Introduction to philosophy

I decided to sign up for the Introduction to Philosophy MOOC (that’s massive open online course) being run by the University of Edinburgh. The course starts on Monday 28th January and runs for 7 weeks and during that time about 30,000+ students will be engaging in learning and discussing philosophy.

The main focus is on the following areas:

  • Epistemology, our knowledge of the world and ourselves consists in, and how we come to have it;
  • Philosophy of science, conceptual issues in scientific research and practice;
  • Philosophy of Mind, what it means for something to have a mind, and how minds should be understood and explained;
  • Moral Philosophy,  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,  fundamental conceptual questions about the nature of reality.

(Edinburgh University, 2013,

What’s my motivation?

Well I am in the final six months of writing and due to submit my thesis for a viva in July this year. Therefore I thought a brush up of my knowledge of philosophy might come in useful as well as allowing me to practice articulating my own philosophical way of being.

How do MOOCs work?

Basically, anyone can sign up for a MOOC. There are plenty on offer these days and they seem to the the biggest revolution in education in the past few years. I am a bit concerned about interacting with so many people. There the course platform hosted on coursera, but participants are often encouraged to use social media also, so you can find people discussion their MOOC on blogs, twitter, google, facebook etc. For me, I will likely stick to the course platform, twitter and my blog. I just can’t get to grips with google+ yet and facebook, I keep for non-work social stuff.

I hope to blog about my experiences of the MOOC on this blog, but if you are reading this and think, “that sounds interesting” why not join in, it’s free.