Philosophy for Atheists is a course specially designed to meet the needs of atheists who are looking for secular, philosophical alternatives to religious thinking about the most fundamental questions. It is ideal for people who have deconverted from a theistic religion and want to both work out their own positive, secular, humanist worldview and answer philosophical challenges that atheists commonly face from theists. Philosophy for Atheists is essentially a hybrid between my topical introduction to philosophy course, my history of philosophy course, and my philosophy of religion course, tailored specifically to the interests and needs of atheists. Since each of these subjects is large enough to have its own individual full course, I select the material flexibly as we go, in response to student interests. Each week I rotate to another self-contained topic so students can join in at any time without worrying about having missed anything. 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. So over the course of any given 16 week run of sessions, as students rotate into the class and out at their own pace, I cover all the major topics of the course.
There are three constants to the course structure, no matter how the material varies. (1) We inevitably introduce a number major topics in philosophy (e.g., ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, political philosophy, etc.) and explore them in their own right to some significant extent, while making little or no reference to religion. These philosophical issues are completely capable of rational investigation without any consideration of religious authority, so that’s how we cover them. We look at what leading philosophers, both historical and contemporary, have had to say about the topics and discussing them in an open-ended way for ourselves. (2) Next, we apply the insights we generate about philosophical issues for their own sake to related questions in the philosophy of religion and to the debates about the existence of God. (3) We spend roughly a third of our sessions directly discussing an array of philosophy of religion issues, from the existence of God to the nature and value of religion itself to the best way to formulate an ideal of political secularism. Where appropriate we discuss counter-apologetics strategies as part of this. 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 for Atheists 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.
Effective October 9, new enrollments into classes are by subscription. Subscriptions cost $39.99/week and they grant student a 2.5 hour group class session each week. Subscriptions can be canceled at any time. For every three class sessions a student attends the student can get an absence refunded. There are also refunds in cases where I cancel class myself. Otherwise there are no refunds on subscriptions. Occasionally there are scholarships available so subscribe to the e-mails (see the top left of this page) even if you cannot yet afford the classes. All paying students are welcome to have their partner, roommate, friends, or others share their computer screen and participate in class with them. Guaranteed 1-on-1 class sessions are also available. They are typically 1 hour long and cost $39.99/hr. Write me at email@example.com to inquire about 1-on-1 classes. Use the drop down menus for a particular classes to subscribe to it. After feeling satisfied with a particular class, students are free to move to another class while continuing on the same subscription. Students are also welcome to switch to other running class times on weeks they can’t make the class or time that they’re specifically subscribed to.
Atheist students uninterested in religion, or who simply want to fill in their philosophical education and work out their philosophical views in a completely constructive way that does not spend significant time answering theism anymore, are recommended to take any of the following classes instead. The Topical Introduction to Philosophy is a traditional introductory alternative that significantly overlaps in topics with Philosophy for Atheists but stays focused on philosophy itself and is more likely to have non-atheists attending. History of Philosophy overlaps somewhat with Philosophy for Atheists and is about the history of philosophy in its own right, without tying it back at each stage to its relevance for the God debates. The Ethics class spends most of its time considering supernaturalistic ideas about morality as beneath consideration. And things are similar in Philosophy of Mind and Language and Social and Political Philosophy. Philosophy for Atheists, Philosophy of Religion (which overlaps substantially with Philosophy for Atheists), and Nietzsche are all for those atheists who are still interested in keeping an eye on religion and the God debates even as they go forward philosophically. Philosophy of Religion and Nietzsche are less tailored to atheists and more likely to have non-atheists attending.Click on the banners below to be sent to the topics, schedules, and registration for other classes.