Introduction to Philosophy

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8/10 stars
based on  27 reviews
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Coursera online courses
Coursera's online classes are designed to help students achieve mastery over course material. Some of the best professors in the world - like neurobiology professor and author Peggy Mason from the University of Chicago, and computer science professor and Folding@Home director Vijay Pande - will supplement your knowledge through video lectures. They will also provide challenging assessments, interactive exercises during each lesson, and the opportunity to use a mobile app to keep up with yo...
Coursera's online classes are designed to help students achieve mastery over course material. Some of the best professors in the world - like neurobiology professor and author Peggy Mason from the University of Chicago, and computer science professor and Folding@Home director Vijay Pande - will supplement your knowledge through video lectures. They will also provide challenging assessments, interactive exercises during each lesson, and the opportunity to use a mobile app to keep up with your coursework. Coursera also partners with the US State Department to create “learning hubs” around the world. Students can get internet access, take courses, and participate in weekly in-person study groups to make learning even more collaborative. Begin your journey into the mysteries of the human brain by taking courses in neuroscience. Learn how to navigate the data infrastructures that multinational corporations use when you discover the world of data analysis. Follow one of Coursera’s “Skill Tracks”. Or try any one of its more than 560 available courses to help you achieve your academic and professional goals.

Provider Subject Specialization
Humanities
Sciences & Technology
4995 reviews

Course Description

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 Philo... 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. The development of this MOOC has been led by the University of Edinburgh's **[Eidyn**](http://www.eidyn.org) research centre. [ ![EIDYN logo](https://d396qusza40orc.cloudfront.net/philsci/EIDYN%20logo.png )](http://www.eidyn.org)
Reviews 8/10 stars
27 Reviews for Introduction to Philosophy

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Rankings are based on a provider's overall CourseTalk score, which takes into account both average rating and number of ratings. Stars round to the nearest half.

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ANISH profile image
ANISH profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 4 reviews
  • 4 completed
8 years, 6 months ago
there would be no per requisites to this course. any person with a will to think would find the course interesting. with a new teacher teaching every specific week the course goes about giving the best from the teacher that specializes in that field. its a very interesting course forcing you to think in a completely new manner. a very important thing to be kept in the mind of the person taking the course is to stay active in the forums cause thats where the real learning is taking place in the form of exchange of ideas.
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Ayush Agarwal profile image
Ayush Agarwal profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 4 reviews
  • 4 completed
6 years, 7 months ago
The course content was beginner-friendly and easy for anyone who is interested in Philosophy. Most of the instructors knew what they were doing. The peer assessments were also very helpful. Overall, I'd say that this course is pretty easy and you might be a bit disappointed after completing the course if you expect the course to be even moderately difficult. If you want something a bit more difficult, you should explore the 24.00x: Introduction to Philosophy: God, Knowledge and Consciousness MOOC by MITx on edX.
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Dianne Owens profile image
Dianne Owens profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 30 reviews
  • 30 completed
7 years ago
This course is a great introduction to philosophy. It teaches students some of the terminology and a different professor covers the material for each week through the lens of their specialization. The material was interesting, and inspired me to enroll in several other MOOCs on philosophy. Excellent stuff!
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BJ profile image
BJ profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 6 reviews
  • 6 completed
7 years, 1 month ago
Works well as an "introduction" to philosophy with a good range of topics covered. Is this is a subject you know nothing about and would like to find out what philosophy is all about then this is for you.
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Jack Rogers profile image
Jack Rogers profile image
10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 14 reviews
  • 8 completed
7 years, 1 month ago
I just enrolled for a verified certificate of completion, anxiously awaiting for the course to start. I will write a more detailed review upon completing the course.
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Pavel Klammert profile image
Pavel Klammert profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 12 reviews
  • 10 completed
7 years, 2 months ago
I was expecting some kind of boring school-like philosophy class but i was nicely surprised. It presents various topics (knowledge, mind, even time- travel) in a fresh and (fairly) entertaining way.
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Floor Scheffer profile image
Floor Scheffer profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 completed
7 years, 7 months ago
I am an interested layman in philosophy, especially interested in the philosophy of science (as I have studied physics). The course gives a good general introduction in philosophy, with some added interesting more in depth topics.
