Courses

We aim to provide a wide range of philosophy courses for people interested in the subject. No previous study of the subject is required to enrol. The fees for standard ten week courses are £120 or £90 concessions unless otherwise stated.  For more information see enrolment. 2016-2017 timetable (pdf)

Autumn Term (October – December 2016)

Spring Term (January – March 2017)

Summer Term (April – June 2017)

__________________________________________________________________ Philosophy and Film Autumn Term 2016, Mondays, 11:00 – 13:00, ten weeks starting 3rd October Course Tutor: Mark Fielding Charlie Chaplin, Star Wars, Marilyn Monroe, Dr Strangelove. The cultural, social, and political impact of film has made it a central part of our lives — but why? This short course provides an opportunity to discuss the philosophical contributions of some of the main thinkers working in this area. Each week short extracts from selected films will be used as the basis for our discussions. To enrol, please e-mail Mark (mark[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org). Back to top ______________________________________________________________ Philosophy of Love Autumn Term 2016, Mondays, 13:00 – 15:00, ten weeks starting 3rd October Course Tutor: Jane O’Grady. This course will investigate the nature of love in general, but will concentrate on erotic love, and its philosophical history from Plato to the present; also touching on what anthropology, literature and neuroscience say about it. Erotic love is such an odd combination of animal earthiness and poetic transcendence – how far is it biological and universal, and how far it is just a local cultural concoction developed out of the cult of Courtly Love? Do we love a real person, or simply our own feelings, or an illusion engendered by social expectations or evolutionary imperatives? See course outline (Word doc) for more information. To enrol, please e-mail Jane (jane[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org). Back to top ______________________________________________________________ German Idealism Reading Group Autumn Term 2016, Mondays, 15:00 – 17:00, ten weeks starting 3rd October Course Tutor: Meade McCloughan. This course, running over two terms, will consider Fichte’s ‘Attempt at a New Presentation of the Wissenschaftslehre’ (1797-1798) and Schelling’s On the World Soul, A Hypothesis of Higher Physics (May 1798). To enrol, please e-mail Meade (meade[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org). Back to top _____________________________________________________________ Introduction to Philosophy Autumn Term 2016, Mondays, 17:00 – 19:00, ten weeks starting 3rd October Course Tutors: Mark Fielding and Jane O’Grady. This is a general Introduction to Philosophy based on the individual course of the same name which is part of the University of London International Programme in Philosophy. Students who register for this examination will benefit from a programme of study which is tailored to the subject-centred approach found in this text. All tutors on this course have extensive experience of teaching the subject in this way and study skills are an integral part of the programme. Students are able to register without any obligation to also commit to the examination. This course will run over two terms. The outline both terms is available here (pdf). To enrol, please e-mail Mark (mark[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org). Back to top _____________________________________________________________ Nietzsche, Freud and Heidegger on Violence Autumn Term 2016, Mondays, 19:00 – 21:00, ten weeks starting 3rd October Course Tutor: Keith Barrett. We will discuss the problem of violence as it emerges as a theme – or remains tantalisingly beneath the surface – in the work of three great contemporary theorists of the human condition. The texts studied will include Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy and On the Genealogy of Morals; Freud’s Totem and Taboo and Beyond the Pleasure Principle; and Heidegger’s ‘Building, Dwelling, Thinking’ and ‘The Question concerning Technology’. To enrol, please e-mail Keith (keith[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org). Back to top ______________________________________________________________ Kant [course now full] Autumn Term 2016, Mondays, 19:00 – 21:00, ten weeks starting 3rd October Course Tutor: Meade McCloughan. Kant famously said there are four basic questions: What can I know? What ought I to do? What can I hope? What is the human being? This course looks at Kant’s answers to these questions, taking in his metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, aesthetics, philosophy of religion and political philosophy. We will look at all three of his ‘Critiques’, as well as other important works. See course outline for more information. To enrol, please e-mail Meade (meade[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org). Back to top ______________________________________________________________ New Shakespeare and Philosophy Autumn Term 2016, Tuesdays, 11:00 – 13:00, ten weeks starting 4th October Course Tutor: Anja Steinbauer. Should philosophers go to the theatre? Can philosophy learn from Shakespeare? We will explore themes in political and moral philosophy, as well as philosophical anthropology using five plays by Shakespeare, including Othello and Measure for Measure. To enrol, please e-mail Anja (anja[at]philosophynow.org). Back to top __________________________________________________________________ Kant Reading Group Autumn Term 2016, Tuesdays, 14:00 – 15:00, ten weeks starting 4th October Course Tutor: Anja Steinbauer. An interactive reading group. This year we will study Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Judgement. The term-fee is only £20, reflecting the shortness of the meetings. To enrol, please e-mail Anja (anja[at]philosophynow.org). Back to top ______________________________________________________________ The Concept of Will Autumn Term 2016, Tuesdays, 15:00 – 17:00, ten weeks starting 4th October Course Tutor: Anja Steinbauer. The “will” has been a salient concept in philosophy since its very beginnings. We will critically examine it in its many contexts and discuss its meanings and significance: from Aristotle’s idea of the “weakness of the will” to medieval discussions of the will of God vs the will of humans, from Rousseau’s “general will” to Kant’s “good will”, from Schopenhauer’s “will to life” to Nietzsche’s “will to power”. Our focus will be on historical and contemporary discussions of freedom of the will. To enrol, please e-mail Anja (anja[at]philosophynow.org). Back to top __________________________________________________________________ Philosophies of Modern Life Autumn Term 2016, Tuesdays, 17:00 – 19:00, ten weeks starting 4th October Course Tutor: John Holroyd. What ideas about human nature and how best to live, lie under the surface of modern western culture and its multi-cultures? We shall explore a range of ideologies that to a lesser or greater extent make up the ebb and flow of our conversation about these questions including aspects of Enlightenment philosophy, Marxism, evolutionary psychology, existentialism and some of Charles Taylor’s writings. Finally we shall examine some contrasting philosophies of multiculturalism including the views of Will Kymlicka and Martha Nussbaum. To enrol, please e-mail John (johnholroyd1[at]btinternet.com). Back to top ______________________________________________________________ Wittgenstein Autumn Term 2016, Tuesdays, 19:00 – 21:00, ten weeks starting 4th October Course Tutor: Mark Fielding Ludwig Wittgenstein is one of a very select number of philosophers who transformed the subject in the twentieth century. The course follows the development from his work in the foundations of mathematics which led to the Tractatus and continues through the middle period in which he largely rejected the view of language it contains. The remainder of the course focuses on the final stages of his thought contained in Philosophical Investigations and in On Certainty. To enrol, please e-mail Mark (mark[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org). Back to top __________________________________________________________________ History of Philosophy 1 Autumn Term 2016, Tuesdays, 19:00 – 21:00, ten weeks starting 4th October Course Tutor: Jane O’Grady. ‘What’s it all about then, guv?’ a taxi driver asked Bertrand Russell. This course gives a chronological survey of some the great Western philosophers who have formulated, and tried to solve, enduring puzzles – what reality is, who we are, how we should live. It traces the ongoing argument, and invites your contributions to it. Part 1 runs from the ancient Greeks to John Locke; Part 2 (in the Spring term) runs from Berkeley to Mill; Part 3 (in the Summer term) runs from Nietzsche to now. You can join any or all of these courses. See course-outline1 (Word doc) for more information. To enrol, please e-mail Jane (jane[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org). Back to top __________________________________________________________________ Existentialism COURSE NOW FULL Spring Term 2017, Mondays, 11:00 – 13:00, ten weeks starting 16th January Course Tutor: Mark Fielding Existentialism is one of the most accessible and popular branches of philosophy. Its influence has been profound in the arts and an understanding of its central concepts is important for the appreciation of many of the key political and social changes of the twentieth century. This course studies the work of several of the most famous existentialist thinkers. To enrol, please e-mail Mark (mark[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org). Back to top ______________________________________________________________ Emotions and the Self Spring Term 2017, Mondays, 13:00 – 15:00, ten weeks starting 16th January Course Tutor: Jane O’Grady. When you are angry or sad are you just having physical