Modern Philosophy

Ref: C2225393

Philosophy is an ancient discipline that encourages us to ask questions about the way we live. Your own views are what matter. This course is an introduction to modern philosophical thinking in the Western tradition. We begin with a look at how we reason and what makes a good argument, before turning to the work of five important canonical philosophers from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: John Stuart Mill, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Jean-Paul Sartre and John Dewey. (Preparatory reading is available in Sharon Kaye, Philosophy: A Complete Introduction.) Then we look at two important themes in philosophy: feminism and applied ethics. The course ends with two case studies: the thought of Simone Weil and the work of Martha Nussbaum.

Course aim

The course offers an introduction to philosophical thinking. Some canonical philosophers are looked at in detail and we examine feminist philosophy and applied ethics, ending with two case studies.

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:

  • Evaluate arguments
  • Discuss the work of some major philosophers of the modern era
  • Put forward my own philosophical views
  • Engage in philosophical debate

How will I be taught?

  • WEA tutor will give input and a lot of the session will be given to group discussion. There is set reading for each week to be done before a session.

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

What else do I need to know?

  • You need a copy of Sharon Kaye's Philosophy: A Complete Introduction Other materials are provided

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

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider

Download full course information sheet

Modern Philosophy


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact

Visa Credit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Debit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Electron payments supported by RBS WorldPay Mastercard payments supported by RBS WorldPay Maestro payments supported by RBS WorldPay JCB payments supported by RBS WorldPay Solo payments supported by RBS WorldPay
RBS WorldPay Payments Processing