Philosophy is an interesting and important field that analyzes the ways in which we live on earth. If you are eager to learn philosophy for beginners, take a look at the introduction to philosophy courses covered in this article.
In these best philosophy courses for beginners, you’ll learn everything you need to know about philosophy, such as the major theories of professional philosophers, feminist philosophy, and eastern philosophy. An intro to philosophy course highlights the common philosophical issues and those who seek to give answers to questions of the basic nature of human existence, knowledge, and life.
What Is Philosophy?
Philosophy is an academic discipline that seeks to ponder and answer fundamental questions to find the meaning of life. In the broadest sense, philosophy searches for the why of things and seeks to find the causes and purposes of existence and truths using reasoning and logic.
Philosophy involves the theory of knowledge and critical thinking to attempt to understand different fields of life, such as religion, sociology, politics, mathematics, and art. Philosophy can also be seen as a set of reflections on the causes and effects of things, such as humans and the universe. Notable areas include Greek philosophy, Buddhist philosophy, moral philosophy, and eastern philosophy. Aristotle, Plato, and Locke were a few of the most famous philosophers.
How to Learn Philosophy for Beginners
- Online courses. Online courses are an accessible introduction to the basics of philosophy. Beginners can choose a specific course on one of the branches of academic philosophy, watch a philosophy author interview, and get a deeper dive into human knowledge to get the answers to life that you may be looking for.
- Books. Books allow learners to read about the major theories of every professional philosopher, from women philosophers to American philosophers like John Stuart Mill. You can find great books in a philosophy documentation center, such as the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which is a fantastic book that covers the fundamentals.
- Philosophical dictionary. A philosophical dictionary will help you understand the important terms used in philosophical texts, which often differ from the meanings they have in everyday speech. You’ll also tackle different nuances of each branch of both ancient and contemporary philosophy.
- Canonical texts. Reading canonical texts, such as the Bible, will give you an idea about the philosophy of religion, a core topic throughout history. You can read chapter summaries online and choose the topics that interest you most. This way, you’ll have a grasp on the subject matter when discussing religious philosophy in class.
- Discussion Forum. Join a philosophical discussion forum that discusses basic philosophical questions, conceptual questions in the theory of knowledge and the science of life, and ethical issues between professional philosophers, instructors, and students pursuing philosophy degrees.
Best Philosophy Courses for Beginners
|An Introduction to Philosophy||Alison||Free||3 hours|
|Introduction to Philosophy: God, Knowledge, and Consciousness||Massachusetts Institute of Technology via edX||Free, certificate upgrade option available||12 weeks, self-paced|
|Plato, Socrates, and the Birth of Western Philosophy||Tsinghua University via edX||Free, certificate upgrade option available||16 weeks, self-paced|
|Critical Thinker Academy: Learn to Think Like a Philosopher||Udemy||$109.99||19 hours, self-paced|
|Introduction to Moral Philosophy||Udemy||$34.99||2 hours, self-paced|
|Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind||Udemy||$34.99||1.5 hours, self-paced|
|Introduction to Philosophy||University of Edinburgh via Coursera||Free, certificate upgrade option available||19 hours, self-paced|
|Ancient Philosophy: Plato & His Predecessors||University of Pennsylvania via Coursera||Free, certificate upgrade option available||13 hours, self-paced|
|Philosophy of Science||University of Pennsylvania via Coursera||Free, certificate upgrade option available||12 hours, self-paced|
|Philosophy and Critical Thinking||University of Queensland via edX||Free, certificate upgrade option available||6 weeks, self-paced|
The Best Intro to Philosophy Courses: Explained
In an inclusive sense, contemporary philosophers examine and connect different structures in life, such as mathematics, philosophical ethics, and liberalism. These intro courses explore important philosophical topics from ancient philosophy to contemporary philosophy, as well as the major theories and ideas of different philosophers and their recommendations for society.
An Introduction to Philosophy | Alison
In this course, you will explore the basics of western philosophy, moral philosophy, and political philosophy. It starts with the history of philosophy that began in ancient Greece, and the philosophical contributions to modern societies made by Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle. The course is developed with a chronological approach, exploring how western philosophy has developed until the modern age.
Introduction to Philosophy: God, Knowledge, and Consciousness | MIT & edX
This course will teach you how to think philosophically on your own. You will ponder topics such as the existence of a higher power, how knowledge is obtained, and the branches of knowledge, awareness of the physical world, free will, and persistence in time.
