What is Philosophy?

This class has passed
This class has passed

What’s it all about?

If you’ve ever thought philosophy sounds interesting, but are not sure where to begin, this class is for you. We’ll look at who does philosophy and why, and see how philosophers have tackled some of the big questions about truth, knowledge, beauty, morality, politics, God, justice, and more.

We’ll assume no prior knowledge, so everyone can get involved as we try to offer a way in to what can sometimes seem a complex and intimidating field.

What will we cover?

The way we think about the world affects the world we live in. That’s why philosophy is for everyone, not just students at university. For millennia human beings have asked the questions philosophers are still asking today. Most of the answers have been controversial – in fact, philosophers don’t even agree among themselves as to what philosophy actually is! This can make the subject challenging, sometimes frustrating, but ultimately very exciting. Philosophy can sometimes seem like a tangled thicket with no way in for the uninitiated. That’s what this class is all about.

In the class we’ll talk about what philosophy might be and why it’s important. We’ll take a whirlwind tour through the history of the subject, and see how some of the great thinkers have tackled some of the big questions. We’ll take our own look at some of these questions, and think about how they might be approached. We’ll see how philosophical thinking lies behind much of our current culture, and is tangled up with the issues society is dealing with today. Finally, we’ll look at what it’s like to study philosophy at a university, and other ways the subject can be done through reading, podcasts, and more.

Who will be teaching?

Daniel Nellor has been interested in philosophy since childhood, and has been studying it formally for almost ten years. He is currently working towards a PhD in the areas of moral and political philosophy. He has worked in the fields of welfare and politics, and is interested in how philosophy lies behind much of what we do, both as individuals and as a community.