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Course Report

100+ Philosophy Online Courses You Can Take for Free

A wide selection of online courses to explore philosophy ⁠— from ethics, to logic, to famous philosophers.

Philosophy has been studied for thousands of years, with rich strands of tradition spanning time and cultures from East to West. But in our current technological age, does philosophy still matter?

We think philosophy is as important now as ever. And we don’t mean just metaphysics, like asking ourselves “What’s the meaning of life?“. One need only turn on the news to see ethical questions in the balance on the daily. Critical thinking and logic are essential to effectively address these questions.

And new insights emerging from the intersection of philosophy and science are helping us understand ourselves more deeply — for instance, shedding some light on cognition and consciousness, but also, inextricably raising more questions.

Philosophy is above all a method to systematically inquire about questions. It’s a toolset to explore and build knowledge, but also, find appeasement through approaches ranging from argumentative dialogue to mindfulness. And like any expansive discipline, philosophy has many branches.

In this articles, we’ve compiled a series of online courses to help you explore the many facets of philosophy.

Subjects

For your convenience, we’ve broken down the list by topic. Click on a subject to jump to the corresponding section:

More Courses

And if you don’t find what you need below, have a look at our other collections of scientific courses:

You can find all our course collections here.


Introductory Philosophy Online Courses

Introduction to Philosophy
University of Edinburgh via Coursera
This course will introduce you to some of the main areas of research in contemporary philosophy. Each module a different philosopher will talk you through some of the most important questions and issues in their area of expertise.
★★★★☆ (74 ratings)

Comprendere la filosofia
University of Naples Federico II via edX
Un viaggio nella storia della filosofia tra passato e presente
★★★★★ (23 ratings)

Introduction to Philosophy: God, Knowledge and Consciousness
Massachusetts Institute of Technology via edX
Learn how to ask and answer big questions. Pursue a verified certificate to have your work graded and commented upon by professional philosophers.
★★★★★ (10 ratings)

Effective Altruism
Princeton University via Coursera
Effective altruism is built on the simple but unsettling idea that living a fully ethical life involves doing the most good one can. In this course you will examine this idea’s philosophical underpinnings; meet remarkable people who have restructured their lives in accordance with it; and think about how effective altruism can be put into practice in your own life. All the features of this course are available for free. It does not offer a certificate upon completion.
★★★★☆ (11 ratings)

Relativism
University of California, Irvine via Coursera
In this course, learners will: Explore the concept of Relativism Discuss the role of Relativism in contemporary society. Identify common responses to Relativism Compare/Contrast various forms of Relativism. Recognize how epistemic relativism can be used to explain important events in the history of science and crucial discoveries in anthropology. And create a presentation with your personal perspective on one of the forms of relativism.
★★★★☆ (1 rating)

Thought Experiments: An introduction to philosophy
Erasmus University Rotterdam via Coursera
Doing philosophy is like seeing a movie and wondering what will happen next, or what you would do in the same situation, or what’s real and what’s merely make-believe. You’re probably not aware of it, but since you already know how to see movies and use your imagination, you’re well on your way to becoming a good philosopher. The only thing you still need and want to develop though, is the ability to use your imagination in the philosophical way, and that’s exactly what you’ll learn in this MOOC.

Skepticism
University of California, Irvine via Coursera
This course is aimed at anyone who is interested in learning more about philosophy, along with those who are looking for strategies to combat extremism in their communities. Using these approaches, no matter what your skill levels in topics you would like to master, you can change your thinking and change your life. In this course, learners will: Explore the concept of Skepticism Discuss the role of Skepticism in contemporary society Identify common responses to Skepticism Compare/Contrast various forms of Skepticism Apply knowledge of Skepticism to form a personal stance Recognize why knowledge is more than just true belief

Ethics & Society Online Courses

Moralities of Everyday Life
Yale University via Coursera
How can we explain kindness and cruelty? Where does our sense of right and wrong come from? Why do people so often disagree about moral issues? This course explores the psychological foundations of our moral lives.
★★★★★ (42 ratings)