sensations? Or are anger or sadness, instead, ways of perceiving the situation you are in? Are emotions a distortion of our true (rational) nature, or essentially part of us? The way in which different philosophers have differently reconciled the cognitive and sensation aspects of emotion has always been closely bound up with different notions of what it means to be human. We examine theories about the self and its emotions from Homer to Sartre. See course outline (Word doc) for more information. To enrol, please e-mail Jane (jane[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org). Back to top ______________________________________________________________ German Idealism Reading Group Spring Term 2017, Mondays, 15:00 – 17:00, ten weeks starting 16th January Course Tutor: Meade McCloughan. This course, running over two terms, will consider Fichte’s ‘Attempt at a New Presentation of the Wissenschaftslehre’ (1797-1798) and Schelling’s On the World Soul, A Hypothesis of Higher Physics (May 1798). To enrol, please e-mail Meade (meade[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org). Back to top ______________________________________________________________ Introduction to Philosophy Spring Term 2017, Mondays, 17:00 – 19:00, ten weeks starting 16th January Course Tutors: Mark Fielding and Jane O’Grady. This is a general Introduction to Philosophy based on the individual course of the same name which is part of the University of London International Programme in Philosophy. Students who register for this examination will benefit from a programme of study which is tailored to the subject-centred approach found in this text. All tutors on this course have extensive experience of teaching the subject in this way and study skills are an integral part of the programme. Students are able to register without any obligation to also commit to the examination. This course will run over two terms. The outline both terms is available here (pdf). To enrol, please e-mail Mark (mark[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org). Back to top _____________________________________________________________ Walter Benjamin COURSE NOW FULL Spring Term 2017, Mondays, 19:00 – 21:00, ten weeks starting 16th January Course Tutor: Meade McCloughan. Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) is one of the most fascinating intellectual figures of the twentieth century. Philosopher, literary critic, journalist, historian and creative writer, his writings have attracted the interest of Marxists, theologians, urbanists and artists, just to mention a few. The course will take a chronological and textual approach, starting with Benjamin’s writings from the mid/late 1920s and ending with his final text from 1940. See course outline for more information. To enrol, please e-mail Meade (meade[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org). Back to top ______________________________________________________________ Philosophers of Otherness 1: Levinas, Foucault, Lacan Spring Term 2017, Mondays, 19:00 – 21:00, ten weeks starting 16th January Course Tutor: Keith Barrett. ‘We are all responsible for everyone else – but I am more responsible than all the others’ wrote Dostoyevsky. We will explore the ideas of three major contemporary thinkers for whom the character of our existence is truly defined by our relations with others. The course will introduce the three figures by focusing on close reading of one seminal text by each of them. We will begin with Totality and Infinity (1961) by Emmanuel Levinas; then examine The History of Sexuality, Volume 1 (1978) by Michel Foucault; and conclude by studying Jacques Lacan’s Ecrits (1966). To enrol, please e-mail Keith (keith[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org). Back to top __________________________________________________________________ Metaphors, Stories and Analogical Thinking Spring Term 2017, Tuesdays, 11:00 – 13:00, ten weeks starting 17th January Course Tutor: Anja Steinbauer. Scientist Stephen Jay Gould claims that “our mind works largely by metaphor and comparison, not always (or often) by relentless logic.” We will discuss the nature of thought, imagination and language use and the place of metaphors and analogical thinking in philosophical and intellectual activity. To enrol, please e-mail Anja (anja[at]philosophynow.org). Back to top __________________________________________________________________ Kant Reading Group Spring Term 2017, Tuesdays, 14:00 – 15:00, ten weeks starting 17th January Course Tutor: Anja Steinbauer. An interactive reading group. This year we will study Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Judgement. The term-fee is only £20, reflecting the shortness of the meetings. To enrol, please e-mail Anja (anja[at]philosophynow.org). Back to top ______________________________________________________________ Religion and Politics Spring Term 2017, Tuesdays, 15:00 – 17:00, ten weeks starting 17th January Course Tutors: Anja Steinbauer and John