History of Philosophy


Online History of Philosophy Class Dr Daniel Fincke


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My History of Philosophy class introduces students to the story of Western philosophy all the way from the pre-Socratic philosophers to the 20th Century. In this course I chronologically explain the major ideas and relevance of the major philosophical schools and figures from each major period in the history of Western Philosophy, overviewing an entire period or tradition each week. While there is ample room for students to discuss their philosophical responses to the ideas being covered, this is generally the class I teach which is heaviest on lecture time as there is a great quantity of detailed material to explain in a short period of time.

We overview Ancient Greek and Hellenistic Philosophy (the Pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, the Cynics, the Epicureans), Medieval Philosophy (Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, and the Scholastics), Modern Philosophy (the Rationalists, Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz, and the Empiricists Locke, Berkeley, and Hume), Kant, 19th Century German Idealists (Fichte and Hegel) and the 19th Century European proto-existentialist reactions against them (Marx, Feuerbach, Kierkegaard, Dostoyevsky, and Nietzsche).

Then finally we address the diverse explosion of movements in 20th Century Philosophy. Students are given a familiarizing overview of the rise of Analytic Philosophy (Russell, Wittgenstein, Frege, Logical Positivism, Ordinary Language Philosophy, Modal Logic, and the division of philosophy into new subfields like Metaethics, Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Science, etc.), Pragmatism (Peirce, James, Dewey, Rorty), Process Philosophy (Whitehead), Phenomenology (Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Levinas), Existentialism (Sartre, Camus, Buber, Barth), Structuralism (Saussure and Lacan), Hermeneutics (Gadamer), Feminism (de Beauvoir, Irigaray), Postmodernism (Derrida’s Deconstruction and Foucault’s Post-Structuralism), and Post-World War II Political Philosophy (Rawls, Nozick, Walzer, Arendt).

Each week I rotate to another self-contained topic so students can join in at any time without worrying about not understanding. While students can keep attending as long as they want and there will always be fresh lectures, most students take about 16 weeks of a given class before moving on to another. But over the course of a year, a student can expect to see the full sweep of the history of Western philosophy. Even if a student joins a class already in progress, he or she can simply stick with it until it eventually loops around to the beginning again, in order round out his or her understanding.

There is no university credit for attending these class sessions. For more details on how my classes work in general, please see the FAQ. For more about me, see this page.

Use the drop down menu below to access the times for the Philosophy of History classes and to purchase a subscription to attend the class weekly. You can join the class starting any week and at any point that you are satisfied you have gotten enough out of this class you can transfer your subscription to another class from thereon out.


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You can cancel your subscription at any time. There are no refunds except for weeks when I cancel class. Whenever you are absent from class you can attend another class instead that week or you will be entitled to make up sessions in the future, even after you have canceled your subscription (if need be).

If you don’t see a time that fits your needs or if you have any more questions feel free to e-mail me at dan.fincke@gmail.com. If you would like to schedule a 1 hour long 1-on-1 class session with me (or regular such sessions), e-mail me and we can make an appointment.

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