Justice
Harvard University via edX
This introduction to moral and political philosophy is one of the most popular courses taught at Harvard College.
★★★★★ (50 ratings)

Philosophy, Science and Religion: Philosophy and Religion
University of Edinburgh via Coursera
This course, entitled ‘Philosophy and Religion’, is the second of three related courses in our Philosophy, Science and Religion Online series, and in this course we will ask important questions about the age-old debate between science and religion.
★★★★☆ (23 ratings)

Unethical Decision Making in Organizations
University of Lausanne via Coursera
This course ‘Unethical decision making in organizations : A seminar on the dark side of the force’ will teach you how strong organizational contexts push good people towards unethical decisions. You will also learn how to protect yourself and your organization against such forces lurking in the dark.
★★★★☆ (6 ratings)

Power and Responsibility: Doing Philosophy with Superheroes
Harvard University via edX
Pow! Bang! Kaboom! Power and Responsibility: Doing Philosophy with Superheroes, a SmithsonianX and Harvard Division of Continuing Education course, blends superheroes narratives with the core areas of philosophy.
★★★★★ (1 rating)

Global Ethics: An Introduction
The Open University via FutureLearn
Explore the key ethical theories surrounding global challenges and learn how philosophy can be used to address these problems.

Introduction to Ethics: Moral Problems and the Good Life
Massachusetts Institute of Technology via edX
A rigorous introduction to ethics. We’ll think about well-being, objectivity, key historical figures and approaches, what we owe to others, and more.

Spirituality & Enlightenment Online Courses

A Life of Happiness and Fulfillment
Indian School of Business via Coursera
This course draws content from a variety of fields, including psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral decision theory to offer a tested and practical recipe for leading a life of happiness and fulfillment.
★★★★★ (508 ratings)

Success: Practical Thinking Skills
Hong Kong Polytechnic University via edX
This award-winning course aims to sharpen your competitive edge in work and life. It empowers you with positive values and practical problem-solving skills, including creative strategies for addressing challenges from COVID-19. Enriched with interesting animations, a new success story and breakthrough pedagogies, this updated version (2.5) effectively helps you master knowledge and skills requisite for a successful life.
★★★★★ (59 ratings)

Perdón y reconciliación: cómo sanar heridas
The Pontificia Universidad Javeriana via edX
Aprende las herramientas básicas, teóricas y prácticas para perdonar y sanar heridas mediante la reconciliación. Este curso en línea ofrecerá propuestas de colaboración y dialogo entre actores enfrentados.
★★★★★ (23 ratings)

Finding Purpose and Meaning In Life: Living for What Matters Most
University of Michigan via Coursera
Welcome to Finding Purpose and Meaning in Life: Living for What Matters Most!
★★★★★ (4 ratings)

Mindfulness and Well-being: Living with Balance and Ease
Rice University via Coursera
Living with Balance and Ease will not only cover some of the fundamentals of mindfulness, but will focus on connecting to the innate resources and abilities that will allow for a more effective response to life’s challenges, build resiliency, and invite peace and ease into everyday life. Although this course can be taken as a standalone, it is recommended to take the first Foundations of Mindfulness course before beginning this course.
★★★★★ (1 rating)

Know Thyself – The Value and Limits of Self-Knowledge: The Examined Life
University of Edinburgh via Coursera
According to legend, inscribed on walls of the temple on the sacred site of Delphi in Ancient Greece were two premier injunctions: NOTHING IN EXCESS, and KNOW THYSELF. This course will be an examination of the latter injunction in an effort to discover what self-knowledge is, why it might be valuable, and what, if any, limitations it might face.
★★★★★ (30 ratings)

Death with Shelly Kagan
Yale University via YouTube
This course will examine a number of issues that arise once we begin to reflect on our mortality.

