Hello and welcome to our philosophy course, Welcome to Philosophy. For five weeks, will be exploring topics such as the relationships between our body and mind, whether we have free will, how to live a good life, questioning right and wrong, and putting these ideas to the test. This course provides a brief introduction to some of the biggest questions in philosophy and offers the opportunity to discuss your responses to them and to listen to other people’s ideas.
Our Online Classroom is a space for you to look over the slideshows for each session, along with a few extra materials for you to look at if would like a look ahead at what’s to come, or to look back on if you enjoyed a session and want to find out more. Everything on here is entirely optional, feel free to dip in and out of everything as you choose. We will let you know if we upload any new materials whilst the course is running.
Session 1 – The Mind-Body Problem
This week, we will look at the relationship between our mind and body. Here are the session slides, as well a few extra resources about the mind-body problem. These materials are pitched at different levels of understanding, so some may stretch you more than others.
BBC Radio 4: In Our Time – The Mind-Body Problem (opens in iPlayer)
Where Does Your Mind Reside? (opens in YouTube)
What’s Really at Stake in the Mind-Body Debate? (blog post)
Session 2 – Ancient Philosophers
Plato and Aristotle are two of the most well-known philosophers in the history of philosophy. Even though they were doing philosophy whilst living in ancient Greece, a lot of what they said relates to discussions in philosophy today. Here you’ll find the slides for the session as well as some extra materials on the ancient philosophers.
Plato and Aristotle (opens in YouTube)
Plato’s Allegory of the Cave (opens in YouTube)
Plato’s Theory of Forms (magazine article)
Introduction to Aristotle and the Four Causes (blog post)
Session 3 – Free Will and Determinism
Do we have freewill, or is everything in the world predetermined? Here are the slides for this week’s session and some related links. The final video is not strictly philosophy but deals with the issue of being overwhelmed by choice, something many of us relate to.
Free Will and Determinism (opens in YouTube)
Free Will: Perspectives from Neuroscience (blog post)
Session 4 – Ethics
This week, we will be questioning ideas behind what are right and wrong actions. Here are the slides for this session and an extra material on each of the three most central ethical theories in philosophy. We hope you enjoy them.
Utilitarianism (blog post)
Virtue Ethics (opens in BBC)
Kantian Ethics (blog post)
Session 5 – Thought Experiments
The slides for this session will be uploaded soon. Feel free to view our extra materials for this week.
Wittgenstein’s Beetle in a Box Analogy (opens in YouTube)
The Prisoner’s Dilemma (internet article)
Interested in Exploring Philosophy Further?
We sincerely hope you enjoy doing philosophy with Converge and that the course gives you some food for thought. If you want to continue exploring the ideas we’ve covered, we recommend looking at the following resources:
- A Little History of Philosophy by Nigel Warburton
- The History of Philosophy by A.C. Grayling
- Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
- If Minds Had Toes by Lucy Eyre
- The CrashCourse Philosophy series on YouTube
- Converge’s Spirituality course
- Free online courses with FutureLearn, Coursera and WEA (the courses on offer may vary from time to time, so if there aren’t any philosophy programmes right now it might be worth checking in future)