Philosophy Basics: What do Philosophers do?

Ref: C2347295

The question what philosophers do is part of ‘doing philosophy’. This taster course covers different answers to this question - philosophy as a set of tools for clarifying concepts; as an aid to scientific inquiry; as an approach to understanding human existence; as a system of thought; as a way to arrive at principles of government or rules for morality; as the search for meaning in life. The format will be a combination of tutor presentation, student activity and discussion.

Course aim

The aim of the session is to give an indication of the range of activities philosophers typically do and the kinds of questions they ask (and to some extent answer).

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • say at the beginning what I think philosophers do
  • explain at least 2 different philosophical activities
  • give at least 2 examples of a philosophical and a non-philosophical (e.g. everyday, or scientific) treatment of an issue or a question
  • say at the end to what extent my idea of what philosophers do has changed as a result of the course

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

This is an online course. You will need an email address, reliable Internet access, and a CANVAS account. Help with CANVAS is available from the national WEA team.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Philosophy Basics: What do Philosophers do?

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This course has been cancelled.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you enrol. Please check the details below to ensure you meet the basic eligibility critiera:

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  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2021
  • You declare that the address you provide is correct and that you will provide evidence of this and your eligibility to live and work in the UK
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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