Logic & Reasoning Online Courses

Critical Thinking at University: An Introduction
University of Leeds via FutureLearn
Critical thinking is a vital skill for university study whatever your discipline. Prepare for university now.
★★★★★ (138 ratings)

Think Again I: How to Understand Arguments
Duke University via Coursera
In this course, you will learn what an argument is. The definition of argument will enable students to identify when speakers are giving arguments and when they are not. Next, we will learn how to break an argument into its essential parts, how to put them in order to reveal their connections, and how to fill in gaps in an argument. By the end of this course, students will be better able to understand and appreciate arguments that they and other people present.
★★★★☆ (11 ratings)

Philosophy and Critical Thinking
University of Queensland via edX
META101x: Thinking about thinking.
★★★★☆ (5 ratings)

Paradox and Infinity
Massachusetts Institute of Technology via edX
This is a class about awe-inspiring issues at the intersection between philosophy and mathematics.
★★★★☆ (5 ratings)

Language, Proof and Logic
Stanford University via edX
The fundamental question that we will address in this course is “when does one statement necessarily follow from another” — or in the terminology of the course, “when is one statement a logical consequence of another”. This is an issue of some importance, since an answer to the question would allow us to examine an argument presented in a blog, for example, and to decide whether it really demonstrates the truth of the conclusion of the argument. Our own reasoning might also improve, since we would also be able to analyze our own arguments to see whether they really do demonstrate their conclusions.
★★★★★ (2 ratings)

Reasoning Across the Disciplines
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill via Coursera
This course will help you understand what critical thinking skills are and why they’re so important. You will also learn how critical thinking skills vary across disciplines, as well as see them applied across several fields, including, chemistry, history, psychology, law, English, and American Studies. You will develop your own critical thinking skills by working through scenarios or problems posed by scholars across these fields, and you will better understand how your college courses will differ from your earlier education.
★★★★★ (1 rating)

Semantics of First-Order Logic
Stanford University via edX
First-order logic is a restricted, formalized language which is particularly suited to the precise expression of ideas. The language has uses in many disciplines including computer science, mathematics, linguistics and artificial intelligence. We will describe how to write sentences in the language, how to determine when a sentence is true in a particular situation, how to recognize important relationships between sentences, and describe some limitations of the language.

Philosophy & Culture Online Courses

The Path to Happiness: What Chinese Philosophy Teaches us about the Good Life
Harvard University via edX
Why should we care about Confucius? Explore ancient Chinese philosophy, ethics, and political theory to challenge your assumptions of what it means to be happy, live a meaningful life, and change the world.

Introduction to Korean Philosophy and Culture
Sungkyunkwan University via Coursera
This course will give you the cultural and historical background to begin your journey into Korean philosophy, and there is no prerequisite knowledge on philosophy required. Anybody who either has an interest in Korean culture, maybe through K-Dramas or K-pop, or an interest in philosophy from a cross-cultural perspective, are all welcome. Despite the growing interest in Korean culture, there are few courses which explore the fascinating topic of Korean philosophy.
★★★★★ (1 rating)

Chinese Thought: Ancient Wisdom Meets Modern Science
The University of British Columbia via edX
An introduction to early Chinese thought, exploring connections among Chinese thought and Western philosophy, modern science and everyday life.
★★★★☆ (5 ratings)

Introduction to Korean Philosophy
Sungkyunkwan University via FutureLearn
Get to grips with Korean philosophy as you dive into Korean history and culture with Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea.
★★★★☆ (1 rating)

New Horizons in Chinese Philosophy | 中国哲学新视野
Tsinghua University via edX
This course is an introduction to classical Chinese thoughts advanced by Confucius, Mozi, Laozi, Zhuangzi, Mencius, Xunzi, Hanfeizi and other legalist thinkers. It is designed for those who are interested in philosophy and curious about Chinese culture.

China’s Political and Intellectual Foundations: From Sage Kings to Confucius
Harvard University via edX
Learn about China’s origins, its integral early thinkers, and competing states and schools of thought.

