*Special New Fall 2015 History of Philosophy class specifically devoted to 20th Century Philosophy, meeting Tuesdays 4pm-6pm ET, beginning September 8, 2015
*Free trial for brand new students! No formal enrollment necessary to attend the first week as a first time attendee in my classes. To sign up for your first appearance in the class, simply write me at email@example.com to express your intent to come and I’ll tell you how to join us.
*If you need another class time because this time or subtopic does not meet your needs, don’t hesitate to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Below find class descriptions, first of the 20th Century Philosophy class and then the general History of Philosophy class:
20th Century Philosophy: While the Western philosophical tradition is centuries old and many historical philosophers have profoundly influential legacies that endure until today, during the first half of the 20th Century philosophy underwent a massive reboot as epoch making philosophers like Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Moore, Quine, Kripke, Husserl, and Heidegger led major intellectual revolutions that have had far reaching implications for contemporary thought. In this class, we’ll focus week by week on understanding the seminal contributions of the philosophical giants of the 20th Century and the numerous intellectual movements, from existentialism to analytic philosophy to feminism to logical positivism to critical theory to postmodernism, that have shaped the contemporary mind.
History of Philosophy: This 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 week to week.
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). This course has some significant overlaps with Philosophy for Atheists but is designed to be complementary to (rather than redundant with) all the other classes.
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 about me, see this page.
Official enrollments into classes are by subscription costing $39.99/week and they grant a student a weekly 2 hour live and interactive group class session, led by me directly. I understand that sometimes students are busy and can’t make it every week. My motto is “the year is long”, we have plenty of time to do philosophy when you are available. I occasionally have to cancel class myself and will also refund you in those cases. All your absences and canceled class sessions are automatically refunded, no questions asked, so you wind up paying only for sessions that I actually hold and that you actually attend. And you can automatically self-cancel your subscription completely at any time, using Paypal (or ask me to cancel it for you). There is no outside reading or writing required. I take it as my responsibility to catch students up to speed on the ideas we’re covering so that students are able to fully engage with the concepts for themselves without independent research. Sometimes we will read aloud, explicate, and criticize portions of books and articles together to help us orient our discussion more concretely. Students interested in outside reading will be provided with suggestions upon request. But I find that these classes work best (and students attend most frequently) when they fit into students’ otherwise busy schedule as a once weekly source of rest, intellectual reinvigoration, and mentally stimulating social interaction, rather than as a source of work throughout the week.
Guaranteed 1-on-1 class sessions are also available. They are typically 1 hour long (but we can work out longer sessions if you prefer) and cost $39.99/hr. Write me at email@example.com to inquire about 1-on-1 classes or to ask me about possible changes to the group class schedules to accommodate you. I am flexible.
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