So last month I announced my desire to teach non-matriculated online philosophy classes and set up a survey for interested people to fill out. I’m very grateful that Ed Brayton and Richard Wade also publicized my survey. I have received a heartening amount of interest and tentatively scheduled 5 online courses for you to choose from. If I get enough students any or all of these could run. Slight changes to the schedule might be made if it makes the difference in getting as many interested people a chance to participate as possible.
Write me at camels with hammers at gmail dot com in order to sign up for a course or two from the list below this paragraph. I plan to run this first set of courses for 20 weeks from January 22-June 8, with 2 free extra “make up” sessions held June 15-June 27. All students will be welcome to attend “make up” sessions, even those who did not miss two sessions. Since I plan to start up in less than two weeks, it’s time to commit if you want in. The rate is $30/session for 20 sessions, plus the two free “make up” sessions. I’m asking everyone who signs up to pay for the first two sessions in advance and then the rest of the semester before the third session so that I have firm commitments. If you’re unsure whether this is for you, I am available to chat on Google Hangout for free Saturday or other times that you schedule with me in private. Please write me to inquire about such a meeting (which may also include others). Courses will be usually be filled on a first come, first serve basis. In some cases, however, some people who have already filled out the survey can only take a course in a given time slot. In those cases, they will have first priority. Please only sign up if you are confident you will follow through and can afford the classes. There are a few people who have expressed interest in graciously covering half the tuition of a financially disadvantaged person or a student, so you may inquire about that even if you’re short on funds as long as you let me know that when you write.
Here are the courses that I will run if I have enough students:
Tuesdays 9PM-11PM (North American Eastern Time Zone) FOUNDATIONS OF ETHICS
An introductory ethics course devoted to the philosophical nature and reality of morality; e.g., questions about whether or how morality is a matter for truth, objectivity, and binding force or not, rather than about how we should live our lives.
Thursdays 10AM-noon (North American Eastern Time Zone) SURVEY OF ETHICS
An introductory overview of practical ethical systems, the rational foundations of morality, and moral psychology.
Fridays 10PM-midnight (North American Eastern Time Zone) PHILOSOPHY FOR ATHEISTS
This course would be a hybrid between an atheistic philosophy of religion/counter-apologetics course and an introduction to the major philosophical topics through the lens of how they have bearing on counter-apologetics. Essentially this course would double as an introductory topical survey course and training for answering the philosophical challenges that religious people typically raise in arguments. There would also be some familiarization with great atheistic philosophers from history (e.g., Nietzsche, Feuerbach, Hume, Spinoza, etc.).
A textual and systematic study of Nietzsche. Weekly we would read aloud together selections from Nietzsche’s work. I would give my interpretations of what Nietzsche is saying in each selection and suggest ways that we might see his larger philosophical vision unfolding through each selection. And students would participate by offering their own thoughts inspired by the text.
Sundays 12pm-2pm (North American Eastern Time Zone) HISTORICAL PHILOSOPHY
A philosopher-by-philosopher study of the history of philosophy. If I run this course I would want to make it a thorough year long experience with students committed to going from the Pre-Socratics to the present day with me, starting in one month and running for 12 total.
Please write me back as soon as possible to let me know whether you are going to commit to one of the above winter/spring courses. By Tuesday I hope to know I have enough students for each course and to make any adjustments if I do not. I also hope by then to be able to e-mail everyone who is on board with any applicable paper work and arrange for payment. Students can be added after Tuesday, so you can sign up later. But I might cancel under-enrolled classes before then, so please get in touch sooner rather than later so I don’t cancel a class you are interested in prematurely.
On Saturday I will be available to chat in a Google hangout and answer any and all questions you might have, so write me to schedule a time that I should be there to meet with you. If you have reservations or concerns before committing, you can talk to me about them at that time or in an e-mail. Here is my Google hangout page so you can add me to a circle: https://plus.google.com/108016842008325960638/posts I am going to go ahead and add all the people who have already given me a gmail account to a circle of potential online students. Please link me to your google+ account if are interested in joining me at some point on Saturday or interested in taking a course at all. If you do not yet have a google+ account you will need one anyway to take the course. Let me know your profile as well so I make sure to add you to the circle of potential/actual online students, if I have not already. Getting a Google+ account is as free and easy as getting a Facebook account. If you are at all uncertain you want to go through with the full 20 weeks, please use Saturday as an opportunity to feel out what a course would be like.
Thanks again to all those who have expressed interest or who still will! Please be in touch with any and all concerns. I will be focused on getting these courses set up as a major priority over the next two weeks. If you think you’d like to take a course in the future but can’t this coming winter/spring session, then fill out the survey so I know what you can do and can try to accommodate you when the time comes.