Here’s The Fall 2014 Schedule! Enroll Today in My Online Philosophy Classes!

New Classes Starting the first week of September!

Write me at camelswithhammers@gmail.com to sign up today!

I have a PhD in Philosophy from Fordham University. I taught over 2,450 students spread across 93 sections of Philosophy during 11 years in university classrooms. In 2005, based on student voting, I earned the Fordham University Graduate Student Association’s Teaching Fellow of the Year award. Now I use interactive video conferencing technology (Google Hangout) to offer affordable, non-matriculated, private philosophy classes to people around the world who are interested in independent learning. Find topics and times here. Full price options here. Sign up by writing me at camelswithhammers@gmail.com.

The way these classes work is that you and your fellow participants video conference with me (using the user friendly and reliable Google Hangout) for a private face to face lecture. These lectures usually only feature relatively short spans of actual lecturing as most of the time is taken up with copious amounts of vigorous and probing class discussion, driven by student interests.These classes are NOT eligible for any college credit whatsoever. They are for people interested in learning for other reasons than college credit. All class sections meet only once a week and last 2.5 hours. Students can take a half class (20 hours class time over ~8-10 weeks depending on absences), a full class (40 hours class time over ~16-20 weeks depending on absences), or continue longer than traditional. Students can also join a class already meeting in progress. (Full details on lengths and more here.) Sign up by writing me at camelswithhammers@gmail.com.

Prices vary depending on whether you want to study for half the time of a traditional college class, for a whole traditional class, for a full year of weekly classes, or a guaranteed 1-on-1 session. Also included in pricing are deals for returning students, special installment options, to take a course with your partner or roommate for no extra charge, get a scholarship, or take a cheap trial before committing to a longer stretch of class time. Sign up by writing me at camelswithhammers@gmail.com.

Below is the table of course offerings you can use to get class descriptions and tentative course times (they’ll become permanent when students commit to them). Remember all class times are listed in the Eastern time zone. If there is no class time that fits your schedule, feel free to write me so we can attempt to work something out.

TOPICAL INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY
ETHICS
NIETZSCHE
PHILOSOPHY FOR ATHEISTS
PHILOSOPHY OF MIND AND LANGUAGE
SOCIAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION
THE HISTORY PHILOSOPHY, ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY TO THE 20TH CENTURY

Classes meet for 2.5 hours a week and run for as many weeks as students remain interested. A traditional college class takes 16 weeks/40 hours. Students wanting such an experience are recommended to buy a Platinum Pass. A half class (8 weeks/20 hours) can be bought with a Silver Pass. Students are most welcome to join a class in progress, using either pass, and I will extend its length to feature enough material (or some repeat material they missed if starting students leave early) in order to go more than just 16 weeks. On any topic there is always that’s worth exploring more than can be fit in a traditional single semester. Students do not have to worry about wasting paid time with absences. They can make up time they’ve paid for in later sessions for no extra cost, or in another course in the future if necessary. Sign up by writing me at camelswithhammers@gmail.com.

No prior knowledge of philosophy is required to take any of the classes. Each class is designed to be rigorous and deep enough for the advanced student and accessible enough for the introductory student. I don’t assume background knowledge in lectures and I adjust my depth level to the needs and abilities of the students present as we go. A student could profitably start or advance their study of philosophy with any of the courses offered. Sign up by writing me at camelswithhammers@gmail.com.

There are no graded assignments and no outside reading will be required. For each class, an anthology (or two) of readings will be recommended for students interested in supplementing class time with independent work. There is no pressure to talk if you don’t feel like it but would rather learn more from listening.  E-mail me at camelswithhammers@gmail.com to inquire about more details or to enroll for classes today. Find the overview of prices here.

Below are course descriptions and times. Either scroll down through each one or use this table of contents.

TOPICAL INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY
ETHICS
NIETZSCHE
PHILOSOPHY FOR ATHEISTS
PHILOSOPHY OF MIND AND LANGUAGE
SOCIAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION
THE HISTORY PHILOSOPHY, ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY TO THE 20TH CENTURY

TOPICAL INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY

This course introduces newcomers to philosophy to a broad array of philosophical concepts and some of the major figures in the history of philosophy. We study philosophical approaches to the Existence of God, Free Will and Determinism, the Mind/Body Problem, Moral Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Language, Social Philosophy (Gender, Race, etc.), Logic, and Epistemology.

