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Philosophy for Absolute Beginners

Philosophy for Absolute Beginners
  • Level(s) of study: Short course
  • Study mode(s): Short course
  • Location: City Campus
  • Starting: 6 October 2020
  • Course duration: Tuesdays 6 – 8 pm, five weeks


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Well-taught philosophy opens and clarifies the mind.

This course is based around this idea, and is for those who wish to learn about the foundation of Western philosophy and the way people are educated to think in society today.


The course will improve your problem-solving skills by developing your understanding of the illusionary potential of your perceptions through the study of epistemology.

Each session will look at different themes based on Descartes Meditations.

Through metaphysical investigation into existence, the soul and God, 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 and helps to develop sound arguments from unfamiliar perspectives - just as Descartes challenged philosophers who went before him.

At the beginning of the course, you’ll pose your own question which you’ll work on throughout.

You will discuss, map, argue and counter-argue and then, if you’re feeling brave, present answers to the class at the end.

Classroom lectures, discussions and critiques will be combined with a variety of practical homework exercises and thinking time.

What will you gain?

By the end of the course, you’ll have a greater sense of confidence in your ability to think for yourself, make decisions and thereby support the healthy development of your career and self.

You’ll be able to show that our senses can be unreliable, and that Descartes remains applicable today by creating a unique, contemporary argument of your own drawn from his seminal philosophy.

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

On this course, you will:

  • discuss the acquisition of knowledge through perception and reason
  • examine important texts and theories on Western philosophy
  • 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.

How to apply

You can book your place via the NTU online store:

Evening course (6 October - 3 November 2020)

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

You can book your place via the NTU online store:

Evening course (6 October - 3 November 2020)

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

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