Makers of Modern Thought

Ref: C2224666

The course will examine the lives, ideas and legacies of some key philosophical and scientific thinkers from pre-modern, to modern and post modern times. Thinkers such as Freud, Marx, Nietzsche, Darwin, Voltaire, Hume, Blake, Newton, Galileo, Luther, Aquinas will take us back in history to Greeks like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle as well as Hebrews such as Jesus, Paul and to Augustine. Truth, value, and beauty were the concerns of all these great thinkers and their ideas and questions will be examined in an accessible and balanced manner which encourages discussion.

Course aim

To explore and evaluate the lives, ideas and legacies of the makers of modern thought.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • The course is for those with an interest in philosophical ideas and how they connect with science and religion

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

  • Identify and comment upon the Greek legacy
  • Identify and comment upon the Hebrew legacy
  • Identify and comment upon a Renaissance scholar- e.g. Galileo, Descartes
  • Identify and comment upon an Enlightenment thinker- e.g. Hume, Newton
  • Identify and comment upon a modern thinker- e.g. Darwin, Wittgenstein

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • Each session will include a slide presentation to illustrate material and highlight key questions

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • Some questions about each session will be offered for HW which will be discussed the following week. The tutor encourages weekly email communication about aspects of the course.

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • A summary sheet of each session will be offered but note taking may be useful.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • useful books- Philosophy all that matters Julian Baggini Philosophy a complete intro. Sharon Kaye

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Access the WEA What Next? booklet here

Download full Course information sheet

Makers of Modern Thought


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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