So far these Fall 2015 courses are filling with students. Click on the course titles to get full explanations of the course contents and how courses run:
Mondays 7:30pm-9:30pm (Starting 9/14/15): Topical Introduction to Philosophy
Tuesdays 4pm-6pm (Starting 9/15/15): History of Philosophy: 20th Century Philosophy
Tuesdays 9pm-11pm (Started 9/8/15): Metaethics: Debating the Nature of Morality
Thursdays 7:30pm-9:30pm (Starting 9/17/15): Philosophy for Atheists
Fridays 10am-12pm (Started 9/11/15): Metaethics: Debating the Nature of Morality
Sundays 10am-12pm: (Starting 9/20/15): Philosophy of Love, Sex, and Gender
If none of these classes fit your schedule or interests, write me at email@example.com and let me know what you want to study and when and I will work with you on putting something new on the schedule.
The basics to keep in mind are these are not canned classes but live, interactive, small group engagements with me and your fellow students held over the convenience of videoconference using Google Hangout (which is easy to use as Skype and FaceTime, etc.). There is no homework, no grades, no college credit. I catch you up to speed on all the ideas verbally and sometimes by reading selections of texts with you live. Then we usually just engage in a free-flowing, stimulating intellectual conversation from there as we weave your ideas with more of the course material. Class is maximally tailored to your own interests and responsive to your own thought processes. And students who prefer to talk less enjoy the dynamic engagement between their fellow students and me. My modus operandi is to make these classes as restful, recuperative, and reinvigorating as weekly time with friends in fascinating conversation, while keeping the material at least as rigorous and educationally rewarding as the college classes I taught for 11 years. The goal is to accomplish all of this rather than make the class an extra chore or source of stress in your already busy life. There is even no pressure to have to be there every week. Classes run for as many months as students are interested, with no artificial time limit. So, if you miss a few weeks here and there you can make them up at your own pace later on and you don’t lose out on any money when you’re absent. The way billing works is that there’s no big upfront payment. Rather you are automatically billed by PayPal week to week and then I refund you within a week every time you are absent, with no questions asked, so that you never pay for unused class time. And you canself-cancel at any time with no further commitment, so you risk nothing long term by trying the classes short term. Your first session as a brand new attendee to my classes is even free.
This fall I am introducing at least three new courses.
The first is the ethics course on “Metaethics: Debating the Nature of Morality”. Metaethics is basically the study of the nature of ethics and moral values. Are these real or unreal things? Can there be such a thing as moral knowledge? Are morals and values social constructs or discoveries within nature, or something in between? Are they matters for rational and/or empirical investigation? Are they purely culturally relative? Are they purely emotional? Can science guide us in our moral understanding? Does science undermine the reality of morality? Of what relevance is evolution to our understanding of morality’s origins, nature, and/or legitimacy? Must God exist for morality to be real? Can there be an account of objective morality that is given on a purely atheistic basis? Can there be objective answers to moral questions? Can there be an ultimate grounding in reason for moral claims? Does anything make a norm objectively binding? Is there any objectivity to values or any way to objectively rank competing values? These questions are familiar and vitally pressing. Thinking deeply about these fundamental questions about the nature of moral norms, values, and legitimacy itself can have huge ramifications for many of the more immediate ethical debates that are constantly swirling in our culture. The more rationally and coherently we work out our understanding of the fundamentals of ethics, hopefully the more judicious, responsible, rational, and fair we can be in assessing the consequential controversies of everyday life and social politics. Metaethics is the class where we hammer out the fundamentals with greatest rigor. 2 distinct sections of my Metaethics class are already filling with students. Multiple students are already attending my Tuesdays 9pm-11pm Eastern Time class that started September 8, 2015 or to my Fridays 10am-noon Eastern Time class that started September 11, 2015. We only just started so there’s still time to get in on the beginning! Please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org to join us. If you’ve never attended my classes before, the first session is entirely free and enrollment is as simple as an e-mail to me. For more details on how the classes work and the content of the Metaethics class go to my Ethics class page.
The second class is on the Philosophy of Love, Sex, and Gender. In this course we will look at historical and contemporary philosophers’ writings on love and friendship. We will look critically at historical philosophy’s treatment of women, read seminal and contemporary feminist philosophy, and explore the relevance of feminist ideas for areas of philosophy beyond just women’s equality. We will look more broadly at some of the philosophical schools that influenced the development of contemporary popular feminism and explore what resources still remain untapped. We will occasionally address issues in feminism as they are brought up by controversies erupting in the news and social media. We will also explore philosophical questions specifically relevant to gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, transexual, transgender, and genderqueer people. This will include questions related to the meaning of concepts like gender, sexuality, and identity, and practical questions about how social institutions might be evolved to better accommodate them. We will critically examine the most historically influential philosophical arguments against the moral legitimacy of LGBT sex, identities, and relationships and constructively develop the possibilities for holistic defenses of the moral value of LGBT sex, identifies, and relationships. We will discuss the nature, ethics, uses, aesthetics, and “spirituality” of sex from philosophical points of view, and spend time on ethical controversies related to pornography, sexual objectification, S&M, consent, sex among colleagues, college sex, sexual harassment, sex education, sexual representation in media, prostitution, rape definitions, statutory rape, invalid consent, date rape, rape and alcohol, sexual abuse of children, pedophilia, monogamy, promiscuity, marriage, sexually transmitted infections, purity culture, abstinence, celibacy, bestiality, necrophilia, dating, adultery, plural marriage, polyamory, abortion, surrogacy, adoption, sex and racism, sex and sexism,and immoral sexual fantasies. The inaugural Philosophy of Love, Sex, and Gender class starts this Sunday, September 20, 2015! Please write me at email@example.com telling me you want to attend. If you can’t make the Sunday class, let me know and I can see about putting another section of the class on the schedule.
The third new class is a special edition of my History of Philosophy class that will cover 20th Century Philosophy and it will meet Tuesdays 4pm-6pm ET starting September 15, 2015. While the Western philosophical tradition is centuries old and many historical philosophers have profoundly influential legacies that endure until today, during the first half of the 20th Century philosophy underwent a massive reboot as epoch making philosophers like Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Moore, Quine, Kripke, Husserl, and Heidegger led major intellectual revolutions that have had far reaching implications for contemporary thought. In this class, we’ll focus week by week on understanding the seminal contributions of the philosophical giants of the 20th Century and the numerous intellectual movements, from existentialism to analytic philosophy to feminism to logical positivism to critical theory to postmodernism, that have shaped the contemporary mind.
Please don’t hesitate to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to join the discussion on my Facebook page for more information!
To explore more topics I offer that you might request that I start one of my other classes for you, please go to any of the links below: