Online Class: Philosophy 101

Philosophy is an essential discipline that delves into profound questions about existence, reality, knowledge, and ethics, shaping our understanding of the human experience. This rich and dynamic subject offers critical insights and skills necessary for navigating the complexities of our rapidly evolving world.

Self-Paced, Online Class
Library Subscription
 
  • 13
    Lessons
  • 28
    Exams &
    Assignments
  • 12
    Hours
    average time
  • 1.2
    CEUs
  •  
    Video Audit
    Available
 
 

Course Description

Philosophy, often shrouded in mystery and misconception, stands as a cornerstone in the pursuit of understanding the complexities of human existence. Far from being a mere academic exercise, philosophy permeates every aspect of our lives, shaping our understanding of existence, the nature of reality, the possibilities of knowledge, and the foundations of ethical behavior.

At its core, philosophy seeks to unravel the intricacies of existence. It asks profound questions: What does it mean to exist? What is the nature of reality? How do we come to know what we know? These questions have been pondered by thinkers from the ancient times to the present, reflecting humanity's enduring quest for understanding.

One of the central themes in philosophy is the exploration of reality itself. This includes metaphysical inquiries about the nature of the universe, the relationship between mind and matter, and the fundamental structure of reality. Philosophers have long debated whether our understanding of reality is shaped by our perceptions or if there exists an objective reality independent of our experience.

Another significant aspect of philosophy is epistemology, the study of knowledge. Here, philosophers investigate the nature and scope of knowledge, asking how we acquire it, and what it means to know something. The evolution of epistemology has seen a range of theories, from empiricism, which emphasizes the role of experience in knowledge acquisition, to rationalism, which posits that reason is the primary source of knowledge.

The philosophy of mind, a relatively recent field, delves into the nature of consciousness and the relationship between the mind and the body. This area of study is particularly relevant in today's world, where advances in neuroscience and artificial intelligence continually challenge our understanding of consciousness and self-awareness.

Ethics, a critical branch of philosophy, deals with questions of morality and human behavior. It seeks to define what is right and wrong and explores the principles that should guide our actions. Philosophers have proposed various ethical theories, such as utilitarianism, which advocates for actions that maximize overall happiness, and deontology, which focuses on the morality of actions themselves rather than their consequences.

In addition to these areas, philosophy also encompasses logic, the rigorous analysis of argumentation and reasoning. Logic serves as the foundation for rational discourse and critical thinking, essential skills in any field of study or profession.

Philosophy's influence extends to social and political thought as well. Social and political philosophy examines the nature of justice, the rights of individuals versus the needs of the community, and the principles underlying political institutions. This field has become increasingly relevant in our globalized world, where diverse cultures and political systems interact and sometimes clash.

One of the most intriguing aspects of philosophy is its engagement with unsolved problems and paradoxes. These intellectual puzzles challenge our understanding and push the boundaries of philosophical thought. They serve not only as points of academic interest but also as catalysts for deeper reflection and inquiry.

Throughout history, great philosophers have shaped the way we think about these fundamental questions. From the ancient Greeks like Plato and Aristotle, who laid the foundations of Western philosophy, to modern thinkers who have challenged and expanded these ideas, the legacy of these philosophers is immeasurable. Their contributions have not only advanced philosophical thought but have also had profound implications in other fields such as science, politics, and the arts.

In recent times, the study of philosophy has been enriched by the integration of diverse perspectives. Philosophers from different cultures and backgrounds bring new insights and challenge traditional Western paradigms. This inclusivity has led to a more comprehensive and nuanced understanding of philosophical issues.

The relevance of philosophy in the modern world cannot be overstated. In an era of rapid technological advancement and complex societal challenges, philosophical inquiry helps us navigate ethical dilemmas, question assumptions, and develop critical thinking skills. Whether in the realm of artificial intelligence, bioethics, or social justice, philosophical perspectives provide essential guidance and clarity.

In conclusion, philosophy, far from being an abstract or irrelevant discipline, is deeply integrated into the fabric of our lives. It empowers us to examine the fundamental questions of existence, ethics, knowledge, and reality. By engaging with philosophical thought, we not only enrich our understanding of the world but also develop the critical thinking and analytical skills essential for responsible citizenship and personal growth. Philosophy, therefore, is not just an academic pursuit, but a vital tool for navigating the complexities of our ever-changing world.

Course Motivation

Philosophy Is Everywhere!

There is a feeling in modern popular culture that philosophy is a discipline of purely historical value or, if it is still in practice today, it is only engaged in by those with multiple graduate degrees on university campuses or various academic think tanks around the world. While there may be some truth to both of these views, the fact is that philosophy is much more common and pervasive than that.

The fact is, most people deal with philosophical issues every day, whether or not they recognize them as such. For example, most have an idea of what makes actions right or wrong, what types of things (or people) they find attractive, the value of learning, whether or not there is a God or ultimate authority in the universe, and so forth. Granted, most will not deem their thoughts on these issues as "doing philosophy", but these issues (and many others) are more than tangential parts of most human beings' lives.

