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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Introduction to Philosophy by The University of Edinburgh

6,867 ratings
1,608 reviews

About the Course

This course will introduce you to some of the main areas of research in contemporary philosophy. Each module a different philosopher will talk you through some of the most important questions and issues in their area of expertise. We’ll begin by trying to understand what philosophy is – what are its characteristic aims and methods, and how does it differ from other subjects? Then we’ll spend the rest of the course gaining an introductory overview of several different areas of philosophy. Topics you’ll learn about will include: Epistemology, where we’ll consider what our knowledge of the world and ourselves consists in, and how we come to have it; Philosophy of science, where we’ll investigate foundational conceptual issues in scientific research and practice; Philosophy of Mind, where we’ll ask questions about what it means for something to have a mind, and how minds should be understood and explained; Political Philosophy, where we'll investigate whether we have an obligation to obey the law; Moral Philosophy, where we’ll attempt to understand the nature of our moral judgements and reactions – whether they aim at some objective moral truth, or are mere personal or cultural preferences, and; Metaphysics, where we’ll think through some fundamental conceptual questions about free will and the nature of reality. The development of this MOOC has been led by the University of Edinburgh's Eidyn research centre. To accompany 'Introduction to Philosophy', we are pleased to announce a tie-in book from Routledge entitled 'Philosophy for Everyone'. This course companion to the 'Introduction to Philosophy' course was written by the Edinburgh Philosophy team expressly with the needs of MOOC students in mind. 'Philosophy for Everyone' contains clear and user-friendly chapters, chapter summaries, glossary, study questions, suggestions for further reading and guides to online resources. Please click "Start Here" and navigate to the "Optional Reading" page for more information....

Top reviews

Sep 1, 2015

I thoroughly enjoyed this course and find that it encouragingly sets some directions, and of course, raises my excitement for further study into some of the different fields of philosophy. Thank you.

Oct 7, 2015

Great explanations that is broken down with examples for understanding. Quizzes test for your understanding of the topic rather than just the textbook explanations. Challenging and thought revoking.

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By Cliff S

Aug 22, 2015

I enjoyed this course very much. Like many survey courses that are well-conceived, this one stimulated enthusiasm for learning more about some of the topics. So much so in my case that I have enrolled in another course from the University of Edinburgh relating to philosophy and science. I expect it will be equally thought provoking as its delivery involves some of the same faculty.

I believe this course would be improved if there was a mechanism for constructive feedback on missed exam questions that illustrate how the questions at hand are integral and in context to the presentations and supplemental readings (some of which I pursued). Simply referring a student back to the course outline does not assist learning when a student does not understand why a chosen answer is incorrect in context. I realize this is a tall ask for an online course. In my own experience as a university faculty member having developed computer assisted instruction and simulations (physiology and anesthesiology) there is no replacement for contact and conversation with an engaged teacher whose interest lies in helping people learn. That said, I reflect that my constructive comments are made in light of my overall satisfaction that this course has succeeded in stimulating interest in learning more about the interface and complementary nature of science and philosophy.

Borrowing a phrase from the course itself, "well done".

By Julio F

Nov 2, 2020

An interesting course that touches several subtopics in philosophy, expect to explore subjects such as morality, roots of knowledge, political obedience, the formation of beliefs, free will, and some logical exercises regarding time traveling.

The approach offered by the instructors doesn't assume any prior knowledge on the topic, and oftentimes examples of everyday life are brought to illustrate their points. On top of that, the fact that each section is structured in a similar manner helps with the learning process. The material is usually presented in the form of a central question, arguments from its key philosophers, counterviews, and a closing that brings to the table contemporary questions around the topic.

My 4-star rate is based on the fact that not all the sections contained a handout that, which makes it easy to access the content in the future. Apart from that, the quality of the lectures was quite high. I appreciate the fact that the University of Edinburgh staff invested their time and effort in making this material freely available.

I recommend this course if you are new to the field, and is seeking an overview. Students who have experience within philosophy might find it useful as a refresher, or perhaps as a way to access tangent subjects beyond their expertise.

By Tina D

Jul 23, 2017

I expected it to be an introduction to philosophy for true beginners - for those people who have absolutely no idea about philosophy, or have never taken a philosophy course before. Fortunately, I have previous knowledge of the branches and sub-branches of philosophy [Metaphysics (Cosmology, Ontology, Theology), Epistemology, Logic, Axiology/Value Theory (Ethics & Aesthetics), Political Philosophy, Social Philosophy, Language Philosophy], and their key concepts. I would have called the course "Issues in Philosophy Today" because the course focused on certain concepts from almost each branch. This course, however, gave me many insights into what kind of philosophical research is presently being conducted at universities, or at least at this university (University of Edinburgh). The course is very well organized and easy to follow. Extra reading would be necessary for those who cannot understand some key concepts. Thank you for offering this course for free for those of us who are interested in certain subjects for the sake of pure knowledge and interest.

By Behnam D

Oct 28, 2020

There are several positive points about the course. First, it was thought by multiple professors in their areas of expertise. Therefore, it made it more interesting with different personalities and genders. I was pleased to see 3 female professors as well because philosophy in the past was only considered by men! So, I am glad to see progress in this regard. By the way, I am a male but support women!

One concern was about the tests. In some cases, the quiz had several options and for instance we can choose all if appropriate. In one case, I did answer about 9 answers right but one incorrect and got zero point! The topics did not go deep enough based on my expectation. But this is an introductory course and appears to be appropriate. As I look at some reviews, some thought the topics were difficult but not for me as I have had more experience. But it was a good, comprehensive course and one can use to build upon if more interested. Overall, I like the course and Scottish/British/? accents!!

By jean c c

Sep 5, 2017

Me pareció una espectacular introducción a la Filosofía, aborda algunas cuestiones generales del debate filosófico a través de la historia y que instan la curiosidad intelectual por la Filosofía, aprendí muchas cosas que no sabía que no sabía...jeje agradezco a los profesores por esclarecer las teorías con ejemplos cotidianos, esto ayudó mucho para entender cada tema y me gustaron muchos las semanas de Filosofía política, Filosofía de la mente, ''los estatus de la moral'', sobre el libre albedrío y determinismo , el objetivo de la ciencia fue una lectura muy agradable , la lectura de ''¿Debes creer lo que oyes'' estuvo muy emocionante! . Hubieron lecturas que no tenían subtitulos, traduje los subtitulos en inglés porque aún estoy aprendiendo el idioma, con el traductor de pierde un poco de sentido y debido a esto algunas lecturas no las entendí muy bien. Gracias por ofrecer este preciado conocimiento. ¡Que viva la universidad!

By Jose M L S

Jan 14, 2018

It was a fantastic first online learning experience for me. What I liked about the course was that it was easy paced and did not need a daily commitment. I feel it has given me a great background to launch into further areas of my interest. I thought all the lectures were informative and well structured and explained. I had an issue with the peer assessment. I could not find the link in the first week and so I contacted the Coursera Admin and was told that it was discontinued by the University of Edinburgh. However, after doing the last assessment of Week 5 when I clicked next, I was lead to the Peer Assessment which is not too late for me to work on as I am free only during the weekends. But all in all.... for a 50+ year old guy... it was an experience that I feel is going to make a huge difference in my life.