Reserve your spot today for the new sections of Topical Introduction to Philosophy which start the first week of September. Sign up either for the new Thursdays 3pm-5:30pm ET section OR the new Wednesdays 6pm-8:30pm ET section OR the new Sundays 5pm-7:30pm ET sectionE-mail me at camelswithhammers@gmail.com to enroll or for more details!

Classes meet for 2.5 hours a week and run for as many weeks as students remain interested. A traditional college class takes 16 weeks/40 hours. Students wanting such an experience are recommended to buy a Platinum Pass. A half class (8 weeks/20 hours) can be bought with a Silver Pass. Students can join a class in progress, make up absences for no extra cost (even in a future semester if necessary), and extend their class beyond the traditional 16 weeks if still interested in the subject. (Full details on class lengths here. Prices are here. Possible help with costs is here.)

ETHICS

The topics in the Ethics class will run the full gamut of philosophical ethics, regularly alternating between highly relevant immediate impact issues in applied ethics to more foundational philosophical questions about the very nature of morality and about whether there is any hope for rational and objective answers about ethical questions. A partial list of topics that will be covered from numerous angles includes:

(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) 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.

(i) whether there can be such a thing as moral knowledge and, if so, how it might prove itself.

(j) the nature of moral language and whether it even intends to refer to facts or whether it aims at something wholly different.

(k) the meaning and ethical value or disvalue of power

(l) how we should go about resolving difficult moral dilemma cases

(m) how we should make moral sense of findings in contemporary moral psychology

(n) 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

(o) how we might answer difficult contemporary “applied ethics” problems that arise in modern society that concern gender, sexuality, technology, medicine, sexual ethics, business ethics, social change, social justice, race, political philosophy, war, religion, criminal justice, animal rights, political economy, drugs, punishment, etc.

(p) ethical problems related to current events stories

Reserve your spot today for the new sections of Ethics which start the first week of September. 

Sign up either for the new Sundays 2:30pm-5pm ET section OR the new Wednesdays 3pm-5:30pm ET OR the new Tuesdays 9am-11:30pm ET OR the new Wednesdays 8pm-11:30pm ET OR the new Saturdays 9am-11:30am ETE-mail me at camelswithhammers@gmail.com to enroll or for more details!

Classes meet for 2.5 hours a week and run for as many weeks as students remain interested. A traditional college class takes 16 weeks/40 hours. Students wanting such an experience are recommended to buy a Platinum Pass. A half class (8 weeks/20 hours) can be bought with a Silver Pass. Students can join a class in progress, make up absences for no extra cost (even in a future semester if necessary), and extend their class beyond the traditional 16 weeks if still interested in the subject. (Full details on class lengths here. Prices are here. Possible help with costs is here.)

NIETZSCHE

This course draws heavily on my years reading and writing about Nietzsche in preparation of my doctoral dissertation. As an orientation, new students receive a special overview lecture on Nietzsche’s philosophy that integrates his thoughts on numerous topics into a coherent overall picture. Regular class sessions are spent reading Nietzsche’s writings aloud and discussing them. Using this method, in the once weekly, year long versions of the course, we read substantial portions of numerous of his Nietzsche’s works, one book at a time, over the course of a year or longer.

As we read each text, I unriddle difficult passages, explore their philosophical implications, talk about the meaning of each text in the larger scope of Nietzsche’s thought, introduce students to concepts from relevant Nietzsche scholarship, point out debates among Nietzsche scholars and rival readings to my own, and encourage open-ended, collaborative discussion from students as inspired by the texts. The books we read from the most extensively will be Human All Too Human, Daybreak, The Gay Science, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Beyond Good and Evil, On The Genealogy of Morals, Twilight of the Idols, Antichrist, and The Will to Power. Students can join a section of the Nietzsche class any time, just as they would join a preexisting reading group. No outside reading will be required.

Reserve your spot today for the new sections of Nietzsche which start the first week of September. 

Sign up either for the new Tuesdays 10pm-12:30am ET section OR new Mondays 3pm-5:30pm ET section OR the new Fridays 9am-11:30am ET sectionOR the new Fridays 10pm-12:30am ET section. E-mail me at camelswithhammers@gmail.com to enroll or for more details!

