About this Course
4.6
53 ratings
25 reviews
According to legend, inscribed on walls of the temple on the sacred site of Delphi in Ancient Greece were two premier injunctions: NOTHING IN EXCESS, and KNOW THYSELF. This course will be an examination of the latter injunction in an effort to discover what self-knowledge is, why it might be valuable, and what, if any, limitations it might face. What is missing from a person lacking in self-knowledge that makes her less wise, virtuous, or competent in certain areas than others who have this capacity, and what if anything might she do to fill that gap? Historical sources as well as recent research in philosophy, experimental social psychology, and neuroscience will inform our investigation, in the course of which we will become students of our own dreams, and cultivate some meditative practices. Learning Outcomes: Learners will gain familiarity with prominent themes from Western, classical Chinese, and Buddhist approaches to our knowledge of ourselves. In the course of doing so, they will gain an appreciation of the relation of self-knowledge to wisdom, of the value of intellectual humility, as well as of methods of learning about oneself that do not depend on introspection. Learners will also become familiar with contemporary research in experimental social psychology, philosophy, and neuroscience into the emotions, the unconscious, the role of affect in decision making, and self-deception. They will also gain an appreciation of a challenge to the assumption of a coherent, unified self that derives from the Buddhist tradition. --- This course was created by a partnership between The University of Edinburgh and Humility & Conviction and Public Life Project, an engaged research project based at the University of Connecticut and funded by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation....
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Beginner Level

Beginner Level

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Suggested: 4 hours/week

Approx. 9 hours to complete
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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.
Beginner Level

Beginner Level

Clock

Suggested: 4 hours/week

Approx. 9 hours to complete
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

1

Section
Clock
26 minutes to complete

Getting started

...
Reading
4 readings
Reading4 readings
Introduction: Know Thyself @ Wireless Philosophy6m
About this course5m
Course assessments and exercises5m
Optional companion bookm
Clock
3 hours to complete

Socrates and the Examined Life

At his trial, charged with corrupting the Athenian youth, Socrates isn't exactly apologetic. He tells the jury to their faces that they only charged him because they don't like that he forces them to confront uncomfortable truths. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the jury sentences him to death. Socrates accepts the sentence unfazed, famously stating that he'd rather die than stop making people think, as 'an unexamined life is not worth living'. In this module we will examine this dictum and ask: was Socrates right to throw shade on the unexamimed life?...
Reading
8 videos (Total 48 min), 6 readings, 7 quizzes
Video8 videos
Is anyone wiser than Socrates?4m
I know that I know (almost) nothing6m
Meditative moment3m
Is an unexamined life worth living?5m
"Not to be lived"10m
What is knowledge good for?8m
Summary2m
Reading6 readings
Existentialist Comics - The "Apology"10m
Know Thyself, Chapter One10m
Interesting videos and podcasts10m
Plato's Apology - full text10m
'Socrates' by Professor Deborah Nails10m
'The Delphic Oracle: A Multidisciplinary Defense of the Gaseous Vent Theory' By Spiller et al10m
Quiz7 practice exercises
Initial thoughtsm
Practice Quiz 1: The Oraclem
Practice Quiz 2: knowledge, wisdom and ignorancem
Knowledge and ignorance15m
Do you agree?5m
Module One Quiz: 5 questions assessed10m
Chapter One Quiz10m

2

Section
Clock
4 hours to complete

Descartes' Essence

Are you dreaming right now? How do you know you're not? Rene Descartes set himself a pretty titanic task: to doubt absolutely everything he cannot be certain of - even that the world exists! - and then try to see if we can rebuild our knowledge of ourselves and the world only from what we can be really certain of. In the process, he formulated some provocative thoughts on the radical separation of the mind from the body....
Reading
9 videos (Total 67 min), 7 readings, 6 quizzes
Video9 videos
What can be called into doubt?9m
Are you dreaming now?8m
I think, therefore I am8m
Concerning God9m
The physical and the mental6m
Divisibility of mind and body4m
Meditative moment2m
Dualism5m
Reading7 readings
Know Thyself, Chapter Two10m
Interesting videos and podcasts10m
Brief essay on Descartes' argument for dualism10m
Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy10m
Correspondence between Descartes and Princess Elisabeth10m
Prof. Christia Mercer on Descartes' debt to Teresa of Avila10m
Rationalism vs Empiricism10m
Quiz6 practice exercises
Initial thoughts5m
Practice Quiz 12m
Practice Quiz 22m
Evaluate Descartes' argument10m
Evaluate the arguments again10m
Module Two Quiz: 5 questions assessed10m

