You updated your password.

Reset Password

Enter the email address you used to create your account. We will email you instructions on how to reset your password.

Forgot Your Email Address? Contact Us

Reset Your Password


Questions of Value

This 24-lecture series with Professor Patrick Grim is for anyone who wants to fine-tune their ability to see how deeper questions of ethics and values apply to the choices that make up their lives.
Questions of Value is rated 4.1 out of 5 by 95.
  • y_2024, m_7, d_17, h_6
  • bvseo_bulk, prod_bvrr, vn_bulk_3.0.42
  • cp_1, bvpage1
  • co_hasreviews, tv_4, tr_91
  • loc_en_CA, sid_4433, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_teachco
  • bvseo_sdk, p_sdk, 3.2.1
  • CLOUD, getAggregateRating, 59.21ms
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The best philosophy course so far The best philosophy course so far from TTC!! I would recommend to anyone with an open and analytical mind
Date published: 2024-04-03
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Confusing Course Structure I had a hard time following the flow of these lectures. At the outset, Dr. Grim claimed that the course would be divided into four overlapping strands: (1) The basic nature of value; (2) Challenges to the very concept of value (such as subjectivity, free will, and determinism); (3) Specific issues such as law and economics; and (4) Choice of value, or what makes a good life? In Lectures 2-23, he does not refer to these strands explicitly. Instead, he organizes the course by topics including relativism, justice, suicide, and the death penalty. {Oddly, he did not address abortion, which, it seems to me, would be an excellent illustration of the formulation and clash of *values*.} Finally, in Lecture 24, he resurrects the four strands and explains why he thinks he covered those strands. I’m sorry to say that I didn’t follow his strands. It should be noted that this course is largely limited to Western secular philosophy. It does not interact significantly with Eastern philosophies such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, or Daoism nor does it address African belief systems. It seems important to Dr. Grim to debunk Christianity at least insofar as it affects life choices. In Lecture 6, he dismisses the ability of theocracies such as Christianity, Islam, or Judaism to determine values by which we can live. In Lecture 16, he concludes that “evil remains an insurmountable problem for the belief that the universe is somehow governed by an omnipotent, omniscient, and beneficent Creator.” On several occasions, he grossly misrepresents Christianity, much to my disappointment. (For example, he asserts that Christianity is all about earning heaven as a reward. This totally ignores the centrality of divine forgiveness.) Unfortunately, this puts him in the position of teaching something that he clearly does not understand. I found Dr. Grim to be easy to listen to as a lecturer but I found his course organization to be confusing. Consequently, I cannot recommend this course. The course guide is about average by The Great Courses (TGC) standards. It has less than 4 pages per lecture, which is little more than half of TGC standard. However, it is written clearly in paragraph format as opposed to outline format or bullet points. It has few useful graphics. It has useful appendices such as a timeline, an extensive glossary, and biographical notes as well as a bibliography. I used the audio streaming version. There is a DVD version but I doubt that it would add anything to the audio version. The course was published in 2005.
Date published: 2023-08-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I admired the exhaustive scope of the scholarship presented in these lectures, and found them well worth while, but admit that I had some difficulty with the professor's presentation. It was sometimes repetitive, and he employs a technique of vocally underlining certain points he wishes to emphasize that I found grating. Attitudes toward style are very subjective though, and may reflect my own shortcomings. I recommend this course primarily as a spur to forming your own perspectives on questions of value, and as an introduction to careful thought.
Date published: 2023-03-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Valuable I have reviewed the DVD for or five times. I learn more every time I watch it. Beware though that this is an older DVD. Very sparse on graphics and captions. Prerequisite: knowledge of general philosophy and ethics in particular.
Date published: 2022-09-23
Rated 2 out of 5 by from boring boring boring i guess unless you just love philosophy, this has to rank as among the most boring courses offered. I got thru a few lectures before i had to give up.
Date published: 2022-05-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This course is a gem. In addition to providing useful information on the forming, maintaining, and revising of values, Dr. Grim causes thoughtful consideration of values in and of themselves
Date published: 2022-03-30
Rated 2 out of 5 by from OK Very verbose and repetitive. It was mostly about ethics, not values. Some very questionable reasoning in places. However, he got me thinking and I guess that’s what philosophy is about. Thank you
Date published: 2020-12-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from This course is provocative and enlightening. Professor Grim presented a great deal of illuminating discussion on various aspects of axiology, which is the study of what we value in life. On the one hand, it does not seem that there can be any more important question than what is a good life. But, it seems that with every philosophy course I study, I end up feeling like I am just 5 or 10 IQ points short of being able to really grasp what is being said. I think he is very logical, erudite and personable. I found the discussions on capital punishment, and the financial value attached to a human life to have been compelling and very profitable to me, personally. There were times, particularly in the later lectures, when the topics were a bit less specific, that i found it hard to follow his rather convoluted arguments. But I suspect that this is really a reflection of my own shortcomings or lack of aptitude for the field. I certainly am glad to have studied this course and am richer for it.
Date published: 2020-08-09
  • y_2024, m_7, d_17, h_6
  • bvseo_bulk, prod_bvrr, vn_bulk_3.0.42
  • cp_1, bvpage1
  • co_hasreviews, tv_4, tr_91
  • loc_en_CA, sid_4433, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_teachco
  • bvseo_sdk, p_sdk, 3.2.1
  • CLOUD, getReviews, 8.55ms