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Bart olomeus profile image
Bart olomeus profile image
7/10 starsCompleted
  • 15 reviews
  • 13 completed
7 years, 6 months ago
It's a very easy course. It touches an assortment of topics followed up with some easy quizzes. Don't expect to get a complete history or overview. No in depth coverage of a certain philosopher or idea. I guess this course is meant to to wet your appetite for philosophy. The value of this course is in the proposed reading materials and the rather active fora. It's nice to discuss the philosophy topics on there with people who to a certain degree share the same a vocabulary given by the course. Great for beginners. Maybe too light or boring for people familiar with the subjects discussed.
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Alec Rogers profile image
Alec Rogers profile image
6/10 starsCompleted
  • 2 reviews
  • 2 completed
7 years, 9 months ago
I have a degree in political philosophy, but had read very little about other branches of philosophy and thought it would be a good way to understand the topic generally. The course does not really provide a survey of philosophy, but rather introduces students to what it is to "do" philosophy and then spends six weeks illustrating how philosophers work by taking an in depth look at some of philosophy's most interesting questions, e.g. how do we know what we know, what claims are involved in ethics, what is the aim of science? Grounding students in philosophical methodology rather than inculcating them in different fields of philosophy is the course's aim, although by studying these illustrative questions students will have a better understanding some of yesterday and today's main philosophical disagreements and debates. There is a lot of repetition in the lectures, which are generally short to begin with. Notes and summaries large re... I have a degree in political philosophy, but had read very little about other branches of philosophy and thought it would be a good way to understand the topic generally. The course does not really provide a survey of philosophy, but rather introduces students to what it is to "do" philosophy and then spends six weeks illustrating how philosophers work by taking an in depth look at some of philosophy's most interesting questions, e.g. how do we know what we know, what claims are involved in ethics, what is the aim of science? Grounding students in philosophical methodology rather than inculcating them in different fields of philosophy is the course's aim, although by studying these illustrative questions students will have a better understanding some of yesterday and today's main philosophical disagreements and debates. There is a lot of repetition in the lectures, which are generally short to begin with. Notes and summaries large repeat that lectures. A short book available for purchase is little more than a bound set of transcripts. The course is fairly easy in terms of time commitment and the ability to obtain a certificate (50%+ is needed on each week's quiz and there are three chances per quiz). A short paper in purely optional (no impact on obtaining a certificate). Overall, I enjoyed the course and found it a worthwhile investment of time to learn more about philosophy without spending a lot of time doing so. For those looking to come away with a better grounding of the basics in different substantive areas of philosophy as opposed to an introduction to the philosophical methodology, this isn't the course. There are a few references to Hume, Plato, et. al. but mostly in the course of illustrating the arguments rather than any cohesive attempt to explain their approaches.
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sam tan profile image
sam tan profile image
7/10 starsCompleted
  • 33 reviews
  • 31 completed
7 years, 9 months ago
Lectures were very short and seemingly thin on substance...that is until you started to ponder on it and apply. Not all the weeks video lectures were great but the discussion boards were lively. The final week on time travel was very intriguing and was a high point of the course.
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Ricardo Teixeira profile image
Ricardo Teixeira profile image
7/10 starsCompleted
  • 86 reviews
  • 77 completed
7 years, 9 months ago
The University of Edinburgh is at the forefront of MOOC offerings, with some amazing courses currently at Coursera. I cannot say that this one is bad - it's actually a wonderful introduction to Philosophy, so it is exactly what it advertises. The problem is that if you already have a bit of background, you will not learn all that much - with one notable exception, since the final week is about time travel, which is a fascinating topic (with an amazing professor), and you don't normally hear about it during an introductory course in Philosophy. The lectures are very interesting, each by a different lecturer, and all lecturers are great (although a little short). Unfortunately, this fact also fragments the course into bits and pieces, so there should be an introductory and concluding lecture putting all weeks together in a larger frame. In short, if you want to take your first collage- level course on Philosophy, you should definitely ... The University of Edinburgh is at the forefront of MOOC offerings, with some amazing courses currently at Coursera. I cannot say that this one is bad - it's actually a wonderful introduction to Philosophy, so it is exactly what it advertises. The problem is that if you already have a bit of background, you will not learn all that much - with one notable exception, since the final week is about time travel, which is a fascinating topic (with an amazing professor), and you don't normally hear about it during an introductory course in Philosophy. The lectures are very interesting, each by a different lecturer, and all lecturers are great (although a little short). Unfortunately, this fact also fragments the course into bits and pieces, so there should be an introductory and concluding lecture putting all weeks together in a larger frame. In short, if you want to take your first collage- level course on Philosophy, you should definitely take this one. It will give you an overview of most topics in the field. If you have taken other Philosophy courses, you probably won't need this one.
