God, Philosophy, and the Search for Life's Meaning

The University of Oxford

Searching for the meaning of life is fundamental to being human. In God, Philosophy, and the Search for Life’s Meaning, the University of Oxford’s Dr. Tim Mawson turns a thoughtful eye to the questions about existence you have undoubtedly asked yourself.

An expert on the philosophy of religion, Dr. Mawson combines wit with masterful scholarship to explain deep philosophical topics in an easy-to-understand yet erudite manner. In 12 captivating lectures, you will look at how philosophers throughout history have debated the question of what our lives mean, how God factors into it, and how philosophers have tackled these questions throughout history. As you grapple with monumental topics, you will enrich your understanding of philosophy and religion.

How do philosophers now answer a question we have all asked ourselves: What makes our lives meaningful? Under the tutelage of Dr. Mawson, you will explore historical approaches to this question before turning to contemporary perspectives and the schools of thought that underlie them.

You will consider contrasting beliefs about meaning, purpose, and the existence of a higher power. You will also scrutinize philosophers’ prevailing views about these issues. In God, Philosophy, and the Search for Life’s Meaning, you will discover innovative ways to think about God and the afterlife.

Through Dr. Mawson’s tour de force of a course, you will inspire the search for meaning in your own life.

Learn about downloadable programs.


  • Introduction and History I
  • History II
  • History III
  • Where We Are Now
  • Against Monism I
  • Against Monism II
  • Against Monism III
  • In Favor of Optimism I
  • In Favor of Optimism II
  • In Favor of Optimism III
  • In Favor of Optimism IV
  • In Favor of Optimism V and Conclusion

Dr. Tim Mawson, D.Phil., is an expert on the philosophy of religion and the Edgar Jones Fellow in Philosophy at St Peter’s College, the University of Oxford, where he is a member of both the Philosophy and Theology Faculties. He completed his undergraduate and graduate studies at Oxford, first at St Peter’s College and then at the Queen’s College. Dr. Mawson is the author of three books: Belief in God (Oxford University Press, 2005), Free Will: A Guide for the Perplexed (Continuum, 2011), and God and the Meanings of Life (Bloomsbury, 2016). He has also written numerous book chapters and articles in such journals as Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Think.

Praise for Dr. Tim Mawson

“Tim Mawson marries mastery of the meaning-of-life literature with a sober, sane, sensible approach to the question(s) and one of the best senses of humor in the philosophy profession.”

– Brian Leftlow, Nolloth Professor of the Philosophy of the Christian Religion, University of Oxford

“Tim Mawson is a distinguished analytic philosopher of religion, and his previous book on the meaning of life is an impressive contribution to the literature on this topic, and is notable for its energetic and meticulous argumentation.”

– John Cottingham, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Reading University and Honorary Fellow of St John’s College Oxford.


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