Understanding the modern world

Course Dates: 09/01/24 - 26/03/24
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
Location: Keeley Street
Explore the ideas of four key thinkers whose ideas have vitally shaped our world. Examine their views on morality, meaning, the role and status of women, human nature, political and economic injustice and much more.
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Full fee £179.00 Senior fee £179.00 Concession £116.00

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Understanding the modern world
This course has started
  • Course Code: HP139
  • Dates: 09/01/24 - 26/03/24
  • Time: 18:00 - 19:30
  • Taught: Tue, Evening
  • Duration: 11 sessions (over 12 weeks)
  • Location: Keeley Street
  • Tutor: Christopher Horner

Course Code: HP139

Started Tue, eve, 09 Jan - 26 Mar '24

Duration: 11 sessions (over 12 weeks)

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What is the course about?

Our world has been vitally shaped by the ideas of key thinkers: ideas about morality in a secular world and whether a radical loss of meaning threatens us, the role and status of women, the question of how 'human nature' ought to be understood (or rejected) , the character of political and economic injustice and exploitation and what can be done about it - and much more. This course introduces the ideas of four key thinkers and examines what they thought and what kind of influence they had on our world. Since their ideas are with us still, and they shape and influence us in myriad ways, we surely ought to examine what it is they have to say, and whether we agree with them or not. This course aims to give you the chance to do that for yourself.

What will we cover?

We will look at four thinkers: Nietzsche and the 'death of god', Marx and the radical critique of capitalism; Hannah Arendt and the 'banality of evil', & Simone de Beauvoir and the seeds of post war feminism.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

Describe the core ideas of these thinkers and be able to relate their ideas to our world. Identify why they argued as they did and both who they influenced and the debates they sparked. You should be able to use and explain the key concepts we will be looking at in the course, such as 'nihilism', 'the banality of evil', the concept of women as 'the second sex', and more.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The level is introductory. No previous knowledge is assumed and all you need is an interest in the kinds of ideas we will be looking at. An open mind and a willingness to listen to and think about views with which you do not always agree are more important than specific levels of skills.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Lively tutor presentations and seminar discussions. The aim is to inform, stimulate and inspire you to think further about the issues we will look at. Suggestions for weekly reading will be provided but this work will not be compulsory. There will be a dropbox available in which all the resources used in the course will be available for you to download.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Whatever you need to take notes would be useful..

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

You might be interested in HP133 German Idealism from Kant to Hegel: the beginnings of continental philosophy. See our full offer of philosophy courses on our website.

Christopher Horner

Chris teaches, studies and writes about philosophy and many other things. He has taught adult learners for many years and is committed to the view that the subject should be taught in a lively way that stimulates and empowers students, and that relates both to history, culture and society more widely. Most importantly, students should begin to see how philosophy relates to them, and that it is something they can engage in with confidence and success. He has studied at the University of Sheffield, University of East Anglia, Goldsmiths and Roehampton Universites and has a PhD, the subject of which was Hannah Arendt and Kant’s Theory of Reflective Judgment. He is the co-uthor of the Cambridge University Press Book ‘Thinking Through Philosophy’, and has published numerous articles, mainly on philosophical issues. He has a strong interest in politics, history, literature, the visual arts and music and is a keen landscape photographer.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.