A few weeks ago I talked about what a great experience I have had this semester teaching online philosophy classes outside the university system with students that I found through Facebook and Camels With Hammers. I also gave an interview about the experience and about my ideas for the future of philosophical counseling. And I asked those interested in participating in future classes, whether this summer or later, fill out this survey so that I could build courses around their availability and interests.
The response to all of this was deeply gratifying. And I have meticulously worked out a schedule of classes, 5 of which will start in June and 1 of which will start in July, that I hope is the most likely to meet the interests of those who have already filled out a survey. If you would like me to build future classes specifically around your interests and availability, please fill out the new streamlined, more precise, and more thorough survey!
Below are the courses available this summer, followed by more detailed descriptions of their content. All you need to do to sign up is e-mail me at camelswithhammers at gmail dot com to tell me you’re enrolling and your place will be reserved. In a couple days I will start sending out the formal agreements stating all the terms of the class and as long as you fill that out you will be fully enrolled. The courses each cost $16/hour for a 40 hour commitment spread over a varying number of sessions depending on the specific course’s schedule. Even if money is tight, please let me know if you’re interested in taking something. I just started announcing these classes last night and already two students have offered to pay scholarships of half another student’s tuition. I can’t tell you how grateful and excited that makes me. Last semester one student also had their tuition half paid by a generous benefactor. So write me to let me know if you need help. And if you write to enroll and think you can chip in the $320 for half a tuition of a student or financially struggling person, let me know.
Please be in touch as soon as you know you’re ready to commit or to let me know when you’ll know whether you can commit.
Philosophy for Atheists, Sunday nights 8-11pm EDT from June 2-September 1 (13 week course).
Nietzsche, Tuesday/Thursday nights 7-9pm EDT from June 4-August 15 (10 week course).
Foundations of Ethics, Thursday nights 9pm-12am EDT from June 6-September 5 (13 week course).
Practical Ethics, Sundays 9-11:30am EDT from June 2-September 22 (16 week course)
Historical Philosophy, Aristotle to the Present, Sundays 12-2pm EDT from June 2-October 20 (20 week course with students already taking it who are presently finishing studying Plato with me. You would join us as we start Aristotle and continue on through the rest of the history of philosophy. If you want, we can do special sessions on Plato for two or three weeks right after the normal class is over.)
Practical Ethics, Friday evenings 5:15-7:45pm EDT from July 6-October 26 (16 week course)
PHILOSOPHY FOR ATHEISTS
Sunday nights 8-11pm EDT from June 2-September 1 (13 week course).
This is a flexible course, responsive to student interests, which has three primary objectives it meets. (1) It introduces major topics in philosophy in a way accessible to philosophical novices. (2) It overviews important areas of historical philosophy with which generally educated people should be familiar. (3) It analyzes major issues in theology and philosophy of religion from an openminded but generally skeptical, atheistic perspective and trains students hoping to engage with theists in counter-apologetic ideas and strategies. No prior knowledge of philosophy is required or will be assumed. There is no college credit whatsoever given for taking this course. There is no college credit whatsoever given for taking this course.
Tuesday/Thursday nights 7-9pm EDT from June 4-August 15 (10 week course).
This course, which draws heavily on my years working on Nietzsche in preparation of my doctoral dissertation, begins with an overview lecture on Nietzsche’s philosophy that integrates his thoughts on numerous topics into a coherent overall picture. From there students are assigned portions of various key books Nietzsche wrote and then during class periods we read sections aloud together and as a group we discuss them, and whatever broader themes they raise, in an open-ended way. Students are encouraged (though not required) to select for themselves some of the sections for discussion based on what they find most stimulating in the readings. No prior knowledge of philosophy or Nietzsche is required or will be assumed. There is no college credit whatsoever given for taking this course.
Thursday nights 9pm-12am EDT from June 6-September 5 (13 week course).
A highly theoretical course delving into the nature of moral reality. This course will deals in depth with numerous questions about whether, or in what ways, we might say morality is real or unreal, objective or subjective, a matter of transcendent truth or of cultural or individual construction, etc. We will talk about whether there can be such a thing as moral knowledge and, if so, how it might prove itself. We will talk about the nature of moral language and whether it even intends to refer to facts or whether it aims at something wholly different. We will talk about what, if anything, can make a norm binding on a will with legitimate, moral, authority. No prior knowledge of philosophy or moral philosophy is required or will be assumed. There is no college credit whatsoever given for taking this course.
PRACTICAL ETHICS 2 DIFFERENT CLASS SECTIONS
Sundays 9-11:30am EDT from June 2-September 22 (16 week course).
Fridays 5:15-7:45pm EDT from July 6-October 26 (16 week course).
This course will explore major ethical traditions in the history of (primarily) Western thought and raise many lively topics in applied ethics for open-ended discussion. The topics, both preplanned and spontaneously discussed, will often vary with both the stated and manifested interests of the course participants. Expected topics will likely include
(a) what it means to live a good life
(b) how we should understand the natures of various virtues and vices
(c) how we should determine what legitimately binding moral rules are
(d) what makes for a good person and/or a good action
(e) how we should deal with the problems that cultural relativism poses to moral legitimacy
(f) what the proper roles are for the emotions, pleasure, autonomy, social relationships, consequences, and other moral factors in our best moral reasoning
(g) the interactions between religion, atheism, death, meaning, and ethics
(h) how we should go about resolving difficult moral dilemma cases
(i) how we should make moral sense of findings in contemporary moral psychology
(j) how we should understand the relevance of nature (including the fact that we are products of evolution) to our understanding of who we are and what our ethics should be
(k) how we might answer difficult contemporary “applied ethics” problems that arise in modern society that concern gender, sexuality, technology, medicine, social change, criminal justice, animal rights, political economy, etc.
No prior knowledge of philosophy or moral philosophy is required or will be assumed. There is no college credit whatsoever given for taking this course.
Sunday 12-2pm EDT from June 2-October 20 (20 week course).
This course looks at the history of philosophy through one major philosopher or movement at a time. Two students have spent the last three months studying Plato with me. Sign up for this course and you will join them and me in studying the rest of the history of philosophy, starting with Aristotle and continuing through the medieval, modern, 19th Century, 20th Century, and contemporary eras in philosophy. The course may take more than 20 weeks to get all the way to the contemporary era. But you will only need to make a 20 week commitment. If you would like to also catch up on Plato, I will work out a few sessions on him at our mutual convenience. No prior knowledge of philosophy is required or will be assumed. There is no college credit whatsoever given for taking this course.
Remember to write me at camelswithhammers at gmail dot com with any questions or concerns or in order to enroll! And remember to fill out the survey if these courses do not meet your interests or availability but you are interested in studying with me if I can devise courses that do in future months.