Makers of Modern Thought.

Ref: C2225683

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 and Aquinas will take us back in history to Greeks like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle as well as Hebraic thinkers such as Jesus, Paul and Augustine. The Buddha and Confucius may also be considered. 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
  • This introductory 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:

  • Describe and comment upon the Greek legacy of e.g. Socrates, Plato
  • Describe and comment upon the Hebraic legacy of e.g. Augustine, Aquinas
  • Describe and comment upon a Renaissance scholar- e.g.Galileo, Descartes
  • Describe and comment upon an Enlightenment scholar e.g. Newton, Hume
  • Describe 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 topics 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 then be discussed next week. Email communication about the sessions are encouraged

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 available and can be supplemented by individual notes.

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?

Download full course information sheet

Makers of Modern Thought.


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

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