About this Course
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Intermediate Level

Approx. 17 hours to complete

Suggested: 3 hours/week...

English

Subtitles: English

100% online

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.

Intermediate Level

Approx. 17 hours to complete

Suggested: 3 hours/week...

English

Subtitles: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

Week
1
1 hour to complete

Political Origins

We will discuss the historical and philosophical backgrounds to Plato's rejection of democracy: they will turn out to be intimately connected to his rejection of Skepticism. In addition we will present Karl Popper's highly critical assessment of Plato's 'totalitarian' alternative. ...
3 videos (Total 18 min), 3 readings
3 videos
Plato versus the Sophists9m
Karl Popper versus Plato7m
3 readings
"Plato, Protagoras, 317e-328d"10m
Suggested Reading: "Aristotle, Nicomachean ethics, III, 6-9"10m
"Plato, Republic, VIII, 555b-569c"10m
Week
2
1 hour to complete

Skepticism and Religion

We will sketch some of the skeptical arguments against Christianity developed by Roman philosophers, but we will also see how Skepticism soon turned into an ally of Christian theology. By the end of the seventeenth century, however, Pierre Bayle turned Skepticism into a highly questionable source of support to revealed religion....
2 videos (Total 16 min), 1 reading
2 videos
Montaigne to Bayle7m
1 reading
"Bayle, Philosophical Commentary, II, 9."10m
Week
3
3 hours to complete

Skepticism and Natural Law

We will turn to the relevance of the early modern natural law tradition, serving as as an antidote to Skepticism. Grotius's efforts will be discussed, and we will see how during the eighteenth century David Hume pushed Skepticism to its ultimate and highly disturbing conclusion. ...
2 videos (Total 16 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
2 videos
Skepticism and Natural Law7m
2 readings
"Hume, Dialogues Concering Natural Religion"10m
"Grotius, The Law of War and Peace" (De Iure Belli ac Pacis)10m
Week
4
1 hour to complete

Skepticism and Conservatism

We will focus on the intimate relationship between Skepticism and the origins of eighteenth-century conservatism: Edmund Burke's analysis of the French Revolution will be put into perspective. But we will also pay attention to the way in which Skepticism came to serve as a progressive and liberating force, for instance in its critique of biblical authority. ...
2 videos (Total 17 min), 1 reading
2 videos
Liberating Skepticism8m
1 reading
"Hume, Part I, Essay III"10m
Week
5
3 hours to complete

“There’s a method to his madness”: Responses to Cartesian Skepticism

We will discuss the specific and influential way in which Rene Descartes defined the problems of Skepticism, not only the question whether knowledge is possible, but also the question whether the external world and all the objects and properties in it, really exist. But instead of considering Descartes’ own rationalist response, we will then move on to consider the alternative responses of John Locke, Charles Peirce, and John Austin....
4 videos (Total 26 min), 3 readings, 1 quiz
4 videos
John Locke’s response to Cartesian Skepticism13m
Abduction and Charles Peirce’s response to Cartesian Skepticism4m
Austin's response to Cartesian Skepticism6m
3 readings
"Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, book II, chapter viii"10m
"Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, book IV, chapter xi"10m
"Austin, Other Minds, pp. 148-187"10m
Week
6
5 hours to complete

Fallibilism, prejudices and toleration: Lessons from Pyrrhonian Skepticism

We will address the question whether, in what sense, and to what extent, Skepticism provides good reasons to do away with prejudices and to adopt religious tolerance. First we will distinguish carefully between belief and truth. Then we will consider the attitude of the positive Skeptic: truth exists, but all our beliefs are and remain prejudices. Finally, we will investigate the role that this epistemic predicament plays in arguments for toleration....
4 videos (Total 24 min), 1 reading, 2 quizzes
4 videos
The limits of truth relativism.7m
The powers of positive Skepticism7m
The fallibilist argument for toleration6m
1 reading
Suggested Reading: Locke's real essences10m
Week
7
1 hour to complete

The marketplace of ideas: An imaginative argument for freedom of expression

We will consider Mill’s argument from “the marketplace of ideas” for both freedom of opinion and freedom of expression of opinion. If ideas can compete freely, truth will emerge. Just as a free market is self correcting, speech should not be restricted, because in a free and open encounter, the true and sound ideas will survive, and the false and unsound ideas will vanquish. We will identify the Skeptical assumptions of Mill’s argument and we will evaluate it....
3 videos (Total 15 min), 2 readings
3 videos
John Stuart Mill's argument for freedom of expression7m
Paul Feyerabend's principle of proliferation6m
2 readings
"Mill, On Liberty, chapter 3"10m
"Mill, On Liberty, chapter 2"10m
Week
8
3 hours to complete

The benefit of the doubt: Critical creative problem solving in politics

What is the benefit of the doubt? What good can come from the confrontation with alternative views or rival opinions? First we will learn that one of the most effective ways to boost the carefulness of problem solving processes is by pushing on alternatives. Then we will consider the role of organized doubt in meetings, deliberations or political negotiations; to find a solution or to reach an agreement, the participants should deliberately adopt the perspective of the others and make their rival opinions relevant....
3 videos (Total 18 min), 1 reading, 1 quiz
3 videos
The entanglement of critical and creative reasoning7m
The creation of contextual relevance and common ground in politics7m
1 reading
"Bloom, Against Empathy"10m
4.6
6 ReviewsChevron Right

Top Reviews

By ECAug 27th 2017

Very good materials and quality videos. Great teachers. This course made me decide upon Erasmus as the university i want to study at, next year.

By JQJun 4th 2017

Nice Course. Enjoyed the concepts. Thanks, sincerely

Instructors

Avatar

Wiep van Bunge

Prof. dr.
Faculty of Philosophy
Avatar

Tim De Mey

Dr.
Faculty of Philosophy

About Erasmus University Rotterdam

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