In presenting this philosophical examination of the range of decisions we all encounter as we live our lives


Patrick Grim

In the end, imagining a world of fact without value is quite nearly impossible for creatures like us. Our lives are woven in terms of the things we value.


State University of New York, Stony Brook

Dr. Patrick Grim is Distinguished Teaching Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He graduated with highest honors in anthropology and philosophy from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He was named a Fulbright Fellow to the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, from which he earned his B.Phil. He earned his Ph.D. from Boston University. Professor Grim is the recipient of several honors and awards. In addition to being named SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor, Dr. Grim has been awarded the President and Chancellor's awards for excellence in teaching and was elected to the Academy of Teachers and Scholars. The Weinberg Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan in 2006, Professor Grim has also held visiting fellowships at the Center for Complex Systems at Michigan and at the Center for Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh. Professor Grim, author of The Incomplete Universe: Totality, Knowledge, and Truth; coauthor of The Philosophical Computer: Exploratory Essays in Philosophical Computer Modeling; and editor of the forthcoming Mind and Consciousness: 5 Questions, is widely published in scholarly journals. He is the founder and coeditor of 25 volumes of The Philosopher's Annual, an anthology of the best articles published in philosophy each year.

By This Professor

Mind-Body Philosophy
The Philosopher's Toolkit: How to Be the Most Rational Person in Any Room
Questions of Value

01: Questions of Value

This lecture explains the basic structure of the course and its approaches to ethical, aesthetic, pragmatic, religious, and cultural values.

33 min
Facts and Values

02: Facts and Values

This lecture focuses on the fundamental contrast between questions of value and questions of fact, drawing from sources both literary and philosophical, including Kierkegaard, Hume, Searle, and Jose Luis Borges.

30 min
Lives to Envy, Lives to Admire

03: Lives to Envy, Lives to Admire

"What makes a life a good life?" is a question too rarely asked. This lecture emphasizes that question against the background of Plato's "Republic," Plato's "Philebus," and Aristotle's "Nicomachean Ethics," examining the basic tension that separates two very different approaches to the answer.

31 min
Foundations of Ethics—Theories of the Good

04: Foundations of Ethics—Theories of the Good

Ethical evaluation is more complicated than simple judgments of "right" and "wrong." This lecture explores ethical theories based on the concept of the good as opposed to the right, emphasizing the approach set forth by Utilitarian philosophers like Bentham, Mill, and Moore.

30 min
Foundations of Ethics—Theories of the Right

05: Foundations of Ethics—Theories of the Right

Continuing the examination of ethical evaluation begun in Lecture 4, this lecture introduces the idea of a pure right-based theory, exemplified by the work of Immanuel Kant.

31 min
Thoughts on Religion and Values

06: Thoughts on Religion and Values

This lecture explains why most contemporary philosophers think that values not only "can" be talked about independently of religion, but "should" be, examining an argument from Plato's "Euthyphro" that remains forceful against any Divine Command theory of ethics.

31 min
Life’s Priorities

07: Life’s Priorities

This lecture introduces a simple method for examining one's own priorities in life, as well as drawing upon both Plato's "Philebus" and Aristotle's "Nicomachean Ethics" to enrich that examination.

30 min
The Cash Value of a Life

08: The Cash Value of a Life

How much is a human life really worth? This lecture explores some of the abstract questions raised by the Ford Pinto case and then moves on to examine whether there are things worth dying for.

