PH1102E offers an opportunity to grapple with some of the most enduring challenges to human thought. Our starting point is a conception of ourselves as free and conscious beings equipped with bodies that allow us to observe and explore a familiar external world. Successive lectures investigate alternative conceptions of the human condition, such as ones in which we are unfree, or non-spirituous, or inhabit a world whose fundamental nature is hidden from our view. Different conceptions bear differently on the further question of what we should value and why. Discussion is both argument-driven and historically informed.