Classes meet for 2.5 hours a week and run for as many weeks as students remain interested. A traditional college class takes 16 weeks/40 hours. Students wanting such an experience are recommended to buy a Platinum Pass. A half class (8 weeks/20 hours) can be bought with a Silver Pass. Students can join a class in progress, make up absences for no extra cost (even in a future semester if necessary), and extend their class beyond the traditional 16 weeks if still interested in the subject. (Full details on class lengths here. Prices are here. Possible help with costs is here.)

PHILOSOPHY FOR ATHEISTS

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 that generally educated people should be familiar with. (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. Essentially this is a hybrid between a general philosophy course, a historical philosophy course, and an atheistic philosophy of religion course.

Reserve your spot today for the new sections of Philosophy for Atheists which start the first week of September. Sign up either for the new Sundays 9am-11:30am ET Philosophy for Atheists  OR the new Monday nights 10pm-12:30am OR the new Fridays 7pm-9:30pm ET Philosophy for Atheists. E-mail me at camelswithhammers@gmail.com to enroll or for more details!

Classes meet for 2.5 hours a week and run for as many weeks as students remain interested. A traditional college class takes 16 weeks/40 hours. Students wanting such an experience are recommended to buy a Platinum Pass. A half class (8 weeks/20 hours) can be bought with a Silver Pass. Students can join a class in progress, make up absences for no extra cost (even in a future semester if necessary), and extend their class beyond the traditional 16 weeks if still interested in the subject. (Full details on class lengths here. Prices are here. Possible help with costs is here.)

PHILOSOPHY OF MIND AND LANGUAGE

This is my course that is most focused on contemporary philosophy. It will deal almost exclusively with the 20th-21st Century study of the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of language, primarily in the analytic tradition. We will start with seminal figures like Russell, Frege, and Wittgenstein, but devote most of the course to the hottest philosophy of mind and language debates of the last 40 years. We will also make room for at least a couple of weeks on the European traditions of Phenomenology, Structuralism, Poststructuralism, and Deconstructionism, all of which were ascendent in the last century.

Specifically, we will explore questions related to

(a) semantics

(b) the nature of reference

(c) the nature of consciousness

(d) what kinds of mental capacities animals might have

(e) the connection between mind and body

(f) the extent our minds are or are not like computers

(g) whether artificial intelligence can be ever have a mind or consciousness

(h) whether or not there is such a thing as a universal mental language

(i) whether or to what extent concepts and linguistic categories are innate

(j) the relationships between our mental states and the world they try to represent

(h) what constitutes the kind of mental freedom necessary to make moral responsibility legitimate

(i) the meaning and relevance of concepts like belief, desire, and pain

(j) the connections between concepts and the world

(k) the extent to which language can be said to “create” the world for us, rather than merely represent it to us

(l) whether or how science could conceivably understand the inner mental life

(m) whether our “folk” understandings of our inner life based on subjective experience can form the basis of knowledge of psychology or whether it is irrelevant and needs to be supplanted with an entirely different and empirically derived set of categories

(n) the connections between language and logic

(o) the relevance of philosophy of language to understanding moral utterances about things like goodness or badness, rightness or wrongness, etc.

(p) the relevance of philosophy of language to understanding religious beliefs

(q) the connections between language and concepts

(r) how speech acts create social meanings and how social meanings transform propositional statements into speech acts

Reserve your spot today for the new sections of Philosophy of Mind and Language which start the first week of September. Sign up either for the new Sundays 12pm-2:30pm ET Philosophy of Mind and Language OR the new Thursdays 9pm-11:30pm ET Philosophy of Mind and Language OR the new Fridays 3pm-5:30pm ET Philosophy of Mind and Language OR the new Saturday 8pm-11:30pm ETE-mail me at camelswithhammers@gmail.com to enroll or for more details!

Classes meet for 2.5 hours a week and run for as many weeks as students remain interested. A traditional college class takes 16 weeks/40 hours. Students wanting such an experience are recommended to buy a Platinum Pass. A half class (8 weeks/20 hours) can be bought with a Silver Pass. Students can join a class in progress, make up absences for no extra cost (even in a future semester if necessary), and extend their class beyond the traditional 16 weeks if still interested in the subject. (Full details on class lengths here. Prices are here. Possible help with costs is here.)

SOCIAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY

In this course we will explore both classic and contemporary texts related to the foundations of a just society. We will philosophically analyze a wide range of social and political topics, per student interest. Potentially topics could including the natures of democracy, rights, justice, liberty, equality, oppression, international relations, individual/state relations, state/society relations, libertarianism, socialism, social justice, concepts of race and racism, concepts of gender and sexuality, feminism, LGBT issues, secularism, criminal justice, terrorism, controversies in sexual ethics (polyamory, prostitution, pornography, et al.), business ethics, biomedical ethics (euthanasia, abortion, et al.) and the ethics of war.

Reserve your spot today for the new sections of Social and Political Philosophy which start the first week of September. Sign up either for the new Sundays 8pm-10:30pm ET Social and Political Philosophy OR the new Saturdays 5pm-7:30pm ET Social and Political Philosophy OR the new Tuesdays 3pm-5:30pm ET Social and Political Philosophy OR the new Wednesdays 9am-11:30am ET Social and Political PhilosophyE-mail me at camelswithhammers@gmail.com to enroll or for more details!

Classes meet for 2.5 hours a week and run for as many weeks as students remain interested. A traditional college class takes 16 weeks/40 hours. Students wanting such an experience are recommended to buy a Platinum Pass. A half class (8 weeks/20 hours) can be bought with a Silver Pass. Students can join a class in progress, make up absences for no extra cost (even in a future semester if necessary), and extend their class beyond the traditional 16 weeks if still interested in the subject. (Full details on class lengths here. Prices are here. Possible help with costs is here.)

PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION

This course examines the philosophical issues that religions raise. This course is designed to give both atheists and theists a detailed and nuanced understanding of the best arguments for and against the existence of God, and for the truth of theistic religions. The course also examines the nature of religion itself and whether atheistic religions are possible or worthwhile endeavors. Topics in ethics, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, epistemology, biblical studies, and political philosophy all arise at one point or another as part of addressing issues in the philosophy of religion.

Reserve your spot today for the new sections of Philosophy of Religion which start the first week of September. Sign up either for the new Tuesdays 7pm-9:30pm ET Philosophy of Religion OR the new Saturdays 2pm-4:30pm ET Philosophy of Religion. E-mail me at camelswithhammers@gmail.com to enroll or for more details!

Classes meet for 2.5 hours a week and run for as many weeks as students remain interested. A traditional college class takes 16 weeks/40 hours. Students wanting such an experience are recommended to buy a Platinum Pass. A half class (8 weeks/20 hours) can be bought with a Silver Pass. Students can join a class in progress, make up absences for no extra cost (even in a future semester if necessary), and extend their class beyond the traditional 16 weeks if still interested in the subject. (Full details on class lengths here. Prices are here. Possible help with costs is here.)

THE HISTORY PHILOSOPHY, ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY TO THE 20TH CENTURY

An overview of the history of Western Philosophy from the pre-Socratic philosophers to the 20th Century. In this course I chronologically explain the major ideas and relevance of the major philosophical schools and figures from each major period in the history of Western Philosophy: Ancient Philosophy (the Pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics), Medieval Philosophy (Augustine and Aquinas), Modern Philosophy (Rationalism, Empiricism, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkely, Hume, and Kant), the 19th Century (German Idealism, Fichte, Hegel, Marx, Feuerbach, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche), and the first half of the 20th Century (The Rise of Analytic Philosophy, Pragmatism, Logical Positivism, Phenomenology, Existentialism, and Postmodernism, Russell, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Sartre, Derrida, Foucault, and Levinas).

Reserve your spot today for the new sections of The History of Philosophy which start the first week of September. Sign up either for the new Mondays 7pm-9:30pm ET section OR the new Thursdays 9am-11:30am ET section. E-mail me at camelswithhammers@gmail.com to enroll or for more details!

Classes meet for 2.5 hours a week and run for as many weeks as students remain interested. A traditional college class takes 16 weeks/40 hours. Students wanting such an experience are recommended to buy a Platinum Pass. A half class (8 weeks/20 hours) can be bought with a Silver Pass. Students can join a class in progress, make up absences for no extra cost (even in a future semester if necessary), and extend their class beyond the traditional 16 weeks if still interested in the subject. (Full details on class lengths here. Prices are here. Possible help with costs is here.)