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Rute profile image
Rute profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
7 years, 9 months ago
Completely loved the course, I wish it would have more weeks. Congratulations to University of Edinburgh: a course well designed, impeccably organized, with good rhythm, the staff done a great job. Nothing to complain. I have little experience in Philosophy but it seems I´m forever in love about Philosophy. Regarding MOOCs, Cousera is a great e-learning platform and that helps a lot. Cousera´s forums are the best.
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Florie Lancien profile image
Florie Lancien profile image
9/10 starsCompleted
  • 9 reviews
  • 7 completed
7 years, 9 months ago
I graduated in philosphy when I was studying in French Universities. I liked to see how philosphy is teached in anglo-saxon countries. I explored new concepts and understood new ideas. It was a great pleasure.
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Robert Gonzalez profile image
Robert Gonzalez profile image
6/10 starsCompleted
  • 10 reviews
  • 9 completed
7 years, 10 months ago
Be prepared for the accents of the various professors, I was thankful that the video player allows for the slowing down of the speech. The course content was great. There was some confusion over they posting of the grading and I was disappointed that neither Coursera or the course staff weighed in. I still recommend this course.
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Pedro Forquesato profile image
Pedro Forquesato profile image
5/10 starsCompleted
  • 4 reviews
  • 4 completed
8 years, 2 months ago
The main problem was the length of the lectures. Coursera courses are supposed to be equivalent to an university course, and I never saw an university course with 20 minutes of lecture per week (to be fair, it was very uneven, some weeks it was almost 1 hour of lectures, but there were weeks with 10-20 minutes only). And what amazes me the most about that is that the weeks were about famous topics of philosphy. Seriously you only have 10 minutes of things to talk about about knowledge?
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deicidereigns profile image
deicidereigns profile image
4/10 starsCompleted
  • 16 reviews
  • 16 completed
8 years, 4 months ago
Needs a lot of work. Each week had a topic presented by an instructor. However, most topics were given only a cursory overview. Lectures very short, and content not up to university standards. There were also a painful number of sharp camera cuts, all of the sudden zooming in, then out, off-center, and so on. Probably the most 'philosophically deep' week was the discussion on miracles and then the 'philosophy of science' week. Then there was that professor who dressed up as Doctor Who...painful... I wish the course had required some short writing assignments to help the students internalize the terms and concepts. I didn't leave with a high impression of University of Edinburgh, esp. combined with the "Introduction to Critical Thinking" course.
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Steven Frank profile image
Steven Frank profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 59 reviews
  • 57 completed
8 years, 4 months ago
Very enjoyable introduction to some basic concepts in modern philosophy, and to philosophical ways of thinking. The instructors, who changed from week to week, were invariably engaging and their lectures interesting and clear. My wife and I would enjoy the lectures over dinner and take long walks discussing the issues they raised.
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Barbara profile image
Barbara profile image
8/10 starsCompleted
  • 8 reviews
  • 7 completed
8 years, 5 months ago
Very interesting material presented at an introductory level. Good course for a skilled high school student or an undergraduate. The lecture on philosophy of science -- or something similar -- should be required for all teachers. Excellent course for someone who doesn't have much time to invest reading or doing projects but likes to learn new things and/or mull things over.
