Morality, Metaphysics and the Meaning of Life: Philosophy through Film

YPHI0007: Morals, Metaphysics and the Meaning of Life: Philosophy through Film

Course Objectives: To learn about and analyze fundamental philosophical concerns via their portrayal in selected films. For each film, we will concentrate on one philosophical question, discuss the theorectical background of the issue and evaluate how the issue is handled in the film. In this way, students will learn to relate philosophical ideas to real life and to the hypothetical situations portrayed in films, developing their understanding of  the philosophical underpinnings of ethical and metaphysical debates, and enriching their enjoyment of movies.

Time and Place: Wednesdays 2:00-5:00, MW T1


Tutorial Group 10 that normally meets at 5:00 on Wednesday, will meet this week at 2:00 in the same place (MW T1), since there is no lecture this week.

There will be two make-up tutorials for the students of Tutorial Group 1, since the tutorial was cancelled this week because of the typhoon. The two make-up tutorials will be tomorrow, Thursday, at 4:00, and Friday at 1:00. Both will be held in MB 305. Tutorial Group 1 students are also welcome to attend tomorrow’s 2:00 tutorial instead, if they prefer.

Course Schedule: (provisional)

Lecture 1: Introduction

Lecture 2: The Matrix and Skepticism

Lecture 3: Quiz Show and Morality

Lecture 4: Thank You For Smoking and Paternalism vs. Human Rights

Lecture 5: Minority Report and Free Will, Moral Responsibility and the Justification of Punishment

Lecture 6: Bicentenial Man and Personhood

Lecture 7: The Prestige and Personal Identity

Lecture 8: Memento and the Extended Mind

Lecture 9: Kate and Leopold and Time Travel

Lecture 10: Groundhog Day and the Meaning of Life

Lecture 11: Life is Beautiful and Interpreting Reality


  • 20%      Class presentations
  • 30%      Tutorial participation
  •  50%      Portfolio

Lecture notes (powerpoint files):

Lecture 1

Lecture 2

Quotes from the Matrix

Matrix questions

Lecture 3

 Quiz Show Quotes

Quiz Show Questions

Lecture 4

 Thank You For Smoking Questions

Thank You For Smoking Quotes

Lecture 5

Quotes from Minority Report

Questions for Minority Report

Lecture 6 Questions for Bicentennial Man


Quotes from Bicentennial Man

Lecture 7

Questions for the Prestige

Quotes from the Prestige

Lecture 8

Questions for Memento

Quotes from Memento

Quotes from Kate and Leopold

Questions for Kate and Leopold

Lecture 9

Lecture 10

Quotes from Groundhog Day

Questions for Groundhog Day

Questions for Groundhog Day

Lecture 11

Quotes from Life is Beautiful

Questions for Life is Beautiful


44 Responses to “Morality, Metaphysics and the Meaning of Life: Philosophy through Film”

  1. Sophie Liu Says:

    Hi, I am a student of YPHI0007. I didn’t see the arrangement of tutorial. Where and when can I find it?

  2. Wei Fan Says:

    Hi, I want to know whether the tutorial on 1:00 pm today is cancelled. Thank you!

    • kellyinglis Says:

      Yes, the 1:00 tutorial is cancelled, but the 3:00 and 5:00 tutorials will be as scheduled. If you are free, you can attend the 3:00 or 5:00 tutorial today. Otherwise I will talk with you after lecture tomorrow about making up the tutorial.

  3. Alan Says:

    Sorry but I have accidentally missed the wednesday tutorial.
    May I join the one on Friday?

  4. Charles Au Yeung Says:

    Dear Dr Kelly Inglis,

    Due to the clash of the tutorial schedule with my class timetable, I was asked to send you my class timetable to redesign the tutorial schedule. However, I can’t find your email from the website. May I have your email address?

    Thank you for your attention.


  5. Eve Hocheng Says:

    Dear Dr. Kelly Inglis,

    Hello, my name is Eve Hocheng(uni no 2009802786), I have signed up for this course kind of late and I chose the group 3, but I don’t know if the tutorial was prosponed because of the typhoon, is there any possibilities for me to make up for the absent tutorial or is there another tutorial that I can attend to make up for this one?

    Deeply sorry for all the inconveniences caused by my incautious behaviour, and thank you very much for your generous information and kind consideration!

    Best regards

    Yours sincerely,
    Eve Hocheng

    • kellyinglis Says:

      Eve, Group 3 was not cancelled because of the typhoon. It would be better if you could sign up for Group 7, which is at the same time but on alternating weeks (i.e. a Category 2 group) (or, indeed, another Category 2 group).

  6. Ali Mohiuddin Ahmed Says:

    Dear Dr. Kelly,

    I do not know the timings and place of the tutorial groups. I need to see the timetable and sign up as soon as possible. Could you please help me with that??

    Best Regards,
    Ali Mohiuddin Ahmed
    UNo: 2009550278

  7. Eve Hocheng Says:

    Dear Dr. Kelly,

    Thank you very much! I’ve signed up for the upcoming subclasses, looking forward to th tutorials and classes!! =)

    Yours sincerely,
    Eve Hocheng

  8. John Lin Says:

    Dear Dr. Kelly,

    I have just finished writing about the Matrix.
    I can only write 1 and half pages, it that enough?
    Also what should I write inside it?
    some words from philosopher?
    daily problems which apply to the matrix?
    Or just write what even I think of?

    Best Regard,

    • kellyinglis Says:

      John, you should write 2-3 pages in answer to a question on the Matrix, primarily about your own thoughts in relation to the question. If, however, you find that you really cannot write 2 pages on one question, then you can write 1-2 pages on each of two questions.

  9. Andy Z Says:

    Professor, is your syllabus posted on this site? I’m an exchange student and needs the syllabus for course approval. If convienent, could you e-mail it to the address I provided? Thank you!

  10. Tse Ho Yin(2009147681) Says:

    I have missed my first tutorial, and I am in group 8. what shall I do ?

    • kellyinglis Says:

      Since you have missed all of the first round of tutorials, you can attend one Category I tutorial (i.e. this week) to make up for it, and then continue going to group 8 tutorials.

  11. POON Says:

    Morality, Metaphysics and the Meaning of Life: Philosophy through Film


    ” The MySignUp signup sheet you were looking for
    appears to be missing….. “

    • kellyinglis Says:

      I’m afraid that the signup board has disappeared (I didn’t realize before that ending the”sign up period” actually ended the sign up board altogether.) Why did you want to visit it?

  12. Eunice S Says:

    Dear Dr. Inglis,

    Hello! I am a student from group 9. I realized that my class schedule clashes with the tutorial time this thursday (5/11). May I attend group 8 tutorial, which is working on category 2, on 11/11 as make-up?

    Thank you very much.

    All the best,
    (uni no: 2008123092)

  13. chuwatim Says:

    I cannot download the questions of lecture 09 and 10, even the website itself cannot tell what format they are if u put the pointer over them. Maybe u should upload a new one.

    • kellyinglis Says:

      I think you were probably trying to download the questions at the same time as I was uploading some stuff. Why don’t you try again, and if you still have problems, let me know.

      • chuwatim Says:

        Still not okay. I can get the file but no softwares, including MC Word2003, can open it. It seems there are code interpretation problems between your file and my software. but there is no such problem for the file before Prestige.

        Are you using Word 2007?

      • chuwatim Says:

        I fix the problem now. The error is due to the conflict between false and true version of MC word, the files are fine.

  14. Tse Ho Yin Says:

    Dear Dr. Inglis,

    Hello! I am a student from group 8. I realized that I have to attend the Union Choir mini-concert this Wednesday (11/11). What class can I attend ?

    Thank you very much.

    All the best,
    (uni no: 2009147681)

  15. Daniel Says:

    Not quite Precrime, but still a step towards, no?

    Watch the video:

  16. Dr. Kelly Inglis « Kelly Inglis’s Weblog Says:

    […]… […]

  17. Michael Says:

    Dear Dr. Kelly Inglis,

    Since the font size varies, I want to know how many words are we supposed to write in 2-3 pages of each answer in the portfolio?

    Thank you!

  18. chan Says:

    I would like to ask what is the deadline of the porfolio. And how can I submit my work.

  19. Ali Mohiuddin Ahmed Says:

    Dear Dr. Kelly,

    I wasn’t able to attend the last tutorial class because i did not read the announcement. I had prepared my presentation and came to class at 5pm. Could you please hear out my presentation in your free time because this was an honest mistake and I worked really hard on the presentation. I’m sure you would understand.

    Best Regards
    Ali Mohiuddin Ahmed
    UID: 2009550278

  20. Chan Says:

    Dear Dr. Inglis,

    I am a student of YPHI0007. Is the deadline at 11:59pm of 3rd Dec, or at noon of 3rd Dec, or before 3rd Dec?

    Thank you very much for your attention!

  21. JJ Lau Says:

    Dear Dr. Inglis,

    I am a student of YPHI0007. I have sent the essays with a zip file to you through your yahoo e-mail. However, I do not know if I have sent it to you correctly.
    Can you please kindly check it?
    My e-mail used for sending the homework is
    There is an attached file on it.
    Name: Lau Wai Chung
    UID: 2009243069

  22. mi24cl3 Says:

    Dear Dr. Kelly Inglis,

    I find it brilliant that you have combined philosophy with cinema. I like to enjoy movies for more than their mere form. I’m really interested in your linking between philosophical concepts and the films. Is there any way to access a recorded lecture of yours ? I’d be glad to listen to it.

    Yours truly,
    Thanawat Bremard

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