You will acquire skills necessary for critical thinking and argumentation, one of the main tasks of philosophy professionals. If you choose to pursue a certificate, your assignments will be graded by professionals.
Plato, Socrates, and the Birth of Western Philosophy | Tsinghua University & edX
In this online introduction to philosophy course, you will learn about the theories of ancient Greek and Roman philosophers and public figures, such as Aristotle, Plato, and Heraclitus. Western philosophy is the main focus of study in this course.
You will acquire critical thinking skills to examine noble values and understand how to contemplate the world around you. You will also learn about ethical foundations and the cultural and geographical ideas that influenced ancient philosophical theories.
Critical Thinker Academy: Learn to Think Like a Philosopher | Udemy
In this Udemy course, you will learn how to expand your mind to think critically and independently. By exploring topics like logic, rhetoric, and argumentation, you will be able to learn to think for yourself, and clearly express your ideas as a rational argument.
You will also learn about techniques of analysis and reconstruction of arguments, as well as how to write argumentative essays and cite sources to avoid plagiarism.
Introduction to Moral Philosophy | Udemy
This course gives a basic introduction to moral philosophy, in which the moral judgments of western philosophy, ethical dilemmas, and meta-ethical issues are discussed.
You will learn about key figures such as Aristotle, Kant, and John Stuart Mill and their major theories in this field of philosophy. This course contains lectures, quizzes, and activities.
Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind | Udemy
This course examines one of the major theories of western philosophy – the philosophy of the mind. Intriguing topics, such as the interaction between mind and body, the role of consciousness in life, and the connections between culture, religion, and science are explored.
This beginner course is for any learner who wishes to understand the interconnected nature of the human being, the body, and the soul.
Introduction to Philosophy | The University of Edinburgh & Coursera
In this introduction to philosophy course on Coursera, beginners will learn about philosophical objectives, methods, and how to differentiate it from other subjects. During the course, you’ll learn about the different areas of academic philosophy, such as epistemology, philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, moral philosophy, political philosophy, and metaphysics.
Ancient Philosophy: Plato & His Predecessors | The University of Pennsylvania & Coursera
This course presents the ideas of the ancient Greek philosophers, who gave rise to western philosophy. This course is taught in chronological format, beginning with Socrates and Plato’s predecessors, who sought answers to subject matter pondering the nature of reality, happiness and knowledge, to Aristotle and his successors over the last couple of millennia.
Philosophy of Science | The University of Pennsylvania & Coursera
This University of Pennsylvania course offered by Coursera is based on examining the progress of science in understanding the world. Instructor Michael Weisberg raises questions such as whether progress has been real or illusory, how scientists generate knowledge, scientific objectivity, values, and the relationship between science, religion, and evolutionary biology.
Philosophy and Critical Thinking | University of Queensland & edX
This course teaches us to think critically and analyze the principles of philosophy. You will learn to construct arguments in order to participate in discussions on important conceptual issues and to think of solutions to the problems on which philosophy is based. You’ll also learn about the justification of belief and the branches of knowledge and ethics, among other content items.
Is Learning Philosophy Worth It?
Yes, learning philosophy is worth it. There are many free online resources to help you learn about moral judgments and the meaning of life in the broadest sense. In these courses, you’ll be able to explore the fascinating and important body of knowledge that is contemporary philosophy and apply it to reflect on your own experience.
Introduction to Philosophy FAQ
Studying introduction to philosophy is relatively easy, and can be very interesting and thought-provoking. You’ll examine topic introductions from different points of view to understand social-political philosophy without needing to have any previous knowledge of the subject.
The four branches of philosophy are epistemology, metaphysics, logic, and axiology. There are also important professional philosophers of Indian philosophy, African philosophy, Buddhist philosophy, Greek philosophy, and eastern philosophy, as well as important American philosophers and Aztec philosophers.
Philosophy is the “love of wisdom,” and is the study of what it means to be alive in an uncertain world. The aim of philosophy is to question and seek answers regarding knowledge, moral systems, metaphysics, higher power(s), and other complicated truths.
Philosophy is not hard to read if you begin with a basic introductory philosophy book, or a philosophy dictionary to understand difficult terms. Be sure to focus on an area of philosophy that catches your attention and keeps your interest. The Oxford Handbook of World Philosophy or the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy may be good books to start your learning journey with.
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