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Rafael Ramos profile image
Rafael Ramos profile image
7/10 starsCompleted
  • 1 review
  • 1 completed
8 years, 5 months ago
It was a good introduction to some of the main philosophy themes. It appeared to me, however, as it tried to grasp the attention of inexperienced philosophy students. The course doesn't take many time to study specific philosophers, but that's understandable considering the length of it. Ultimately, it is a nice experience, but try to read a little more about it so you won't be disappointed by the way the course is taught.
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Timon profile image
Timon profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 10 reviews
  • 10 completed
8 years, 4 months ago
A very brief, but nonetheless satisfying, introduction. Recommended for anybody who has a vague interest in Philosophy and would like to know more about what kinds of problems are addressed and how philosophers go about trying to answer them.
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Hal DuBois profile image
Hal DuBois profile image
6/10 starsCompleted
  • 5 reviews
  • 5 completed
8 years, 4 months ago
The problem with the brevity of the lectures, mentioned in many reviews here, rings true. The course is really grounded in the readings, which are "tough reads" but generally excellent. Some writing requirement would be an improvement. You also shouldn't undervalue the joy of hearing a Scot say "MOOC!" It should be the international standard!
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Carol Colffield profile image
Carol Colffield profile image
6/10 starsCompleted
  • 8 reviews
  • 7 completed
8 years, 5 months ago
It was a nice course, but not very challenging as we expect from a Philosophy course. Some lectures were extremely short and did not cover the topics at length. It started very well and seemed very promising, so probably those issues will be solved for the next edition.
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Klippel Trenaunay profile image
Klippel Trenaunay profile image
10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 12 reviews
  • 11 completed
8 years, 6 months ago
This course was excellent. This is my second class from the University of Edinburgh and they have both been awesome. The instructors are engaging and great to listen to. I have learned so much. I love the format of having a new instructor every week. It's nice not having to worry about doing quizzes every week so that you can pace yourself and really take in what is being taught without the pressure of deadlines every week. This was not what I expected, again I was thinking it was going to be boring and not very engaging and WOW it was totally the opposite. No prerequisites at all needed you can jump right in and start with no worries at all. I hope they continue to keep offering these types of courses from Edinburgh.
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Mubarak Alkhatnai profile image
Mubarak Alkhatnai profile image
6/10 starsTaking Now
  • 3 reviews
  • 2 completed
8 years, 6 months ago
Very interesting course with many interesting ideas. Some organizational issues especially with week 4 and 5 but overall satisfied.
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Miriam Lozada profile image
Miriam Lozada profile image
10/10 starsTaking Now
  • 2 reviews
  • 1 completed
8 years, 7 months ago
This course is very interesting. The lecturers are very nice and made things easy to understand. It is exactly what I was expecting of the course after all it is just an introduction. Maybe they could try to arrange a google hangout as others courses do.
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Kelebek profile image
Kelebek profile image
10/10 starsCompleted
  • 15 reviews
  • 13 completed
8 years, 6 months ago
Intro to Philosophy is a fun, very brief survey of some of the different branches of philosophy. As a complete novice to the subject, I found the course enjoyable. I appreciated the different focus and new instructor each week. The courseload was appropriate, not overwhelming, not too small, just enough to make me think and then seek out some outside resources on the branches that particularly interested me. The presenters were engaging, and their presenting styles suited their material well. Each instructor was great. I really liked Dave, Suilin and Alan. Michela's and Alasdair's presentations were particularly fun. I'd gladly take another course from this team again. I'd love to see each subject get a whole course. My only complaint is that I would have liked a few more exercises per subject to make sure I'd really gotten the basics. But as a survey, this was perfect. Highly recommended!
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BM profile image
BM profile image
4/10 starsDropped
  • 4 reviews
  • 3 completed
8 years, 4 months ago
This course was very patchy and poor at times, in part due to the different lecturer each week. Overall it seemed somewhat less well executed to me compared with the other Coursera courses I have either just finished (Greek and Roman Mythology) or currently studying (Modern History). It lacked both depth and structure e.g in its guidance to the reading of supporting materials. it should probably increase its weekly study time requirement and thus become a more substantial course. Unlike the other courses I found I was not looking forward to the new downloads on a Monday morning (and in fact they were never there on time for this course anyway!) and so I gave it up. I did learn some new things though so my few weeks were not entirely wasted.
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