Philosophy & Science Online Courses

Philosophy and the Sciences: Introduction to the Philosophy of Physical Sciences
University of Edinburgh via Coursera
What is the origin of our universe? What are dark matter and dark energy? This is the first part of the course ‘Philosophy and the Sciences’, dedicated to Philosophy of the Physical Sciences. Scientific research across the physical sciences has raised pressing questions for philosophers. The goal of this course is to introduce you to some of the main areas and topics at the key juncture between philosophy and the physical sciences.
★★★★★ (9 ratings)

Intellectual Humility: Science
University of Edinburgh via Coursera
It’s clear that the world needs more intellectual humility. But how do we develop this virtue? And why do so many people still end up so arrogant? Do our own biases hold us back from becoming as intellectually humble as we could be—and are there some biases that actually make us more likely to be humble? Which cognitive dispositions and personality traits give people an edge at being more intellectually humble – and are they stable from birth, learned habits, or something in between? And what can contemporary research on the emotions tell us about encouraging intellectual humility in ourselves and others?
★★★★★ (9 ratings)

Question Reality! Science, philosophy, and the search for meaning
Dartmouth College via edX
What is reality? Explore how physics and philosophy have changed our perspective on the nature of the universe, matter, and mind over time.
★★★★☆ (4 ratings)

Philosophy and the Sciences: Introduction to the Philosophy of Cognitive Sciences
University of Edinburgh via Coursera
The goal of this course is to introduce you to some of the main areas and topics at the key juncture between philosophy and the cognitive sciences. Each week we will introduce you to some of these important questions at the forefront of scientific research. We will explain the science behind each topic in a simple, non-technical way, while also addressing the philosophical and conceptual questions arising from it.
★★★★★ (3 ratings)

Minds and Machines
Massachusetts Institute of Technology via edX
An introduction to philosophy of mind, exploring consciousness, reality, AI, and more. The most in-depth philosophy course available online.
★★★☆☆ (4 ratings)

Philosophy, Science and Religion: Science and Philosophy
University of Edinburgh via Coursera
The course will address four themes each presented by guest lecturers: 1. Are Science and Religion in conflict? (Professor Michael Murray, Franklin & Marshall) 2. Neuroscience and Free Will (Professor Al Mele, Florida State) 3. Creationism and Evolutionary Biology–Science or Pseudo-science? (Dr. Mark Harris and Dr. David de Pomerai, University of Edinburgh) 4. Do Scientific claims constitute absolute truths? (Professor Martin Kusch, University of Vienna)
★★★☆☆ (1 rating)

Philosophy of Science
University of Pennsylvania via Coursera
For the last four centuries, scientists have aimed to provide us with an understanding of the world around us. By all appearances, science has made substantial progress during this time. But is this progress real or illusory? And if it is real, how has this progress been made? This four-week course will consider these important questions. Specific topics will include how scientists generate knowledge through observations, experiments, and simulations; scientific objectivity and failures of scientific objectivity; the self-correcting nature of the scientific community; the positive and negative influences that values can have on science; the relationship between science and religion; and the role of the public in guiding the scientific enterprise.

Jurisprudence: Introduction to the Philosophy of Law
University Of Surrey via FutureLearn
Discover the philosophical underpinnings of the law, from making legal arguments to our moral obligation to obey the law.

