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Philosophy for Absolute Beginners - Online

Philosophy for Absolute Beginners
  • Level(s) of study: Short course
  • Study mode(s): Distance learning
  • Starting: 23 February 2021
  • Course duration: Tuesdays 6 – 8 pm, five weeks

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What is philosophy?

Is it a religion? No.

Is it way of life? Could be, in one sense - but then not really.

Philosophy is about thinking; it’s about questioning, systematically, to find the truth within a topic.

If discovering the truth is important to your life or work and you’d like to develop your analytical skills, why not join this online course and take an intrepid journey into the mind of one of Western philosophy’s greatest questioners, Rene Descartes.

He coined the term ‘I think, therefore I am’ to transform the way we think today and laid down the foundation of modern thinking processes.


Philosophy and the logical examination of arguments can be valuable tools in disciplines such as law, history, religion, science, the arts as well as life.

Each week you’ll be guided through a reading of Descartes book ‘The Meditations’ and be introduced to a particular philosophical argument.

You will explore:

  • is seeing believing? The demolition of opinion with Descartes’ method of doubt
  • why the nature of reality is better understood through our minds than by our senses
  • of God: that he exists, and arguments from clear and distinct ideas and substance dualism
  • what is true and false
  • the essence of material things.

People of all backgrounds and professions will find this course helpful because it teaches you how to challenge the status quo through the development of sound arguments, just as Descartes challenged philosophers who went before him.

Interaction on the course is encouraged so that you can put your learning to the test by posing your own questions for philosophical scrutiny.

Classroom lectures will be informal and dynamic - discussions and critiques will be combined with a variety of homework exercises and reading/thinking time.

What will I gain?

By the end of the course, you’ll have greater confidence in your ability to think for yourself and make decisions, thereby supporting the healthy development of your mind.

You’ll be able to show that our senses can be unreliable, and that Descartes remains just as relevant today by creating a unique, contemporary argument of your own drawing from his work.

Tutor profile: Nathalie Hollingworth is a qualified teacher who gained a degree in humanities with philosophy and has since taught philosophical theories.

She has worked for more than thirty years in communications and is skilled in researching, writing and editing, working for reputable commercial companies, charities, publications and educational establishments.

Indicative maximum class size: 14

Any questions?

Contact the short course team:

Email: creativeshortcourses@ntu.ac.uk

Telephone: +44 (0)115 848 2813

What you'll study

During the course, you will:

  • discuss the acquisition of knowledge through perception and reason
  • identify arguments and responses for and against philosophical theories
  • consider topics including religion, philosophy of the mind, morals and politics
  • understand the value of philosophy in the context of modern society.

Entry requirements

Level: Beginner

Entry requirement: No experience is required.

Level: Beginner

Entry requirement: No experience is required.

Fees and funding

The fee for this course is £160.

Payment is due at the time of booking.

The fee for this course is £160.

Payment is due at the time of booking.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418