3

Section
Clock
3 hours to complete

A re-casting of the Mind/Body problem

Descartes' dualistic picture of the mind-body relation was highly influential for centuries. A vocal minority of thinkers challenged dualism, but only in the Twentieth Century did Gilbert Ryle manage to discern how Descartes' dualistic reasoning went wrong. In understanding Ryle's approach, we will also gain an appreciation of how know-how is a legitimate form of knowledge, and of how one way of gaining self-knowledge is by looking outward rather than looking inward....
Reading
7 videos (Total 66 min), 7 readings, 5 quizzes
Video7 videos
Ghost in the machine9m
Stupid is, as stupid does12m
Embodied cognition13m
Locked in12m
The materialist strikes back6m
Meditative moment3m
Reading7 readings
Know Thyself, chapter three10m
Interesting videos and podcasts10m
On embodied cognition10m
Gilbert Ryle, The Concept of Mindm
Gilbert Ryle at the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy10m
Locked-In Syndrome10m
Another MOOC: more about embodied cognitionm
Quiz5 practice exercises
Initial thoughts5m
Practice quiz2m
More know-how intelligence2m
Examples of failed phosphorescence or introspection/infallibility15m
Module Three Quiz: 5 questions assessed10m

4

Section
Clock
4 hours to complete

MIND AND SELF: Some Aspects of Human Nature

Is there such a thing as a human nature? And if there is, how can we know what it is? In this module we will look at how the concept of human nature is used and potentially misused, and what can all this tell us about ourselves. And finally: can human nature be changed?...
Reading
7 videos (Total 50 min), 8 readings, 5 quizzes
Video7 videos
Investigating human nature7m
How best to live?8m
Theory of human emotions8m
Non-basic emotions7m
Second nature8m
Meditative moment2m
Reading8 readings
Existentialist Comics - Sartre10m
Human nature: Six things we all do (New Scientist)20m
Human nature matters (Aeon)20m
Some interesting videos and podcasts30m
Read more about Confucius, Mencius, and Xunzi (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)10m
Read more about Sartre, Existentialism, and Nothingness (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)10m
Steve Darwall: Empathy, Sympathy, Care10m
More on basic emotions10m
Quiz5 practice exercises
Initial thoughts5m
Your rituals2m
Human nature as an excuse15m
Part of human nature?2m
Module Four Quiz: 5 questions assessed10m
Clock
3 hours to complete

Final assessment

...
Reading
2 readings, 1 quiz
Reading2 readings
Share what you've learned by editing the Wikipedia entry on self-knowledge!m
A brief How-To10m
4.6

Top Reviews

By TGSep 3rd 2018

I learned a lot about what self-knowledge and how it can enhance my life. The lectures and forum discussions were very thought-provoking. The meditative moments were an added bonus!

By RRSep 7th 2018

this course was super well explained, lovely to watch, and very easy to absorb and apply to self through the introspection questions.

Instructors

Mitchell Green

Professor of Philosophy

Dr Simon Fokt

Learning Technologist
University of Edinburgh

About The University of Edinburgh

Influencing the world since 1583, The University of Edinburgh is consistently ranked as one of the world's top 50 universities. Today, we are an established and global leader in online learning, providing degree-level education to 3,000 online students in addition to 36,000 students on-campus. We also offer a wide range of free online courses in a variety of subjects. To find out more about studying for one of our online degrees, search for ‘Edinburgh online’ or visit www.ed.ac.uk/studying/online-learning/postgraduate ...

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you enroll for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun. If you choose to explore the course without purchasing, you may not be able to access certain assignments.

  • When you purchase a Certificate you get access to all course materials, including graded assignments. Upon completing the course, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

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