A great deal of popular culture is built on philosophical observations and famous quotations from the philosophers of the near and distant past. "The unexamined life is not worth living" (Socrates/Plato), "God is dead" (Nietzsche), "What goes around comes around" (an American summation of the Buddhist concept of karma), "finding my soul mate" (Plato), and many others.

While this type of popular usage is fine, it is not true philosophy, but an altered, shorthand version. Thus, this course will periodically use some of these references as a springboard to the more refined concepts that birthed them.

 

Course Lessons

Average Lesson Rating:
4.7 / 5 Stars (Average Rating)
"Extraordinarily Helpful"
(1,623 votes)
  • Lesson 1: What is Philosophy?

    This lesson will present a working definition for philosophy that will be used throughout this course, as well as the major sub-disciplines within the field of philosophy.
  • Lesson 2: Coming to Terms: A Philosophical Lexicon, Part I

    A proper understanding of philosophy requires at least a basic familiarity with some of the most commonly-used words and phrases in the philosophical lexicon.
  • Lesson 3: A Manner of Speaking: A Philosophical Lexicon, Part II

    In the continuing study of the terms and concepts central to the study of philosophy, this section completes the glossary of terms for this introductory course.
  • Lesson 4: Metaphysics

    From a purely linguistic standpoint, metaphysics is a combination of two root words: meta (meaning "more than") and physics (which refers to the physical world that surrounds us).
  • Lesson 5: Epistemology

    The major concepts and issues related to epistemology will be presented briefly in the following sections of this lesson
  • Lesson 6: Philosophy of Mind

    In this lesson, the basic concepts and schools of thought related to philosophy of mind will be presented.
  • Lesson 7: Philosophy of Religion

    This lesson will briefly touch on these questions within the philosophy of religion.
  • Lesson 8: Ethics, Part I

    This lesson will discuss the basic nature of ethics, including the specialized concepts unique to the field.
  • Lesson 9: Ethics, Part II

    A continuation of our consideration of ethics, this lesson provides a brief overview of some of the major ethical schools of thought within philosophy.
  • Lesson 10: Logic

    This lesson will discuss the basic concepts of classical logic and touch briefly on the more recent development of symbolic logic.
  • Lesson 11: Social & Political Philosophy

    This lesson concentrates on the philosophical sub-discipline of political and social philosophy and the issues related to it.
  • Lesson 12: Unsolved Problems & Paradoxes in Philosophy

    This lesson delves into some of the more entertaining mental conundrums that pervade philosophy, but is by no means exhaustive.
  • Lesson 13: An Overview of the Great Philosophers

    This lesson provides a brief overview of the major philosophers throughout history.
 

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Define what philosophy is.
  • Describe the philosophical lexicon.
  • Summarize metaphysics.
  • Summarize epistemology.
  • Describe philosophy of mind.
  • Describe philosophy of religion.
  • Summarize ethics in relation to philosophy.
  • Describe logic and how it is used in philosophy.
  • Summarize social and political philosophy.
  • Identify unsolved problems and paradoxes in philosophy.
  • Summarize the works of the great philosophers.
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.
 

Additional Course Information

Online CEU Certificate
  • Document Your Lifelong Learning Achievements
  • Earn an Official Certificate Documenting Course Hours and CEUs
  • Verify Your Certificate with a Unique Serial Number Online
  • View and Share Your Certificate Online or Download/Print as PDF
  • Display Your Certificate on Your Resume and Promote Your Achievements Using Social Media
Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
 
Course Title: Philosophy 101
Course Number: 7550466
Lessons Rating: 4.7 / 5 Stars (1,623 votes)
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Availability: This course is online and available in all 50 states including: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas.
Last Updated: September 2023
Course Type: Self-Paced, Online Class
CEU Value: 1.2 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Syllabus: View Syllabus

Student Testimonials

  • "The instructor encouraged my learning capabilities with challenging thoughts along wide of my own in each of the essays. I loved it." -- Marshall G.
  • "Professor McKenna was extraordinary in his prompt followups and thought-provoking comments, but usually quite encouraging to me to continue studying the course." -- Richard E.
  • "Mac was amazing. He and I had many conversations though email. I wish that he was offering a follow up to this course." -- Beth Y.
  • "I think the course was great and very comprehensive." -- Tony A.
  • "Great experience with you." -- Yasar S.
  • "Good instructor. I enjoyed the course!" -- Carlos C.
  • "Every part of the course added to my knowledge and understanding of philosophy." -- Adam B.
  • "Instructor was great; responded quickly, very fair, enjoyable to work with. also enjoyed the way it was broken down by categories - logic, ethics, religion, social and political, etc.; I thought the terms and definitions were excellent." -- Mark D.
  • "I will be taking Greek Mythology with this same Instructor next." -- Robert K.
  • "This is my first philosophy course. No previous experience. Found the content excellent. Easy to follow and understand. Feedback always encouraging which was a great help. Really enjoyed it all. I am converted. I thought philosophy was intense and difficult but I found it interesting, easy to follow. I realize I have only made a small start but it was every encouraging. Will go further with this subject." -- Frankie S.