Philosophy: What does it mean to be me?

Ref: C2344312

What helps or hinders a sense of self – other people ? individualism ? altruism ? What does it mean to be ‘me’ and how do I know ? Do animals have a sense of self or only humans ? This course allows you to explore questions like these with the help of philosophical ideas. Knowledge of philosophy is not expected. The course will cover 1. How do we know who we are ? 2. Do individualism or altruism help or hinder a sense of self ? 3. humans and nature : part of it and apart from it 4. the self as (necessary) fiction e.g. Buddhism, postmodern ideas and radical doubt (Descartes) 5. the insignificance of the self ? – the context of religion and other belief systems

Course aim

To give students the opportunity to explore personal identity with the help of philosophical ideas

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • You will need your own personal email address so that you’re able to login to the WEA’s digital learning platform: WEA Canvas. You will need to be able to understand how to follow URL links to pages on the internet. If you want to understand more about Canvas please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline
  • You will need to be able to follow links to join our WEA live video learning platform: WEA Zoom. If you’d like to understand more about our video learning platform, Zoom please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline and http://bit.ly/ZoomSpec
  • This course is for beginners

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

  • give examples of what gives me or other people a sense of self
  • give an account of at least two different philosophical interpretations of personal identity
  • explain at least one of these interpretations in more detail
  • evaluate at least one of these interpretations : what is convincing and why, and what is less so and why ?
  • explain how my understanding of personal identity and the self has changed during the course – or why the interpretations covered have not changed my own understanding

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas will be used to provide resources or to support lessons, enable assessment, provide learner feedback and for other activities for individuals away from the course. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline
  • 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

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?

  • What you need: You will need an internet connection, speakers, a microphone and a webcam so that you can use our video learning platform, Zoom. If you’d like to understand more Zoom please visit: http://bit.ly/ZoomSpec
  • You will also need access to the internet outside of your sessions. You could do this using a smart phone, tablet, laptop or a desktop computer (at home or through a library etc.).
  • You will need a personal email address to join the WEA’s digital learning platform, Canvas so that you can receive resources, record your progress and achievement and to work with others and share ideas. If you want to understand more about our digital learning platform please visit: http://bit.ly/WEAonline

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
  • Students may wish to have a look at Julian Baggini, The Pig that wants to be eaten (Granta 2005), sections 54, 56, 62, 65, 88 and Philosophy Bites (online) numbers 021, 82, 101, 060, 219, S03, 142, 222

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 http://pearl.open.ac.uk/

Download full course information sheet

Philosophy: What does it mean to be me?

Conditions

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:

  • 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 2020
  • 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

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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