Famous Philosophers Online Courses

Ancient Philosophy: Plato & His Predecessors
University of Pennsylvania via Coursera
What is philosophy? How does it differ from science, religion, and other modes of human discourse? This course traces the origins of philosophy in the Western tradition in the thinkers of Ancient Greece. We begin with the Presocratic natural philosophers who were active in Ionia in the 6th century BCE and are also credited with being the first scientists.
★★★★★ (13 ratings)

Søren Kierkegaard – Subjectivity, Irony and the Crisis of Modernity
University of Copenhagen via Coursera
In this course created by former associate professor at the Søren Kierkegaard Research Centre, Jon Stewart, we will explore how Kierkegaard deals with the problems associated with relativism, the lack of meaning and the undermining of religious faith that are typical of modern life. His penetrating analyses are still highly relevant today and have been seen as insightful for the leading figures of Existentialism, Post-Structuralism and Post-Modernism.
★★★★☆ (12 ratings)

China’s Political and Intellectual Foundations: From Sage Kings to Confucius
Harvard University via edX
Learn about China’s origins, its integral early thinkers, and competing states and schools of thought.
★★★★★ (11 ratings)

Ancient Philosophy: Aristotle and His Successors
University of Pennsylvania via Coursera
What is philosophy? How does it differ from science, religion, and other modes of human discourse? This course traces the origins of philosophy in the Western tradition in the thinkers of Ancient Greece. We begin with the Presocratic natural philosophers who were active in Ionia in the 6th century BCE and are also credited with being the first scientists. Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximines made bold proposals about the ultimate constituents of reality, while Heraclitus insisted that there is an underlying order to the changing world. Parmenides of Elea formulated a powerful objection to all these proposals, while later Greek theorists (such as Anaxagoras and the atomist Democritus) attempted to answer that objection.
★★★★☆ (10 ratings)

Introduction à la philosophie de Friedrich Nietzsche
Sorbonne Universités via edX
Bienvenue à la découverte d’une philosophie subversive à l’énergie communicative, pour « esprits libres », comme Nietzsche le revendiquait lui-même.

Reason and Persuasion: Thinking Through Three Dialogues By Plato
National University of Singapore via Coursera
In this course we study the ancient, Socratic art of blowing up your beliefs as you go, to make sure they’re built to last. We spend six weeks studying three Platonic dialogues – “Euthyphro”, “Meno”, “Republic” Book I – then two weeks pondering a pair of footnotes to Plato: contemporary moral theory and moral psychology. Platonic? Socratic? Socrates was the teacher, but he said he never did. Plato was the student who put words in his teacher’s mouth. You’ll get a feel for it.
★★★★☆ (5 ratings)

Plato, Socrates, and the Birth of Western Philosophy | 西方哲学精神探源
Tsinghua University via edX
Explore the works of Plato, Aristotle, Heraclitus and other originators of Western philosophy in an immersive study of ancient Greek and Roman philosophers.

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Bobby Brady

Bobby has successfully utilized MOOCs in his professional career twice, transitioning from the service industry to IT support and then again to Development. He now works full time as an edtech consultant and contractor helping students from all over the world learn React and JavaScript.
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Manoel Cortes Mendez

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Comments 12

  1. leonardwaks

    Philosophy, more than any other discipline, is discursive and heuristic in nature. That is, the didactic component of philosophy teaching – getting the facts across about who said what when – is secondary to the discursive dimension – actually thinking in public contexts, making arguments and having them subjected to criticism, and the heuristic dimension – following models, making intellectual products such as presentations and papers for publication. This presents a challenge to the MOOC community. Scaling up didactics is trivial, but scaling up discussion and modeling is not. There are some successful examples of the latter in the MOOC world. It would be interesting to investigate how successful this set of MOOCs is when considered in this light. Wish I had the time. Hope some philosopher with pedagogical interests takes up this challenge.

    Reply
  2. IdPnSD

    “But in our current technological age, is it still important to study philosophy?” – Was it ever important? Did it do any good to society?

    If we define truth in the following way: (1) Truth must come from the laws of nature only, (2) Nature always demonstrates its laws, (3) Therefore truth must be unique and universal.

