Modern Philosophy Course (July)
Modern Philosophy with Mark Vernon
1st July – 5th August 2013
6 week course now booking
Dr Mark Vernon is 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 two on God – God: All That Matters (Hodder) and The Big Questions: God (Quercus) – and he has written books on friendship, wellbeing and the good life. Mark writes regularly for publications in the UK, including the Guardian, TLS and The Tablet. He also broadcasts on the BBC. He is an Honorary Research Fellow at Birkbeck College, University of London and a keen blogger at www.markvernon.com
Idler Course Testimonials
‘Mark is a great teacher who helps to bring clarity to some potentially very intimidating subjects.’
‘A great place to think, laugh and learn.’
‘It is much better to be talk philosophy than to read it.’
‘I never spent Sunday afternoons looking forward to Monday until I joined this course!’
1stJuly: Pre-modern philosophy and a forgotten giant: Thomas Aquinas
Although, the medieval period is known as the dark ages, it produced some of the greatest philosophers of all time. Boethius’ Consolations of Philosophy was a best-selling for centuries, teaching that a right mind and heart can withstand all the pains of fate. And then came Thomas Aquinas, a monk in the new hippy order of Dominicans, whose interpretation of Aristotle is marked by genuine genius. His insights on the good life, on human psychology and on God, are still important today.
8th July: Descartes and the birth of modernity
He stands on the threshold of a new way of being in the world, now called being modern, turning doubt on itself to see what can be known for certain, and controversially concluding ‘I think therefore I am’. But Descartes is widely misunderstood as responsible for mind/body dualism. In this Symposium we will look at what it means to be modern and try to set the record straight.
15th July: David Hume and Immanuel Kant: Idealism and empiricism
After Descartes two different attitudes towards the world took root. Empiricism claimed that only the senses could be trusted as a source of knowledge. Idealism argued that our mental construction of the world must come first. Kant is the towering figure of the Enlightenment, attempting to outline the limits of human knowledge. Hume was famous as a historian of England during his lifetime, but since then his philosophy, particularly of science and religion, raise important skeptical issues.
22nd July: Nietzsche, Foucault and the philosophy of the self
In this symposium, we cast an eye towards what is known as continental philosophy, which is generally as interested in questions of how to live alongside those of analytic philosophy’s how can we know. Foucault provides a stimulating entrée into this different world. A disciple of Nietzsche, and theorist of the self and sexuality, his ideas have percolated very widely.
29th July 2013: God and the modern philosophy of religion
Philosophy has become a separate discipline from theology, even more so from spirituality, a change that would have astonished the ancient philosophers. We will consider the so-called proofs for the existence of God, the nature of faith, the relationship between science and religion – and whether there is a conflict – and just what is the nature of the link between godliness and goodness, if there is one at all.
5th August: Karl Popper and the philosophy of science
Modern science is indisputably one of humankind’s most powerful inventions, but just what it discovers and how it works is widely contested. Popper is a crucial figure in this debate, with his measure of falsifiability. He also wrote very well about history and Darwinism. We will also consider Thomas Kuhn, and the notion of paradigm shifts, and other contemporary interpretations.
|Place||The Idler Academy, 81 Westbourne Park Road, W2 5QH|
|Dates||Monday 1st July to Monday 5th August|
|Time||6:30pm till 8pm|
|Duration||£150 / £135 Fellows|
|Class Size||Maximum of 20|
|To Book||Add to basket or call 0207 221 5908|
|Benefits||Idler exercise book & pencil / glass of Sfuso wine|
|Testimonial||'Mark is a great teacher who helps to bring clarity to some potentially very intimidating subjects'.|