This course has concessions available

Upper Intermediate Philosophy: Post-Liberalism – Anglo-American And Continental Approaches

'Liberalism', arguably the dominant political tradition of the modern era, is currently undergoing a series of crises. Its commitments to particular values, such as freedom (in the form of markets, expression, individual rights), limited government, secularism and democracy, is have been challenged from multiple directions. The Enlightenment commitment to reason, universalism and the contract theory of Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau have been under siege from alternative visions of humanity (whether they be religious, nationalist, populist, communitarian etc.). Economic crises routinely call the foundations of capitalism into question. The populations of modern liberal states often suffer from alienation, atomisation, depression and a sense of purposelessness. The concept of human nature that underpins liberalism is open to serious revision: have we been irreparably altered by transformations in technology, for example? What is the best way to organise our social and political existence in the wake of globalisation? Are we fundamentally individualist or cooperative beings? What does freedom mean today?

Available Classes:

Who is this course for

This course is at Upper Intermediate level and so would not be suitable for people who are new to studying philosophy. It would be an ideal continuation course for students who have previously studied on our Intermediate level courses and who now want a course that will look at the work of a particular philosopher in some depth. It may also be suitable for people who have had some previous grounding in Philosophy and who now want to study in more depth.
Although you should have some previous experience of studying philosophy it is not expected that you need to have a great deal of familiarity with the specific thinkers mentioned in the course description, as this is what the course will aim to provide.

What does this course cover

We will examine the work of, amongst others, Alisdair MacIntyre, Patrick Deneen, John Gray, Michael Sandal, John Millbank, Larry Siedentop, James Burnham, Rob Dreher, René Girard, Ivan Illich, Alain Badiou, Michael Foucault, Slavoj Zizek, Jacques Rancière and Ernesto Laclau & Chantal Mouffe. We will cover, amongst other themes: community, pessimism, freedom, flourishing, justice, religion, communism, agonism, human nature, democracy and various technological and technocratic developments in modernity, and their impact on political thought and organisation.

By the end of the course, students will be able to discuss multiple contemporary issues in politics and philosophy more broadly.

What will it be like

The course will be run online using Zoom for the live class sessions and either the Moodle page for the course or some other system for the distribution of the electronic resources for the session sitting alongside this. Although there will be some adjustments that need to be made for the online version of this course, we will aim to keep the experience as close as possible to that of a face to face course taught in the Centre.

The course will consist of lectures and seminars, and all the reading material will be available on Moodle. Progress will be assessed in terms of student participation - engagement in seminars and with the material. It will be possible but not mandatory for students to present to the class each week

What else do you need to buy or do

All the reading materials will be provided. Students are expected to keep up with the reading each week.

The course will be run on Zoom, please make sure you have installed it in advance of your first class on your computer or mobile device. You can sign up for free here:

You will need a microphone (it's fine to use whatever is built into your device) and camera, so we can see you via video. You may also want to use headphones during the session.

You can participate in class sessions through the use of a computer, laptop, tablet or other similar internet enabled device. Please note that if you only have access to a smartphone, you will be able to attend the class sessions and participate in them but you will find it more difficult to benefit from the full range of materials and activities involved in the course if this is your only means of connection.

Make sure you have a small space to work in during the session and that as far as possible that you can keep this space quite and clear of interruption so that you can concentrate on what is happening in the class.

By signing up to the course you are consenting to being on camera. The content of the lesson may occasionally be recorded by the tutor for internal education and training purposes but any such recordings will not be made available to anyone outside of the Mary Ward Centre organisation without us asking you again for further permission to do so

What this course could lead to

Other Advanced level Philosophy courses at the Mary Ward Centre or other similar establishments. Other courses in the Humanities and Social Sciences with a strong emphasis on theory and the study of the mind and human behaviour(e.g., Psychology, Economics, Sociology, Anthropology, History

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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


This course has concessions available for people who meet certain criteria

Got a Question about this Course?

Contact The Departmental Administrator.

Why choose Mary Ward?

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 and weekends to suit your timetable. You can learn face to face at one of our centres (Bloomsbury or Waterloo) or take an online course

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.’