This philosophy course has two goals. The first goal is to introduce you to the things that philosophers think about. We will look at some perennial philosophical problems:
- Is there a God?
- What is knowledge, and how do we get it?
- What is the place of our consciousness in the physical world?
- Do we have free will?
- How do we persist over time, as our bodily and psychological traits change?
The second goal is to get you thinking philosophically yourself. This will help you develop your critical reasoning and argumentative skills more generally. Along the way we will draw from late, great classical authors and influential contemporary figures.
To help enhance your learning experience, this course offers instructor grading. If you choose to pursue a verified certificate, a professional philosopher will carefully read, grade and comment upon your work. Though all residential philosophy courses at MIT, and other major universities, offer instructor grading, this is an innovation in the world of MOOCs. Students will test their ideas against, and receive individual advice from, professional philosophers. We believe that this is the best way to learn philosophy.
Verified learners will be eligible for the MITx Philosophy Award and (for students presently in high school) the MITx High School Philosophy Award. The awards will be given for outstanding written work by the MIT Philosophy Department. In addition, award winners will be profiled on the MIT Philosophy website. Please see the FAQ section below for the link to more information on the MITx Philosophy Award.
NOTE: Enrollment for instructor grading will be capped.