Holroyd. “Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is.” – Thus argues Mahatma Gandhi. This course will consider philosophical explanations of what religion is, how its social and political effects can be described, and how it relates to political action, organisation and violence. We will discuss relevant thinkers and draw examples from traditions as diverse as Islam and Buddhism. To enrol, please e-mail Anja (anja[at]philosophynow.org). Back to top __________________________________________________________________ Classics of Moral Philosophy: Kant’s Groundwork Spring Term 2017, Tuesdays, 17:00 – 19:00, ten weeks starting 17th January This course will undertake a reading of Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, which is, without doubt, one of the most important and influential books on moral philosophy ever written.  After completing the Groundwork we will go on to examine some commentaries on it by contemporary philosophers, such as Christine Korsgaard and Derek Parfit.. Course Tutor: Sam Fremantle To enrol, please e-mail Sam (sam[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org). Back to top __________________________________________________________________ Heidegger COURSE NOW FULL Spring Term 2017, Tuesdays, 19:00 – 21:00, ten weeks starting 17th January Course Tutor: Mark Fielding Martin Heidegger is amongst the most influential and important thinkers of the 20th Century. The first part of the course covers his magnum opus, Being and Time (1927). We then move on to consider his later writings on technology, art, and language. To enrol, please e-mail Mark (mark[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org). Back to top __________________________________________________________________ History of Philosophy 2 Spring Term 2017, Tuesdays, 19:00 – 21:00, ten weeks starting 17th January Course Tutor: Jane O’Grady. From the Enlightenment to 1900. ‘Daring to know’ and the rule of reason, liberation from priests and kings – to the overruling of reason, rise of naturalism, and death of God. Berkeley, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Romanticism, and Schopenhauer. See course-outline2 (Word doc) for more information. To enrol, please e-mail Jane (jane[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org). Back to top ______________________________________________________________ Art and Phenomenology Summer Term 2017, Mondays, 11:00 – 13:00, ten weeks starting 24th April Course Tutor: Mark Fielding Philosophy is the study of the complexity of everyday life. Art too can be understood as grappling with the same problems. Using Western Philosophers from Immanuel Kant to Hubert Dreyfus, as well as some philosophers of the Eastern tradition, including Kakuzo and El-Bizri, we’ll examine the overlap between art and philosophy. COURSE ALSO RUNS 17:00-19:00 To enrol, please e-mail Mark (mark[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org). Back to top ______________________________________________________________ Problems in Philosophy: a discussion class Summer Term 2017, Mondays, 13:00 – 15:00, ten weeks starting 24th April Course Tutor: Jane O’Grady. In what circumstances would you save the lives of five people by letting one person die? How free are you? Are you the same person you were twenty years ago? In any case, who on earth are you? This course will consist of debating these and other philosophical questions and thought experiments. To enrol, please e-mail Jane (jane[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org). Back to top ______________________________________________________________ Derrida and Deconstruction Summer Term 2017, Mondays, 15:00 – 17:00, ten weeks starting 24th April Course Tutor: Georgios Tsagdis. ‘There is no outside-text’ is the enigmatic phrase that would mark the deconstruction to come. Faithful to Derrida’s method, we will engage in a close reading of a series of texts, from the early essays of Writing and Difference (1968) to the late lectures The Beast and the Sovereign (2001-2003), in order to explore one of the most influential bodies of work of contemporary philosophy. To enrol, please e-mail Georgios (georgiostsagdis[at]outlook.com). Back to top ______________________________________________________________ Art and Phenomenology Summer Term 2017, Mondays, 17:00 – 19:00, ten weeks starting 24th April Course Tutor: Mark Fielding Philosophy is the study of the complexity of everyday life. Art too can be understood as grappling with the same problems. Using Western Philosophers from Immanuel Kant to Hubert Dreyfus, as well as some philosophers of the Eastern tradition, including Kakuzo and El-Bizri, we’ll examine the overlap between art and philosophy. To enrol, please e-mail Mark (mark[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org). Back to top ______________________________________________________________ Philosophers of Otherness 2: Girard, Ricoeur, Derrida Summer Term 2017, Mondays, 19:00 – 21:00, ten weeks starting 24th April