PHIL 480

4th Philosophy Seminar in Athens - The End of the World and Being Human: Irony and Radical Hope.

Major Discipline(s):
Summer Session I (May 25 - June 20, 2020)
The distinguished guest is Professor Jonathan Lear, John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago

The instructor of the seminars, Dr. Evgenia Mylonaki, has studied practical philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, is an AAUW, DAAD, Andrew Mellon alumna, and currently holds a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Athens. Her work on action, moral perception, practical reasoning and knowledge, and instrumental rationality has appeared in the European Journal of Philosophy, The Philosophical Quarterly and is forthcoming in the Journal of Value Inquiry and Oxford Bibliographies. She is currently editing a volume of essays (with Matthew Boyle, University of Chicago) in honor of John McDowell (University of Pittsburgh) for Harvard University Press.

We live with the knowledge that our lives and the lives of those we love come to an end. We also know that whole ways of life, cultural traditions, civilisations and historical epochs come to an end. Recently, the possibility that human life itself may come to an end has been figuring very heavily in discussions in the public domain.  This condition raises a number of questions: What are the psychological challenges of living with this knowledge? What does the end - in the sense of loss and catastrophe - of our life, our ways of life and, finally, life itself has to do with the end - in the sense of purpose and meaning - of human life? What are the difficulties in conceiving the various senses in which our life may come to an end? What does this all show about the nature of our mindedness and the nature of our being? What - if any- is the right way to respond to this reality and how - if at all - can we live well in the face of this reality?

In this seminar we will study how Jonathan Lear's work raises and treats these questions by looking at a few of his seminal works on conceptual anxiety, mourning, irony and radical hope. In the first part of the seminar we will lay the groundwork for the study of his work by reading Plato, Aristotle and Kierkegaard but also Freud, and in the second part of the seminar we will read several works by Jonathan Lear together with the philosopher.


Course Details


This course requires a minimum enrollment of 6, with a maximum enrollment of 12.

CYA reserves the right to cancel any course that fails to achieve minimum enrollment by April 1.  Students are advised not to purchase non-refundable airline tickets before early April.


60 contact hours

Fee Discounts:

•  $100 per course for students who submit their application with full payment postmarked on or before March 1.
•  $100 per course for students who enroll and participate in two CYA summer  courses.
•  $250 per course for students from public universities.
•  $100 per course for CYA semester students who enroll in a summer course.

Essential Information

The course starts in Athens on Monday, May 25 and ends in Athens on Saturday, June 20.  Transportation for day excursions is included in the course fee.

Enrolled students will have access to detailed information prior to departure that will include directions to the Academic Center and other practical information about residing in Athens. CYA recommends the following websites for general information about Athens and Greece: and


Students are housed within walking distance of the CYA Academic Center in either CYA student apartments located in the Pangrati neighborhood of central Athens or in hotel accommodations arranged by CYA. CYA apartments are simply furnished and equipped with a full kitchen and air-conditioned bedrooms; towels, linens and housekeeping service will be provided. Hotel accommodations in Athens will be in simple 2- or 3-star hotels, double- or triple-occupancy, with air-conditioned rooms.


The CYA Academic Center is located next to the Athens Marble Stadium and houses classrooms, the library, the student lounge and cafeteria, computer facilities (including wireless access for those students who choose to bring laptop computers), laundry facilities, and administrative offices. The Academic Center is accessible Monday-Thursday 9:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m., Friday 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., and Sunday 5:00-9:00 p.m..


A full mid-day meal will be served weekdays in the CYA cafeteria between the hours of 12:00-3:00 p.m. A welcome and a farewell dinner are also included in the course fee.

Daily Schedule

Arrival: Monday, May 25
9:00 a.m.: Check-in begins at the CYA Academic Center. Pick up information folder from Student Affairs and course materials from the Librarian.  Transport to CYA apartments or to CYA-arranged hotel accommodations.

6:00 p.m.: Orientation session at the Academic Center followed by an open house offering students the opportunity to meet their Professor and fellow students.

Class begins: Tuesday, May 26
Last Day of Class:  Friday, June 19
Final Examination
Farewell dinner

Departure:  Saturday, June 20
Student housing available until 12:00 noon.