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Psychology, Philosophy, Culture, History and Law

Introduction to Philosophy


Start date: 22nd Sep 2021

Time: 19:00 - 21:00

Cost: £95

Day: Wednesday

Duration: 10 weeks

Tutor: Murray Harper

Course code: AU21101

This course is suitable for beginners.  The course plan is as follows:

Week 1

What is knowledge? Philosophers have long considered this question. Is knowledge simply having a true belief? Is it more than that? This introductory session looks at the aims of philosophy – to reach knowledge of the truth – whilst also looking at some of the key debates in epistemology (the philosophy of knowledge).

Week 2

Ancient Greek Philosophy: Is it still relevant today?

This session will look at the philosophy of Plato, in particular his teaching about the “forms”. This will link into the topics covered in week 1.

Week 3

Ancient Greek Philosophy: Is it still relevant today?

This session will look at the ideas of Aristotle. It will consider his teachings of the four causes as well as his idea of there being a “Prime Mover”.

Week 4

The Existence of God: This session will consider some of the key arguments for God’s existence. It will consider how successful these arguments are and what weaknesses the arguments contain. It will look at Teleological Arguments and Ontological Arguments

Week 5

Descartes: Meditation 1. This session will look into some philosophical text. It will encourage students to read through Descartes’ Meditation 1. We will discuss the text, what Descartes set out to do and whether he was successful. We will also look into his Cogito (I think therefore I am) argument from meditation 2.

Week 6

The Mind/Body Problem: This session considers the philosophical problems with the relation between mind and body. Are we just all physical or do we have a separate mind and body? We will also consider a few philosophical ideas of the soul in this session.

Week 7

Ethics: What is it? Why is it important? This session will look at a key ethical theory; Utilitarianism. We will look at ethical dilemmas with this theory and three different versions of the theory put forward by various different philosophers. We will also consider whether it is a useable theory in real life situations.

Week 8

Ethics: What is Kantian Ethics? We will consider the main ethics of Immanuel Kant. This will consider his categorical imperative and his ideas about doing our duty.

Week 9

Freewill and Determinism: This session considers the ethical issues surrounding freewill. It considers what moral issues there are if our actions are determined and we will also discuss contemporary views about this issue.

Week 10

Aesthetics: This session will look into the philosophical problems that arise from aesthetics. What is art? When does something become art? Why is something that appears to be smears of paint on a canvass worth millions? We will look into different aesthetic theories and reach our own conclusions.

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Murray Harper

Murray has always been fascinated by the big questions in life and this has led to him completing two degrees in philosophy – both at undergraduate and postgraduate level. He is a full time teacher but finds time to read and explore both philosophical and ethical debate. Murray’s passion for the subject leads him to be an enthusiastic teacher.

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