About this Course
4.6
3,088 ratings
732 reviews
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Flexible deadlines

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Hours to complete

Approx. 14 hours to complete

Suggested: 4 hours/week...
Available languages

English

Subtitles: English, Chinese (Simplified), Vietnamese, Dutch, Turkish, Hebrew, Spanish, Romanian...
100% online

100% online

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Flexible deadlines

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Hours to complete

Approx. 14 hours to complete

Suggested: 4 hours/week...
Available languages

English

Subtitles: English, Chinese (Simplified), Vietnamese, Dutch, Turkish, Hebrew, Spanish, Romanian...

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

Week
1
Hours to complete
2 hours to complete

What is Philosophy?

(Dr. Dave Ward) We’ll start the course by thinking about what Philosophy actually is: what makes it different from other subjects? What are its distinctive aims and methods? We'll also think about why the questions that philosophers attempt to answer are often thought to be both fundamental and important, and have a look at how philosophy is actually practiced. Finally, we'll briefly touch upon two very influential philosophers' answers to the question of how we can know whether, in any given case, there really is a right way of thinking about things....
Reading
4 videos (Total 47 min), 3 readings, 2 quizzes
Video4 videos
Philosophy: Difficult, Important and Everywhere11m
Philosophy: How Do We Do It?17m
Is There A 'Right Way' To Think About Things?6m
Reading3 readings
About this Course10m
Module: What is Philosophy?10m
Optional Reading10m
Quiz2 practice exercises
Practice: What is Philosophy?8m
What is Philosophy?10m
Week
2
Hours to complete
1 hour to complete

Morality: Objective, Relative or Emotive?

(Dr. Matthew Chrisman) We all live with some sense of what is good or bad, some feelings about which ways of conducting ourselves are better or worse. But what is the status of these moral beliefs, senses, or feelings? Should we think of them as reflecting hard, objective facts about our world, of the sort that scientists could uncover and study? Or should we think of moral judgements as mere expressions of personal or cultural preferences? In this module we’ll survey some of the different options that are available when we’re thinking about these issues, and the problems and prospects for each....
Reading
4 videos (Total 44 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
Video4 videos
Objectivism, Relativism and Emotivism13m
Objections to Objectivism, Relativism and Emotivism11m
Further Discussion7m
Reading2 readings
Module: Morality: Objective, Emotive or Relative?10m
Related work by Philosophy staff at the University of Edinburgh10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Practice: Morality: Objective, Relative or Emotive?12m
Hours to complete
1 hour to complete

What is Knowledge? And Do We Have Any?

(Professor Duncan Pritchard) We know a lot of things – or, at least, we think we do. Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that studies knowledge; what it is, and the ways we can come to have it. In this module, we’ll take a tour through some of the issues that arise in this branch of philosophy. In particular, we’ll think about what radical scepticism means for our claims to knowledge. How can we know something is the case if we’re unable to rule out possibilities that are clearly incompatible with it? ...
Reading
5 videos (Total 56 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
Video5 videos
The Classical Account of Knowledge and the Gettier Problem18m
Do We Have Any Knowledge?10m
Further Discussion 110m
Further Discussion 23m
Reading2 readings
Module: What is Knowledge? And Do We Have Any?10m
Related work by Philosophy staff at the University of Edinburgh10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Practice: What is Knowledge? And Do We Have Any?12m
Hours to complete
24 minutes to complete

Week 2 review

...
Reading
1 quiz
Quiz2 practice exercises
Morality: Objective, Relative or Emotive?20m
What is Knowledge? And Do We Have Any?24m
Week
3
Hours to complete
1 hour to complete

Do We Have an Obligation to Obey the Law?

(Dr. Guy Fletcher) The laws of a state govern what we can and cannot do within that state. But do we have an obligation to obey those laws? In this module, we'll discuss this question, together with some of the main positions that philosophers have developed in response to it. We'll start off by examining what obeying the law means exactly. Then we'll look at three factors that might form the basis of an obligation to follow the law. Finally, we'll discuss what the consequences might be if the problem can't be solved....
Reading
7 videos (Total 27 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
Video7 videos
The Grounds of Political Obligation2m
Gratitude and Benefit4m
Consent8m
Fairness3m
What if the Problem Can't Be Solved?1m
Summary1m
Reading2 readings
Module: Do We Have an Obligation to Obey the Law?10m
Related work by Philosophy staff at the University of Edinburgh10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Practice: Do We Have an Obligation to Obey the Law?20m
Hours to complete
1 hour to complete

Should You Believe What You Hear?

