Philosophy: Truth, 'Post Truth' and Thinking Skills

Ref: C2337861

To some ‘post truth’ means freedom from the tyranny of rationality and experts. To others it is another word for ‘lies’. Develop and practice philosophical skills to understand truth and post truth better and to evaluate claims that we now live in a ‘post truth age’. We will cover: 1. what we mean by 'true' in everyday language; 2. Definitions of 'post truth'; 3. Different philosophical ways of understanding truth; 4. How the proponents of post truth and ‘fake news’ understand truth; 5. How to analyze arguments philosophically; 6. whether rationality is the opposite of emotion; 7. The relationship between argument and rhetoric; 8. how to apply the techniques of philosophical analysis to 'post truth' claims Suggested introductory study sources: B Dupre, 50 Philosophy Ideas, chs 2, 4, 6 (very introductory); S Blackburn, Think (OUP 1999), ch 1 (introductory); N Fearn, Philosophy (Atlanta 2005), ch 5 (introductory)

Course aim

To give students the opportunity to develop and practice philosophical skills so that they understand truth and post truth better and can evaluate claims that we now live in a ‘post truth age’.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

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

  • explain how 'true' is used in everyday language
  • give a definition of 'post truth'
  • summarize at least two different philosophical ways of understanding truth
  • explain how to spot good and bad arguments
  • analyse and evaluate at least one example of a 'post truth' claim

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
  • The work between class meetings will not be compulsory. The tutor may suggest opportunities for presenting your work but doing so will not be an expectation.

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 be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • Handouts (in paper or electronic form) will be provided. Please bring a digital device (such as a smartphone) if you have one and pen and paper.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information

Download full course outline

Philosophy: Truth, 'Post Truth' and Thinking Skills Course Outline

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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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