s style just didn’t help make this course “pop”. It was like he was rushing through a lot of the topics/theories without taking the time to either provide more explanations/examples or let them sink in before he was off to the next topic. He also seemed to “push” his own beliefs/theories to the point of almost over-arguing. You could tell which ones he didn’t believe in because he would start off saying “there are many problems with this…” and then proceed to go through the reasons (without explaining rebuttals), and end up with some mind twisting explanation as to why “logic” dictates it must be wrong. But I am not an experienced philosopher so for all I know he may be using all of the tenants of the discipline appropriately in proving theories! Content good; Presentation not so good; But I would still consider this a solid course and worth listening to if you are interested in exploring the nature of beings and of reality itself. The content was arranged in a cohesive manner and the end of the last lecture nicely summarized all of the topics and conclusions.
• Engaging discussion on these topics:
o Discussion on Philosophy of Mind: theories around the relationship between the brain and the mind, where does mind exist, and whether we can build computers to become “minded” with consciousness (and how we should relate to them if we can)
o The problem of identifying personal identity: if our bodies are physically changing every so many years (cells replacing themselves), our personalities changing, and in some cases we lose our memories through amnesia then are you the same person (as a unique identity) you were 30 years ago? Different interpretations on how identity is considered preserved in various science fiction-type thought experiments and scenarios are debated
o A being (think the traditional concept of God) having the qualities of omnipotence (all powerful), omniscience (all knowing), and omnibenevolence (all morally good) poses logical contradictions and incompatibilities in and of the qualities themselves
o The professor’s arguments against the Cosmological and Teleological arguments for God’s existence (the existence of the world and the design of it, respectively) provide an interesting perspective of the debate regardless of where you come down on the belief
• The professor provided good thought-provoking thought experiments to consider the above topics but his teaching style didn’t help some of the discussion to sink in; For example there are times he talks too fast when I’d hope for a slowdown and further explanation of a theory
• While the professor provides interesting arguments against the existence of the soul and of God it feels like he is steering too much (perhaps feeling a need to over-argue?) vs. allowing the listener to decide for themselves
- Tommy D'Angelo