31 min
How Do We Know Right from Wrong?

09: How Do We Know Right from Wrong?

This lecture examines a range of positions in the attempt to construct a better theory of ethical knowledge, including the Skeptic's gambit, A. J. Ayer's theory of Emotivism, and Plato's view of ethical perception.

32 min
Cultures and Values—Questions of Relativism

10: Cultures and Values—Questions of Relativism

This lecture begins a two-lecture examination of cultures and values by asking whether values are culturally relative and introducing three theories of relativism: descriptive, ethical, and prescriptive.

30 min
Cultures and Values—Hopi, Navajo, and Ik

11: Cultures and Values—Hopi, Navajo, and Ik

Do different cultures have fundamentally different ethical values? This lecture examines three famous anthropological studies in trying to arrive at an answer.

31 min
Evolution, Ethics, and Game Theory

12: Evolution, Ethics, and Game Theory

This lecture examines two areas of research that promise us a better understanding of social ethics: sociobiology, introduced by E. O. Wilson and further developed by Richard Dawkins, and game theory, as it is applied to questions of social dynamics.

31 min
The Objective Side of Value

13: The Objective Side of Value

Are values purely a matter of subjectivity, or is there an objective side to value? Do subjective states give the whole story about value, or is there something important beyond them? A provocative "thought experiment" is but one of the ways this lecture looks for answers.

31 min
Better Off Dead

14: Better Off Dead

Can someone really be "better off dead?" Ideas drawn from Epicurus and Lucretius began our examination, which concludes with a provocative consideration of the rationality of suicide.

31 min
A Picture of Justice

15: A Picture of Justice

What, exactly, is "justice?" This lecture draws on philosophers like Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Rawls, and Nozick in the attempt to paint a picture of what justice really demands; what a truly just society would have to be like.

29 min
Life’s Horrors

16: Life’s Horrors

Life is filled with many arbitrary and freakish horrors, including natural evils like earthquakes, floods, and disease and man-made evils like rape, slaughter, torture, and war. This lecture examines the different lessons drawn from them by two different traditions - the religious and the anti-religious.

31 min
A Genealogy of My Morals

17: A Genealogy of My Morals

Why do we hold the ethical positions that we do? Knowledge of the history of our ethical conceptions can make us rethink and reevaluate our own moral views and may thereby lead us to change them.

32 min
Theories of Punishment

18: Theories of Punishment

What justification is there for the death penalty? What justification is there for punishment in general? This lecture focuses on the ethical issues that lie beneath the legal controversies, examining two competing ideas regarding the justification of punishment: retributive theory and deterrence theory.

29 min
Choice and Chance

19: Choice and Chance

Two people may have precisely the same motives and intentions: to kill someone. One succeeds and is found guilty of murder. The other misses the targeted victim or has a gun that misfires and is found guilty only of attempted murder. Their sentences end up being very different. Can that be just? We examine the contemporary debate over the role of "moral luck."

30 min
Free Will and Determinism

20: Free Will and Determinism

Everything we do seems to be determined by two factors: (1) our biological makeup, for which we are not responsible, and (2) our environment, for which we are not responsible. How then can we be held responsible for the things we do?

31 min
Images of Immortality

21: Images of Immortality

Would you like to be immortal? If so, under what conditions? In examining the question, this lecture draws on sources as diverse as novelists Charles Dickens, Peter S. Beagle, and Anne Rice, and philosophers Derek Parfit and Bernard Williams.

31 min
Ethical Knowledge, Rationality, and Rules

22: Ethical Knowledge, Rationality, and Rules

Is ethics essentially a matter of rules, or is it something else? If there are reasons why one consideration outweighs another, can those be made explicit? Our search for answers involves Piaget, Kohlberg, Ross, Aristotle, and Nagel, as well as analogies from linguistics and computer science.

30 min
Moralities in Conflict and in Change

23: Moralities in Conflict and in Change

If two moral worldviews are in conflict, how is any resolution between them possible? This lecture examines the question using John Ford's classic western, "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance," and also looks at comparisons between changes in scientific and moral worldviews.

31 min
Summing Up

24: Summing Up

This lecture summarizes the course in terms of overarching themes, sources, philosophical methodologies and techniques, and conclusions about values and their roles in our lives.

30 min