While science and theology may remain at odds over what happens when we die, philosophers like Jeff Noonan are focused on getting the most out of life while they’re still here on earth.
“Socrates said that philosophy is preparation for death,” said Dr. Noonan, who will deliver a public lecture on the subject next week. “He didn’t mean that in a morbid way. He meant that through the process of reflection we hopefully live better.”
The head of the university’s Philosophy department, Noonan will deliver a talk on Jan. 30 in Alumni Hall’s McPherson Lounge called Atheism, Materialism and Love of Life. Part of the Humanities Research Group’s Martin Wesley lecture series, Noonan says the talk is a non-technical one he hopes will encourage members of the community to think about what he believes are “the most fundamentally important ideas that we all have to wrestle with as mortal human beings.”
“I want to try and present some fairly difficult ideas in a way that everyone can appreciate,” said Noonan, who will also appear on CJAM this afternoon to discuss some of the same subject matter. “I hope to get people to think about what they do while they’re here, rather than fear nothingness, or punishment, or whatever it is that people fear will happen after death.”
Noonan said the subject matter was partially inspired by a favourite quote from a character in Thomas Mann’s 1924 novel The Magic Mountain, who said, “We come out of the dark and we go into the dark again, and in between lies the experiences of our lives.”
“I think it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read,” said Noonan, who published a book last year called Materialistic Ethics and Life Value, which explores current patterns of global economic activity and provides a new way of understanding the universal conception of "the good life."
Noonan will appear today on Research Matters, a weekly talk show which focuses on the work of University of Windsor researchers and scholars and airs every Thursday at 4:30 p.m. on CJAM 99.1 FM.
His free talk on Jan. 30 will begin at 4 p.m. Members of the public are welcome to attend, and a reception will follow the lecture.