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 Mill-purple.jpg  Foundations of Liberty
or: The Intellectual Crisis of the Modern World

A Course with Professor Thomas Patrick Burke
2011-2012

Lecture 1. Explanations
Lecture 2. On  Being Alive
Lecture 3. On Being Alive: Aristotle
Lecture 4. The New Science
Lecture 5. Man the Machine
Lecture 6. Purposes
Lecture 7. Darwin
Lecture 8. Genetics
Lecture 9. Epigenetics
Lecture 10. Emergence
Lecture 11. Vitalism
Lecture 12. The Restoration of Meaning
Lecture 13. The Purpose of the World

            The intellectual crisis of the modern world is the conflict between the physical sciences and the basic human values. Physics and chemistry, together with much of biology, have been immensely successful in giving us knowledge of the world we live in. Yet they cannot tell the difference between a human being and a rock, except incidentally. All the features of human beings that make us distinctively human-being alive, having a mind, consciousness and subjectivity, possessing free will, moral virtue and moral principle, the sense of beauty, feelings, and many other qualities-are invisible to science and do not exist for it.  This contradiction has given us a deeply impoverished conception of ourselves and our world. Our first aim in these lectures is to trace the sequence of historical events by which this state of affairs developed. It began with Socrates.