An Introduction to Ancient Philosophy with Dr Mark Vernon

Dr Mark Vernon

Unit price

£50.00 £25.00

A six part online course in the philosophy of the ancient Greeks with Dr Mark Vernon.

Have you ever wanted to know more about Plato, Aristotle and the rest, but were afraid to ask? Now is your chance to acquaint yourself with the philosophies of ancient Athens – philosophies which are just as relevant today as they were over two thousand years ago.

This online course is based on Dr Vernon’s highly successful real-life course at the Idler Academy which has been running since March 2011.

Dr Vernon’s course begins with the pre-Socratic philosophers and goes on to relate the essential teachings of Socrates himself, Plato, Aristotle, the Epicureans, the Stoics, the Cynics and the Sceptics.

When you purchase this course, you receive:

• access to six 20 – 30 minute video lessons

• worksheets featuring dates, notes, further reading and quizzes

• access to our ancient philosophy comments board where Dr Vernon will answer your queries, and you can engage with the Idler community worldwide

Idler Online Courses: The Idler Academy’s online programme is designed to make our curriculum available to everyone. Our courses are filmed in London by David Hunt of Laconic Films.

Note: after purchasing the course, simply return to your account, click on “online courses” and then on the “ancient philosophy” course. You will then be given access to the six films, the pdfs and the comments area.

Final note: who’s that in the audience? As you watch the films, you’ll see four people in the audience. They are Victoria Hull and Tom Hodgkinson, directors of the Idler Academy, in the front row, and Danny Wootton, the Idler’s ukulele teacher, and Roberta McCaughan, aka Bobbie, the Idler’s course coordinator, in the back row.

 


About the Tutor

Dr Mark Vernon

Dr Mark Vernon is a psychotherapist in private practice in London as well as a writer, broadcaster and teacher. He began his professional life as a priest in the Church of England. He has a PhD in philosophy, and degrees in theology and physics. His most recent books are – Love: All That Matters (Hodder) and Jung: How To Believe (Guardian Shorts) – and he has written books on friendship, belief and the good life. Mark writes regularly for publications in the UK, including Third Way and The Tablet. He also broadcasts on the BBC. He is a keen blogger at www.markvernon.com


Details

What you get

Three hours of video lessons; a sheaf of notes offering dates and quotes; access to both our community noticeboard and tutor’s question area

Testimonial

‘Mark is a great teacher who helps to bring clarity to some potentially very intimidating subjects.’

Reviews

Write a review

dawson54@comcast.net
28/05/2014

To Mark and the Idler Academy -- thanks for making this excellent overview available online. I've had a good many illusions and assumptions corrected, challenged, and overturned.

A week ago, when I began watching these videos, I thought I knew a thing or two about ancient philosophy. These succinct -- yet remarkably comprehensive sessions -- have left me with a hunger for more. Socrates' would yawn at the ease with which he could demonstrate the vast expanse of my ignorance and misunderstanding.

So I've got a few dozen books headed my way, and am excited by the new-found rediscovery of these thinkers that you've passed along so skillfully. My hope is that the circumference of my knowledge bubble will continue to expand at a good clip.

(But how, I keep wondering, did these folks posit the existence of "atoms" -- especially atoms too tiny for us to see, atoms moving so rapidly we perceived them as "matter"?)

All of which is to say, again, that I loved this course and appreciate the effort that you good folks expended get it just right.

Dave in Memphis

joecan
14/05/2014

It helps a great deal - thank you! The delineation between the two different types of knowledge is a very useful way to bridge that conversation, and I will track down a copy of Beyond Mindfulness as well.

And Tom, thanks for the shout-out in the newsletter! It's a challenge idling over here in hyperspeed tech-land, but there's still hope I think.... with a little luck my wife and I can avoid living the "life of the addict" that I most certainly see quite a bit these days in SF!

Joe

Mark
14/05/2014

Hi Joe -

Thanks very much for your comments. And a special commendation for a nice distinction between Cynics and being cynical.

On your questions:
1. On new therapy/practices - I think mindfulness is like Skepticism, inasmuch as it is an attempt to unidentify with what you think you know about yourself (I am anxious, I am depressed etc) so that a new dynamic might emerge. I just read a new book, Beyond Mindfulness (Palgrave Macmillan), that has a chapter making that direct comparison.

2. I think Plato helps in the science/religion debate, for example with his distinction between scientific and moral/spiritual knowledge. He argues that the scientific kind of knowledge is accumulative: once discovered it can be passed down from generation to generation. Moral knowledge - or how to live skilfully; or spiritual knowledge - how to see beneath surface appearance is a bit different because it is something felt as much as taught; engaged reflexively in the particular conditions of your life, rather than simply repeated by rote. An example might be learning to ride a bicycle. There are physical laws that describe what happens when you ride a bicycle, but actually learning to ride must be done afresh by each and every one of us. So the idea is that religious awareness/moral virtues are more like learning to ride a bike, than like accumulating laws of nature.

Hope that helps,
Mark

Reviews

dawson54@comcast.net
28/05/2014

To Mark and the Idler Academy -- thanks for making this excellent overview available online. I've had a good many illusions and assumptions corrected, challenged, and overturned.

A week ago, when I began watching these videos, I thought I knew a thing or two about ancient philosophy. These succinct -- yet remarkably comprehensive sessions -- have left me with a hunger for more. Socrates' would yawn at the ease with which he could demonstrate the vast expanse of my ignorance and misunderstanding.

So I've got a few dozen books headed my way, and am excited by the new-found rediscovery of these thinkers that you've passed along so skillfully. My hope is that the circumference of my knowledge bubble will continue to expand at a good clip.

(But how, I keep wondering, did these folks posit the existence of "atoms" -- especially atoms too tiny for us to see, atoms moving so rapidly we perceived them as "matter"?)

All of which is to say, again, that I loved this course and appreciate the effort that you good folks expended get it just right.

Dave in Memphis

joecan
14/05/2014

It helps a great deal - thank you! The delineation between the two different types of knowledge is a very useful way to bridge that conversation, and I will track down a copy of Beyond Mindfulness as well.

And Tom, thanks for the shout-out in the newsletter! It's a challenge idling over here in hyperspeed tech-land, but there's still hope I think.... with a little luck my wife and I can avoid living the "life of the addict" that I most certainly see quite a bit these days in SF!

Joe

Mark
14/05/2014

Hi Joe -

Thanks very much for your comments. And a special commendation for a nice distinction between Cynics and being cynical.

On your questions:
1. On new therapy/practices - I think mindfulness is like Skepticism, inasmuch as it is an attempt to unidentify with what you think you know about yourself (I am anxious, I am depressed etc) so that a new dynamic might emerge. I just read a new book, Beyond Mindfulness (Palgrave Macmillan), that has a chapter making that direct comparison.

2. I think Plato helps in the science/religion debate, for example with his distinction between scientific and moral/spiritual knowledge. He argues that the scientific kind of knowledge is accumulative: once discovered it can be passed down from generation to generation. Moral knowledge - or how to live skilfully; or spiritual knowledge - how to see beneath surface appearance is a bit different because it is something felt as much as taught; engaged reflexively in the particular conditions of your life, rather than simply repeated by rote. An example might be learning to ride a bicycle. There are physical laws that describe what happens when you ride a bicycle, but actually learning to ride must be done afresh by each and every one of us. So the idea is that religious awareness/moral virtues are more like learning to ride a bike, than like accumulating laws of nature.

Hope that helps,
Mark