(Dr. Allan Hazlett) Much of what we think about the world we believe on the basis of what other people say. But is this trust in other people's testimony justified? In this module, we’ll investigate how this question was addressed by two great philosophers of the Scottish Enlightenment, David Hume (1711 - 1776) and Thomas Reid (1710 - 1796). Hume and Reid's dispute about testimony represents a clash between two worldviews that would continue to clash for centuries: a skeptical and often secular worldview, eager to question everything (represented by Hume), and a conservative and often religious worldview, keen to defend common sense (represented by Reid). ...
Reading
5 videos (Total 25 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
Video5 videos
Reid's Challenge to Hume2m
Reid's Argument5m
Kant, the Enlightenment and Intellectual Autonomy4m
The Value of Intellectual Autonomy3m
Reading2 readings
Module: Should You Believe What You Hear?10m
Related work by Philosophy staff at the University of Edinburgh10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Practice: Should You Believe What You Hear?8m
Hours to complete
20 minutes to complete

Week 3 review

...
Reading
1 quiz
Quiz2 practice exercises
Do We Have an Obligation to Obey the Law?20m
Should You Believe What You Hear?20m
Week
4
Hours to complete
2 hours to complete

Minds, Brains and Computers

(Dr. Suilin Lavelle) If you’re reading this, then you’ve got a mind. But what is a mind, and what does it take to have one? Should we understand minds as sets of dispositions to behave in certain ways, as patterns of neural activation, or as akin to programmes that are run on the computational hardware of our brains? In this module, we’ll look at how and why recent philosophy of mind and psychology has embraced each of these options in turn, and think about the problems and prospects for each. ...
Reading
7 videos (Total 57 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
Video7 videos
Physicalism: Identity Theory and Functionalism13m
Functionalism and What Mental States Do8m
Functionalism and Functional Complexity4m
Minds vs. Machines: The Turing Test and the Chinese Room11m
Minds vs. Machines: Problems for the Computational View of the Mind4m
Further Discussion4m
Reading2 readings
Module: Mind, Brains and Computers10m
Related work by Philosophy staff at the University of Edinburgh10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Practice: Minds, Brains and Computers24m
Hours to complete
1 hour to complete

Are Scientific Theories True?

(Professor Michela Massimi) In this module we will explore a central and ongoing debate in contemporary philosophy of science: whether or not scientific theories are true. Or better, whether a scientific theory needs to be 'true' to be good at all. The answer to this question comes in two main varieties. Scientific realists believe that theories ought to be true in order to be good. We will analyse their main argument for this claim (which goes under the name of 'no miracles argument'), and some prominent objections to it. Scientific antirealists, on the other hand, defend the view that there is nothing special about 'truth' and that scientific theories and scientific progress can be understood without appeal to it. The aim of this session is to present both views, their main arguments, and prospects....
Reading
7 videos (Total 29 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
Video7 videos
Saving the Phenomena? Ptolemeic Astronomy5m
Truth? Galileo and Copernican Astronomy2m
Scientific Realism and the No Miracles Argument3m
Scientific Anti-Realism: Constructive Empiricism7m
Realist Rejoinders: Inference to the Best Explanation5m
Concluding Summary2m
Reading2 readings
Module: Are Scientific Theories True?10m
Related work by Philosophy staff at the University of Edinburgh10m
Quiz1 practice exercise
Practice: Are Scientific Theories True?16m
Hours to complete
20 minutes to complete

Week 4 review

...
Reading
1 quiz
Quiz2 practice exercises
Minds, Brains and Computers20m
Are Scientific Theories True?20m
4.6
Career direction

31%

started a new career after completing these courses
Career Benefit

83%

got a tangible career benefit from this course

Top Reviews

By LTSep 2nd 2015

I thoroughly enjoyed this course and find that it encouragingly sets some directions, and of course, raises my excitement for further study into some of the different fields of philosophy. Thank you.

By CCOct 8th 2015

Great explanations that is broken down with examples for understanding. Quizzes test for your understanding of the topic rather than just the textbook explanations. Challenging and thought revoking.

Instructors

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Dr. Dave Ward

Lecturer in Philosophy
University of Edinburgh
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Professor Duncan Pritchard

Professor of Philosophy
University of Edinburgh
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Professor Michela Massimi

Full Professor
Philosophy
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Dr. Suilin Lavelle

Lecturer in Philosophy
University of Edinburgh
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Dr. Matthew Chrisman

Reader in Philosophy
Philosophy
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Guy Fletcher

Lecturer
Philosophy
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Elinor Mason

Senior Lecturer
Philosophy

About The University of Edinburgh

Influencing the world since 1583, The University of Edinburgh is consistently ranked as one of the world's top 50 universities. Today, we are an established and global leader in online learning, providing degree-level education to 3,000 online students in addition to 36,000 students on-campus. We also offer a wide range of free online courses in a variety of subjects. To find out more about studying for one of our online degrees, search for ‘Edinburgh online’ or visit www.ed.ac.uk/studying/online-learning/postgraduate ...

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you enroll for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun. If you choose to explore the course without purchasing, you may not be able to access certain assignments.

  • When you purchase a Certificate you get access to all course materials, including graded assignments. Upon completing the course, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

More questions? Visit the Learner Help Center.