Course Tutor: Keith Barrett. ‘We are all responsible for everyone else – but I am more responsible than all the others’ wrote Dostoyevsky. We will explore the ideas of three contemporary thinkers who argue that the character of our existence is truly defined by our stance towards others. We will focus on: Violence and the Sacred (1972) by Rene Girard; The Conflict of Interpretations (1969) by Paul Ricoeur; and Of Grammatology (1967) by Jacques Derrida. To enrol, please e-mail Keith (keith[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org). Back to top __________________________________________________________________ History of Philosophy 3: From Nietzsche — to Now Summer Term 2017, Mondays, 19:00 – 21:00, ten weeks starting 24th April Course Tutor: Jane O’Grady. If God is dead, as Nietzsche claimed, what happens to truth and morality? We shall consider the re-making of values, humanity and truth — in Nietzsche’s ‘aristocratic radicalism’, John Stuart Mill’s utilitarianism and feminism, William James’s pragmatism and Freud’s unconscious; in Heidegger, Sartre, Wittgenstein, Ayer, and in the current tortured debate on the mind-body problem. See course outline (Word doc) for more information. To enrol, please e-mail Jane (jane[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org). Back to top ______________________________________________________________ Explaining Human Behaviour Summer Term 2017, Tuesdays, 11:00 – 13:00, ten weeks starting 25th April Course Tutor: Anja Steinbauer. Why did the chicken cross the road? This course will introduce several different approaches to explaining human behaviour, including philosophy, genetics, evolutionary biology and neuroscience. We will critically discuss their usefulness and apply them to examples of behaviour such as aggressive, competitive and sexual behaviours. To enrol, please e-mail Anja (anja[at]philosophynow.org). Back to top __________________________________________________________________ Kant Reading Group Summer Term 2016, Tuesdays, 14:00 – 15:00, ten weeks starting 25th April Course Tutor: Anja Steinbauer. An interactive reading group. This year we will study Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Judgement. The term-fee is only £20, reflecting the shortness of the meetings. To enrol, please e-mail Anja (anja[at]philosophynow.org). Back to top ______________________________________________________________ Philosophy of Science Summer Term 2017, Tuesdays, 15:00 – 17:00, ten weeks starting 25th April Course Tutor: Anja Steinbauer. Physicist Richard Feynman once mused that “Science is imagination in a straitjacket.” – The course addresses the following questions (and more!): What is science? What is the relationship between philosophy and science? What does it mean that there are many competing different models of scientific explanation? How do new concepts, such as “emergence”, “complexity” and “chaos”, change the nature of scientific and philosophical discourse? To enrol, please e-mail Anja (anja[at]philosophynow.org). Back to top __________________________________________________________________ Philosophical Religions East and West Summer Term 2017, Tuesdays, 17:00 – 19:00, ten weeks starting 25th April This course seeks to critically examine key philosophical themes within the Abrahamic and Buddhist traditions including, the human condition and suffering, concepts of salvation and liberation, and how far reason and language can grasp reality. We shall debate the tensions and harmonies of thought as we consider the philosophies of believers and non-believers, whether the issue is God or a specific spiritual path. Course Tutors: John Heyderman and John Holroyd. To enrol, please e-mail John Heyderman(john[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org). Back to top __________________________________________________________________ Moral Philosophy and Applied Ethics Summer Term 2017, Tuesdays, 18:00 – 20:00, ten weeks starting 25th April Course Tutor: Shahrar Ali. Are we genuinely capable of non-egoistic, altruistic action? What are our responsibilities to future generations? What claim do starving populations have on us? When, if at all, is torture justified? Is free speech an unconditional right? Is whistleblowing an act of greater corporate loyalty? Is lying worse than other forms of intentional deception? Should euthanasia be legalised in the UK? When is it legitimate, or required, to challenge authority? We will address these and other questions within a moral philosophical framework and test our intuitions about equality, obligation and rights. To enrol, please e-mail Shahrar (shahrar[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org). Back to top __________________________________________________________________ Nietzsche, Freud and Lacan on Eros Summer Term 2017, Tuesdays, 19:00 – 21:00, ten weeks starting 25th April Course Tutor: Keith Barrett. To enrol, please e-mail Keith (keith[at]londonschoolofphilosophy.org). Back to top

Comments are closed.