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Back to Know Thyself - The Value and Limits of Self-Knowledge: The Examined Life

Learner Reviews & Feedback for Know Thyself - The Value and Limits of Self-Knowledge: The Examined Life by The University of Edinburgh

141 ratings
44 reviews

About the Course

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....

Top reviews


Sep 03, 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!


Sep 07, 2018

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

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26 - 44 of 44 Reviews for Know Thyself - The Value and Limits of Self-Knowledge: The Examined Life

By Richard S

Jul 21, 2019

A course that has impacted the way I live and think. Would recommend to anyone.

By 马秀欢

Jul 25, 2019

It's really useful and helpful,especially the extra materials applied in it. Thank you for everything.

By Karen P

Jun 03, 2019

Very interesting course. Engaging and well structured.

By A. E H

Sep 16, 2019

Lovely course. It is the first time I complete a course in philosophy. It gave me an overall idea of the main paths of thinking that were there in the world to explain our existence and what a good life is. I was surprised to see that we are still struggling 'to get it' after all these thousands of years! Why is it so difficult for the average human to get to know her/himself? I am grateful for the 'go further' bit . there were really interesting readings and videos to go deeper. The one about the oracle of Delphi was great. I loved the meditation minutes, I will practise them from now on. Thank you for making it available for all. :)

By Lynn-Marie H

Feb 19, 2019

Really interesting and well presented course. Even if there is only time available to take the basic level there are materials available to engage and go further into the subject as laid out. I didn't have that time but still explored. It filled in gaps for me and made me think. The tutor is very easy to listen to and if I do the next course I'll look at his book too.

By Daniel S

Feb 19, 2019

Tests were pretty easy, did not challenge much. Not that that´s bad, its just a thing.

By louis f d m p s

Mar 17, 2019

Very interesting, I think it is a great start to the knowledge of thyself this background.

By Kali

Sep 27, 2018

Enjoyed the lectures very much. Found it to be thought provoking and informative.

By Wasi A R

Sep 28, 2018

Module 4 felt a bit dry but the first three were interesting.

By Tatiana F M

Sep 04, 2018

Very interesting course and subject. There is much more to learn about it, I'm waiting for the next course to go deeper in the subject.

By J e

Sep 06, 2018

It is a very interesting course. I am very curious about the two upcoming course in this series. Questioning the self is probably not for everyone. It is not a courses that is taken for just a credit it is an experience for those of us with a sense of wonder and an inquiring spirit.

Thank You

By Seren R

Sep 06, 2018

I have really enjoyed this course, and learned a lot. The materials are accessible and well produced. Having a written text along with the lectures helps to cement the knowledge acquired. There is a good variety of further learning options, so for issues that were really interesting or new to me I was able to access materials that went deeper (for example, on Mencius and 2 other Chinese philosophers who I had never read or learned anything about before).

The discussion boards provide a great place for participating in discussions, and Prof Green provides a good variety of discussion prompts to make it interesting.

The course is well created to allow participants to engage more or less intensely. I had one week during the course when I was unable to do any of the optional extras, but the lectures gave enough of an overview to allow me to still learn something. The weeks that I was able to engage more and go further, there was plenty of depth to explore.

By James A H

Sep 06, 2018

This course has helped me to reflect on what wisdom is, what I can know about myself from introspection, what I can know about others by observation, what human nature is and how to formulate and express my own opinions. It is well thought out, the materials are good and there are many links to go further. It has exceeded my expectations. Brilliant!

By harley m

Sep 06, 2018

Very good course and I thought the presentation and presenter were excellent. It seemed to start off on the basis that those attending had virtually no knowledge of philosophy, so was a little slow in the beginning for me but it picked up nicely. I have now done a number of these courses provided by University of Edinburgh and have always found them excellent. I really look forward to the next one. Thank you.

By Sirinarueman M

Aug 31, 2019

this is very new to me, good to know such that things in life.

By Kasia

Jan 02, 2019

What I really liked was the fact that the professor/ assistant have answered personally the questions of the users. Nevertheless, I give only three stars because the content of the course has not been so interesting as I hoped for and it was focusing on the thoughts of only four philosophers. This is the course that I have the least material from. Thank you anyway!

By sanika s

Aug 31, 2019

A very interesting and illuminating course that provided exposure to diverse theories about the 'self'. However I wish this course had provided more scope and means for self-introspection and formulating new theories instead of just learning about existing ones. It would also have been nice to hear from different instructors instead of the entire course being conducted by a single instructor. Nevertheless an overall satisfactory course and I thank the instructor and the creators of this course for creating this course.

By nudrat s

Oct 16, 2019

Its a wonderful course but the only thing i think it lacked was the actual connection to knowing thyself.It explores philosophical theories but nothing clinical psychological truths about knowing oneself better.

By Ayfer B

Aug 22, 2018

Let me first point out that the staff put a lot of work into this. This is much appreciated.

The course, though, isn't structured well. Definitions of terms are missing which makes communication and dicussions difficult.

It takes a long time to understand what the point of the video lecture is.

Threads are deleted which is highly questionable.

Staff tries to welcome every student, but then misses some, and those who weren't greeted feel left out.