Life, Meaning and Morality: Christopher Hamilton

Nietzsche, God and the Search for Meaning

Christopher Hamilton

If 'God is dead', what place does meaning and morality have in our lives? KCL philosopher and author of Living Philosophy Christopher Hamilton examines the perplexities of experience.

  • Christopher Hamilton Cropped
    Christopher Hamilton

    Reader in Philosophy at KCL and author of Living Philosophy


About the Course

‘God is dead’ says Nietzsche, ‘and we have killed him.’ Whether we believe in the mysteries of religion or not, we all find ourselves in the same predicament; the world itself will no longer accommodate the explanations we once had for our unhappiness, dissatisfaction, or guilt. We are no longer ‘at home’in the world.

From this pessimistic beginning, Christopher Hamilton takes a critical look at Christianity and Nietzsche alike to look at why we find ourselves in this predicament, returning to the ancient question of what gives us meaning, and ultimately arriving at a reading of Nietzsche’s philosophy that aims to affirm a godless life.

In this course, you will learn:

  • Why Nietzsche believed all philosophy had previously been misguided.
  • How Nietzsche was influenced by Wagner and Schopenhaeur.
  • Why Nietzsche recognised suffering as the fundamental truth of existence.
  • The story and meaning of the ‘slave revolt’ in morality’.
  • Whether Christian doctrine truly aspires to the ‘Christ-like life’.
  • How Christianity aims to provide a moral explanation for our lives.
  • Why Nietzsche rejects this explanation for an aesthetic one.
  • Why man is an ‘ontological misfit’
  • How you can affirm your existence.


About the Instructor

  • Christopher Hamilton

    Christopher Hamilton is Senior Lecturer in the Philosophy of Religion at King’s College, London, where he teaches philosophy, literature and film. A member of the Theology & Religious Studies, he specialises in the work of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, with focus on the relationship between moral, religious and aesthetic value.

Course Syllabus

  • Part One: Recovering Wonder
    Why did Nietzche announce the death of God? Hamilton reclaims meaning and purpose.
  • Part Two: Virtues, Happiness and Morality
    Is the world fundamentally indifferent? How can we make sense of morality and lead better lives?

Suggested Further Readings

A selection of further readings has been suggested by Hamilton as part of this course.

Explore Further

Our editors have brought together a range of content from across which explore the ideas in this course.