Current Prices**:

The Silver Pass buys 20 hours of class time (8 weeks, half a traditional class) for $21.99/hr* if you took the Trial Pass or $17.99/hr* if you did not.

The Platinum Pass buy 40 hours of class time (16 weeks, a traditional class) for $15.99/hr* if you took the Trial Pass or $13.65/hr* if you did not. 

The Gold Pass buys a whole 52 weeks’ worth of weekly sessions (a guaranteed minimum of 40 sessions/100 hours, with a possible maximum 52 sessions/130 hours–all depending on how often they or I can show up) for a one time fee of $999*. Gold Pass purchasers can stay in the same course for as many weeks as they want to switch to other courses throughout the year.

Bronze Pass buys an individualized guaranteed one-on-one philosophy lesson of the student’s desired length and at the student’s and my mutual convenience for $39.99/hr*.

Trial Pass

If you are new and want a very cheap Trial Pass, you can take a couple sessions of classes and an orientation very cheaply ($29.99*) but then pay a little more overall for the regular passes should you decide to commit after the trial. When you are not on a Trial Pass, you must pay for passes for blocks of class time. You use either 2 or 3 class hours in every class session. Students who buy their first block of class time without first using a Trial Pass get an additional free orientation included with it.

Installment plans
Students are requested to pay upfront for passes wherever they can afford to. However three month, six month, or year long installment plans are available for students who can only afford to pay on a bi-weekly or monthly basis as they get paid. If you can afford the $359.80 for a no-trial Silver Pass or the $546 for a no-trial Platinum Pass but need to pay in installments, then let me know and we can do something like payments of just $17.99/week for 20 weeks for the Silver Pass/8 week/half course or $27.30/week for 20 weeks for the Platinum Pass/16 week/full course. So long as you commit to fulfill the installments, I’m happy to let you pay at a rate like that. They could even stretch longer and be lower per week if need be. An installment plan could reduce the price to as little as $10.38/week for 40 hours of class or $6.91/week for 20 hours of class. Talk to me and we can work something out.

Scholarships
Scholarships may be available if generous students of greater means offer to chip in for part of the tuition of students with lesser means. Please be in touch if you either would like to donate to a scholarship or would need to receive one in order to attend. Scholarship donators and recipients are kept anonymous.

Also there is a Same Camera Freeloader Discount now available to families, spouses, partners, roommates, or friends. So long as one student enrolls and pays the full price for any pass except for Bronze or Gold and uses just one computer/camera, they can have spouses, roommates, friends, or children over 16 years old either listen in or actively participate with them using the same computer camera for no extra charge. The freeloaders are not officially enrolled and so cannot participate on their own computers or be eligible for Double Platinum or One Day Silver Passes based on freeloading participation. Freeloaders also waive the right to take Trial Passes in the future.

Deals for Returning Students

Double Platinum Pass is available to anyone who has paid for or completed a full 40 hours of class (i.e., they did a full 2013 class with me, complete a 2014 Platinum Pass, or complete two 2014 Silver Passes). The Double Platinum Pass buys 40 hours of class time for $11.99/hr* (regardless of whether a Trial Pass was ever used). Students who pay at least half the cost for another student are also eligible for Double Platinum Passes. Students who sign up for two full 40 hour class time blocks simultaneously, get the second class at the Double Platinum Pass rate.

One Day Silver Pass is available to anyone who has paid for and completed a full 40 hours of class (i.e., they did a full 2013 class with me, complete a 2014 Platinum Pass, or complete two 2014 Silver Passes). The One Day Silver Pass buys either 2 hours or 3 hours of class for $17.99/hr* in any class where platinum, double platinum, silver, or other one day silver pass students are present.

*Plus a 9% service if paying via PayPal. Students are billed via PayPal but need not pay the invoice through PayPal. I waive the 9% service charge if the student (a) pays by check or (b) pays using Google Wallet (for which there are likely no fees to the student). All invoices include both the price if the student pays via PayPal and the price if the student pays via check or Google Wallet.

**Prices subject to change. Students will remain on the same pricing system for up to 365 days, unless certain passes are removed altogether or unless prices lower, in which case existing students will be eligible for the new lower prices for any new purchases.

Write me at camelswithhammers@gmail.com with any questions or to enroll today!

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.


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