Intermediate Philosophy Part 1 : Reason and Unreason
The Enlightenment, or Age of Reason comprised several strands of thought which historically culminated in the political upheaval of the French Revolution. We will begin by exploring its main ideas: freedom, progress, secularism, the role of a new science, the birth of modern subjectivity through a discussion of Kant, Rousseau and Hume. Some of these ideas will be harnessed to great effect by Hegel and German Idealism, and later critiqued by nineteenth century thinkers such as Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard and above all, Nietzsche -- all three philosophers signalling a crisis of Enlightenment, a crisis which is both hazard and
the opening to what Nietzsche calls the open sea.
Who is this course for
This is not a course for absolute beginners to philosophy. Students joining this course would benefit from having some previous experience of studying philosophy. Graduates of other humanities or social-science disciplines, however, with experience of complex theoretical frameworks, should find it very challenging yet potentially intellectually manageable to begin their philosophical studies with this course. All students will need to have reached at least Level 2 standard (equivalent to GSCE) in the English language.
What does this course cover
This course covers two parallel strands in philosophy: the birth and development of the 'enlightenment' as well as its critique. Please see blurb for more detailed description.
What will it be like
The course will be taught in a seminar style, and there will be lots of opportunity for discussion and debate. Optional exercise will be set as homework, to help you explore and consolidate what you have learned and discussed in class, and extracts from the writings of some of the thinkers covered will be made available as preparatory reading for some of the classes. Explanatory handouts will also be provided to help you understand some of the more difficult concepts and arguments covered.
At the start: Tutor and student self-assessment to establish previous experience of the themes and thinkers covered on the course.
On the course: Tutor and student self-assessment through class exercises, discussion and debate.
At the end: Tutor and student self-evaluation of progress made, and end-of-course evaluation sheet.
What else do you need to buy or do
Notebook and pen, for taking notes in class. Students may find it helpful to have Anthony Pagden's The Enlightenment and Why it still matters (£14.99); E. Cassirer's The Philosophy of the Enlightenment (£21.95) and Thomas Miles' Kierkegaard and as useful background reading, but this is not a requirement of the course.
Extracts from the work of some of the thinkers we are studying will be provided as preparatory reading at home, and exercises will be set as homework for some classes. Students who undertake the reading and exercises will find that they gain more from the course.
What this course could lead to
This course is designed as the first of a series of three term-long courses. Although ideally the student would benefit from participating to all three, she/he will also benefit if undertaking this individual course independently. As the second part of this course (January- March) will continue chronologically the student will benefit and gain a clearer perspective from continuing on to the third term
I've been to many Centres to study in London and the Mary Ward Centre is one of the nicest I've studied in.MWC student
Got a Question about this Course?
Contact The Departmental Administrator.
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Mary Ward Centre is the adult education centre with a difference. We provide a wide range of subjects for people at all levels and run courses during the day, evening or weekend to suit your timetable.
Get inspired and enjoy excellent teaching in an environment where each individual’s learning experience is valued. That’s what makes Mary Ward Centre ‘the friendly place to learn.’