About the content
This philosophy course has two goals. The first goal is to introduce you to the things that philosophers think about. We will look at some perennial philosophical problems:
- Is there a God?
- What is knowledge, and how do we get it?
- What is the place of our consciousness in the physical world?
- Do we have free will?
- How do we persist over time, as our bodily and psychological traits change?
The second goal is to get you thinking philosophically yourself. This will help you develop your critical reasoning and argumentative skills more generally. Along the way we will draw from late, great classical authors and influential contemporary figures.
To help enhance your learning experience, this course offers instructor grading. If you choose to pursue a verified certificate, a professional philosopher will carefully read, grade and comment upon your work. Though all residential philosophy courses at MIT, and other major universities, offer instructor grading, this is an innovation in the world of MOOCs. Students will test their ideas against, and receive individual advice from, professional philosophers. We believe that this is the best way to learn philosophy.
Verified learners will be eligible for the MITx Philosophy Award and (for students presently in high school) the MITx High School Philosophy Award. The awards will be given for outstanding written work by the MIT Philosophy Department. In addition, award winners will be profiled on the MIT Philosophy website. Please see the FAQ section below for the link to more information on the MITx Philosophy Award.
NOTE: Enrollment for instructor grading will be capped.
- How to construct and analyze philosophical arguments
- How to write clearly and communicate complicated ideas effectively
- Arguments for and against the existence of God
- The distinction between epistemic and practical rationality
- Theories of Knowledge
- Physicalist and Non-Physicalist theories of consciousness
- Free Will and Determinism
- Personal Identity
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT is a world-class educational institution where teaching and research — with relevance to the practical world as a guiding principle — continue to be its primary purpose.
MIT is independent, coeducational, and privately endowed. Its five schools and one college encompass numerous academic departments, divisions and degree-granting programs, as well as interdisciplinary centers, laboratories and programs whose work cuts across traditional departmental boundaries.
Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Berkeley, are just some of the schools that you have at your fingertips with EdX. Through massive open online courses (MOOCs) from the world's best universities, you can develop your knowledge in literature, math, history, food and nutrition, and more. These online classes are taught by highly-regarded experts in the field. If you take a class on computer science through Harvard, you may be taught by David J. Malan, a senior lecturer on computer science at Harvard University for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. But there's not just one professor - you have access to the entire teaching staff, allowing you to receive feedback on assignments straight from the experts. Pursue a Verified Certificate to document your achievements and use your coursework for job and school applications, promotions, and more. EdX also works with top universities to conduct research, allowing them to learn more about learning. Using their findings, edX is able to provide students with the best and most effective courses, constantly enhancing the student experience.