This course will introduce you to some of the main areas of research in contemporary philosophy. Each module a different philosopher will talk you through some of the most important questions and issues in their area of expertise. We’ll begin by trying to understand what philosophy is – what are its characteristic aims and methods, and how does it differ from other subjects? Then we’ll spend the rest of the course gaining an introductory overview of several different areas of philosophy.
Topics you’ll learn about will include:
Epistemology, where we’ll consider what our knowledge of the world and ourselves consists in, and how we come to have it;
Philosophy of science, where we’ll investigate foundational conceptual issues in scientific research and practice;
Philosophy of Mind, where we’ll ask questions about what it means for something to have a mind, and how minds should be understood and explained;
Political Philosophy, where we'll investigate whether we have an obligation to obey the law;
Moral Philosophy, where we’ll attempt to understand the nature of our moral judgements and reactions – whether they aim at some objective moral truth, or are mere personal or cultural preferences, and;
Metaphysics, where we’ll think through some fundamental conceptual questions about free will and the nature of reality.
The development of this MOOC has been led by the University of Edinburgh's Eidyn research centre.
To accompany 'Introduction to Philosophy', we are pleased to announce a tie-in book from Routledge entitled 'Philosophy for Everyone'. This course companion to the 'Introduction to Philosophy' course was written by the Edinburgh Philosophy team expressly with the needs of MOOC students in mind. 'Philosophy for Everyone' contains clear and user-friendly chapters, chapter summaries, glossary, study questions, suggestions for further reading and guides to online resources. Please click "Start Here" and navigate to the "Optional Reading" page for more information.
Dave Ward, Duncan Pritchard, Michela Massimi, Suilin Lavelle, Matthew Chrisman, Allan Hazlett and Alasdair Richmond
Anonymouscompleted this course, spending 6 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very easy.
This a beginner-friendly course that introduces you to Philosophy and it's sub-disciplines. The lectures are mostly good and interested students can find further links to go into details of the topic being taught.
The quizzes were extremely easy and this is something that I didn't like. I wouldn't say that you would be spending your time productively by attempting the quizzes. However, the peer-assessments were better and it will give you an opportunity to test yourself.
Overall, I'd recommend this course to an absolute beginner and expect him or her to be familiar with Philosophy after he or she has completed the course.
Anonymouscompleted this course, spending 15 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
In my opinion, this MOOC offers a decent introduction to Philosophy for an absolute beginner. This MOOC is good for an absolute beginner who wants to get acquainted with Philosophy but may be a bit easy for an enthusiast.
The contents of the MOOC lack detail for an enthusiast but I found the suggested links to the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy and the Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy to make up for the lack of detail in the MOOC.
Go for this MOOC if you want an easy and interesting introduction to Philosophy.
It's a very easy course. It touches an assortment of topics followed up with some easy quizzes. Don't expect to get a complete history or overview. No in depth coverage of a certain philosopher or idea. I guess this course is meant to to wet your appetite for philosophy.
The value of this course is in the proposed reading materials and the rather active fora. It's nice to discuss the philosophy topics on there with people who to a certain degree share the same a vocabulary given by the course.
Great for beginners. Maybe too light or boring for people familiar with the subjects discussed.
Johncompleted this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
This is a great beginning course in philosophy. It was easy enough for anyone to understand and to become interested enough to want to study more philosophy. I especially like the last lecture on the logical aspects of time travel into the past. This would interest not only someone interested in philosophy or time travel, but also to the writer doing a science fiction novel.
I liked that the lectures were given by different professors all lecturing in their areas of specialization. The course seemed a little too easy, with the only requirement for a statement of accomplishment being passing each of the weekly quizzes. I really liked the final section on time travel.
Abhijeetcompleted this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
A nice overview of the various schools of thought out there. The course doesn't go into too much depth, but it is structured in a way that makes sense - introducing a point of view and then offering counterarguments to that view. It certainly made me take more of an interest in philosophy. The assignments are not deep, however, and merely make you recall the course content.
Michael is taking this course right now, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
Insightful way of looking a philosophy. I never saw philosophy as a continuous activity which is seen as the best way of thinking about something. Having an overall vision of what you are thinking about is also necessary.