About this Course
4.6
14 ratings
5 reviews
This is a course about the history of Skepticism from the ancient Greeks to today, with special attention to the political ramifications of questioning man's ability to know the world and himself with any certainty. We will discuss the debates raging between Plato and the Sophists, the rise of Christianity in the Roman world, and the so-called 'Skeptical Crisis' of the Renaissance as well as Pierre Bayle's Skepticism and David Hume's. In addition the Natural Law tradition will be explored and the relationship between Skepticism and Conservatism. In the second part, we will explore the systematic relations between Skepticism and politics. What is skeptical doubt? When is doubt relevant? How does Skepticism relate to tolerance and to freedom of expression? And can it help us to solve political problems not only in a critical, but also in a creative way?...
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Intermediate Level

Intermediate Level

Clock

Suggested: 3 hours/week

Approx. 15 hours to complete
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English
Globe

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Calendar

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Intermediate Level

Intermediate Level

Clock

Suggested: 3 hours/week

Approx. 15 hours to complete
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

1

Section
Clock
1 hour to complete

Political Origins

We will discuss the historical and philosophical backgrounds to Plato's rejection of democracy: they will turn out to be intimately connected to his rejection of Skepticism. In addition we will present Karl Popper's highly critical assessment of Plato's 'totalitarian' alternative. ...
Reading
3 videos (Total 18 min), 3 readings
Video3 videos
Plato versus the Sophists9m
Karl Popper versus Plato7m
Reading3 readings
"Plato, Protagoras, 317e-328d"10m
Suggested Reading: "Aristotle, Nicomachean ethics, III, 6-9"10m
"Plato, Republic, VIII, 555b-569c"10m

2

Section
Clock
1 hour to complete

Skepticism and Religion

We will sketch some of the skeptical arguments against Christianity developed by Roman philosophers, but we will also see how Skepticism soon turned into an ally of Christian theology. By the end of the seventeenth century, however, Pierre Bayle turned Skepticism into a highly questionable source of support to revealed religion....
Reading
2 videos (Total 16 min), 1 reading
Video2 videos
Montaigne to Bayle7m
Reading1 reading
"Bayle, Philosophical Commentary, II, 9."10m

3

Section
Clock
3 hours to complete

Skepticism and Natural Law

We will turn to the relevance of the early modern natural law tradition, serving as as an antidote to Skepticism. Grotius's efforts will be discussed, and we will see how during the eighteenth century David Hume pushed Skepticism to its ultimate and highly disturbing conclusion. ...
Reading
2 videos (Total 16 min), 2 readings, 1 quiz
Video2 videos
Skepticism and Natural Law7m
Reading2 readings
"Hume, Dialogues Concering Natural Religion"10m
"Grotius, The Law of War and Peace" (De Iure Belli ac Pacis)10m

4

Section
Clock
1 hour to complete

Skepticism and Conservatism

We will focus on the intimate relationship between Skepticism and the origins of eighteenth-century conservatism: Edmund Burke's analysis of the French Revolution will be put into perspective. But we will also pay attention to the way in which Skepticism came to serve as a progressive and liberating force, for instance in its critique of biblical authority. ...
Reading
2 videos (Total 17 min), 1 reading
Video2 videos
Liberating Skepticism8m
Reading1 reading
"Hume, Part I, Essay III"10m
4.6

Top Reviews

By JQJun 4th 2017

Nice Course. Enjoyed the concepts. Thanks, sincerely

Instructors

Wiep van Bunge

Prof. dr.
Faculty of Philosophy

Tim De Mey

Dr.
Faculty of Philosophy

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