Friday, January 30, 2009

Online Intro To Philosophy Course?

I am wondering if any readers know of any fairly self-contained online Introduction to Philosophy courses. Ideally it would have online readings, perhaps some notes, and is the kind of thing that you could base a real "live" course on that would not require that students buy any books. I have Googled around and checked but have not found what I am hoping for. Thanks.


  1. Nathan,

    Unfortunately they don't contain actual readings, and so maybe don't get at quite what you want, but MIT's OpenCourseWare project offers reading lists and lecture notes:

  2. I'm not sure what your goal is, but if your goal is to not require students to buy a textbook, you can use YahooGroups or Google Groups to post PDFs of scanned texts (of course, you'd have to get them scanned...). There are also a number of texts available for free online:
    Online Texts It seems you could use these to supplement one of the courses that don't contain readings.
    Plus David Chalmers' new PhilPapers for more contemporary pieces.

    In a few minutes of poking around, I found some interesting online resources, but none quite fit your criteria.

    online courses
    MIT Classics in Western Phil
    Wikiversity Historical Introduction to Philosophy (this one doesn't seem to really be what you want)
    Openlearn Philosophy: the nature of persons (not quite Intro, but does contain readings)
    This one from Oregon State looks promising, but I didn't want to sign in to see what was going on.

    online lectures
    Some philosophy lecture videos (including some really interesting ones)
    Berkeley webcasts (if you poke through different semesters, there are some Intro to Phil courses on there.

    Lists of resources
    Openware courses There are some philosophy ones listed, but no Intro
    Ranking of Universities with Online Courses I didn't follow all of the links. Something useful might be found there.

  3. Thanks! My situation is that, a few weeks into the semester, I have to take over someone else's class (or a class that started with someone else). But I simply cannot use the books the instructor had them buy -- they are just way too far from my interests, competence and style -- but I don't think I should burden then by requiring them to re-buy books, if the bookstore won't buy their books back. :(

    I did find a few books (Rachels' intro book, Nils Rahout's book) that are available for very cheap -- $5 - $10 used on Amazon. Maybe that would be a better solution to my problem.


  4. For me teaching subjects like Philosophy isn't applicable in an online setting.



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