Introduction to Philosophy
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About this course

Philosophy is one of the oldest disciplines in the world, originating even before the well-known ancient Greek philosophers Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Nevertheless, Philosophy is related to many other areas of thought, such as Ethics, Religion and the natural sciences. Whether or not you have studied Philosophy before, you will be sure to find something of interest to you in this course on Philosophy. It is an introduction to a range of philosophical and ethical topics designed not only as an overview of the subject, but also as a jumping-off point for discussion and further exploration if you have studied Philosophy before. The course will comprise of ten topics which will be broken down into further areas. Activities will include, among other things, discussion, reading passages of Philosophy together, presentations, linking Philosophy to current affairs, and thought-experiments.

What will I learn?

On completion, you should be able to:

  • Discuss and think about a range of philosophical topics
  • Be more aware of the history of Philosophy
  • Understand some key philosophical terminology

The following topics will be covered during the course:

Week 1. The History of Philosophy
What is Philosophy? A brief history of Philosophy; historical debates in Philosophy

Week 2. Ancient Philosophy
Including, ‘Plato’s cave’ and Aristotle’s metaphysics, amongst other topics.

Week 3. Early Modern Philosophy
Including the issue of whether the mind is separate from the body?- Descartes’ Meditations

Week 4. Philosophy of Religion 1
Can we use philosophical arguments to prove God’s existence?

Week 5. Philosophy of Religion 2
Why would an all-powerful, loving God allow evil and suffering?

Week 6. Ethics 1
Utilitarianism: creating the ‘greatest happiness for the greatest number of people.’

Week 7. Ethics 2
Is it right to do ‘duty for duty’s sake’? Kant’s ethics.

Week 8. To what extent am I free?
Clarence Darrow, the ‘warrior gene,’ and more besides.

Week 9. The Philosophy of Science
Science versus Religion; Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn.

Week 10. Philosophy today
Are there no facts, only interpretations? Nietzsche, Vattimo and postmodernism. Philosophy and the internet.

Entry requirements

There are no entry requirements associated with this course.

Study, assessment and qualifications

Assessment is informal, based on your personal targets and the learning outcomes and will be undertaken regularly with you by the course tutor.

Additional costs and information

There are no additional course costs.

You should bring with you: a pen and a willingness to discuss ideas!

What could I do next?

You can enrol on any other courses offered in the leisure programme, full details of which can be found in the College's directory of Part Time Courses.