    Thus truth must be observed in the demonstrations given by nature, just like Galileo did. Then we can see that there is no room for philosophy, since purpose of philosophy will be to identify the truth. Since truth is unique there cannot be any if-then-else logic. Take a look at the free book on Soul Theory at the blog site
    https://theoryofsouls.wordpress.com/

    Reply
    • Arjan Tupan

      Nice piece of epistemology, which is a field of philosphy. Thereby you prove that philosophy is valuable. By the way, your conclusion is sound, but the premises are debatable. Which, again, is a role for philosophers…

      Reply
      • IdPnSD

        Epistemology – From Wikipedia I find the word means – “Much of the debate in this field
        has focused on the philosophical analysis of the nature of knowledge and how it relates to connected notions such as truth, belief, and justification”.

        Anything is a subject of philosophy – as long as both knowledge and truth are not defined by using the laws of nature. Once you connect or define everything using the laws of nature, then it is no longer epistemology or philosophy. For, both the laws of nature and the objects of nature are unique, and hence there is no room for philosophy.

        “…but the premises are debatable”. Please identify the premises and show why they are debatable.

        Reply
        • Arjan Tupan

          Hahaha, well, this discussion is already philosophy in action. Showing it is needed. In one of the courses listed above, Introduction to Philosophy from Edinburgh University, you will learn that philosophy is “working out the best way to think about things.” Therefore, your premise that philosophy is about finding truth is false. It’s not about finding truth, it’s about finding the best way to think about truth. As your complete argument is based on that premise, your conclusion is false, since the premise is false.
          Then, your other premises can only be true if everybody accepts them to be true, and as there are other theories about truth, there is no one truth about truth. Therefore, your conclusion that there is no room for philosphy can only be false.
          On the other hand, there are probably philosophers who will argue that your conclusion is valid, or sound, because you believe your premises to be true. But, again, that’s a matter for philosophers to decide :).

          Reply
          • IdPnSD

            Looks like your debate is about the definition of “Truth”. But I have mentioned – Anything is a subject of philosophy – as long as both knowledge and truth are not defined by using the laws of nature.

            I am saying the laws of nature is the only truth. Therefore truth must be unique and universal. What is true in USA must be true in China, what is true on earth must be true on mars. What was true million years back, will be true now, and will remain true million years from now. – this means mathematics, physics, economics, philosophy, religions are all false. Because none of them are defined based on nature.

            You are saying my definition of truth is wrong. But you do not give any logic why this definition is wrong. Your logic is –

            “Then, your other premises can only be true if everybody accepts them to be true, and as there are other theories about truth, there is no one truth about truth.” – There was a time when only one person knew the truth, Galileo, everybody else, billions of them, did not know that they did not know. Galileo has shown that the truth must be detected from the nature. Thus I cannot do some mathematics and create truth. Similarly, I cannot do some experiments, in a controlled and isolated environment, in a physics lab, and create truth.

            You bring out the point – everybody has a definition of truth – this will only mean Galileo is still wrong. I have mentioned in the above book that truth is a personal quest. It can only be achieved by yogic meditation. Along that same line, Ayn Rand said – “Truth is not for all men, but only for those who seek it.” Vedas represent the only truth. Because it describes the laws of nature. There is no God in Vedas. Veda is not a religion, the word means science or knowledge. There was a time when Vedas were know all over the world. You can see its influences in Bible and Judaism. Examples of such truths are – reincarnation, yogic power, destiny, soul theory, birth-maturity-death process, eternal recurrence etc. All of them represent eternal truth (Vedas), independent of space and time.

  3. Arjan Tupan

    I can recommend the iversity MOOC Critical Thinking, it fits in the Logic category.

    Reply
  4. Ralphes Bushman

    Great examples, thanks a lot!
    I’m currently making some research for my philosophy essay and this article was very helpful.

    Reply
  5. Cas Ekson

    Greetings Sir/Ma’am
    I like what I find here as it awakened my interest again in Philosophy. I just would like to ask if how can I avail of this course and if there be further studies being offered on line. I am teacher of a public school and I would like to go for further schooling in the field of philosophy, Thanks and God bless the thinkers of humanity.

    Reply
  6. Christina Irene

    interesting

    Reply

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