Introduction to Philosophy

This course will introduce you to some of the most important areas of research in contemporary philosophy. Each week a different philosopher will talk you through some of the most important questions and issues in their area of expertise.

About The Course

This course will introduce you to some of the main areas of research in contemporary philosophy. Each week a different philosopher will talk you through some of the most important questions and issues in their area of expertise. We’ll begin by trying to understand what philosophy is – what are its characteristic aims and methods, and how does it differ from other subjects? Then we’ll spend the rest of the course gaining an introductory overview of several different areas of philosophy. Topics you’ll learn about will include:

  • Epistemology, where we’ll consider what our knowledge of the world and ourselves consists in, and how we come to have it;
  • Philosophy of science, where we’ll investigate foundational conceptual issues in scientific research and practice;
  • Philosophy of Mind, where we’ll ask questions about what it means for something to have a mind, and how minds should be understood and explained;
  • Moral Philosophy, where we’ll attempt to understand the nature of our moral judgements and reactions – whether they aim at some objective moral truth, or are mere personal or cultural preferences, and;
  • Metaphysics, where we’ll think through some fundamental conceptual questions about the nature of reality.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will I get a certificate after completing this class?

    Yes. Students who complete the class will be offered a Statement of Accomplishment signed by the instructors.

  • Do I earn University of Edinburgh credits upon completion of this class?

    No. The Statement of Accomplishment is not part of a formal qualification from the University. However, it may be useful to demonstrate prior learning and interest in your subject to a higher education institution or potential employer.

  • What resources will I need for this class?

    No resources needed.

  • What are the learning outcomes of this course and why should I take it?

    You’ll learn about the questions that have occupied some of the greatest minds in history, and how to go about answering them!



Recommended Background

No background is required; all are welcome.