Philosophy: 10 Great Philosophers from the Western Tradition
"Philosophy should quicken life, not deaden it." - Susan Glaspell
At a Glance
- Live online course
- 2 hours a week
- Wednesdays 18:00 - 20:00
- 10 weeks: April to June
- Tutor: Matthew Rowe
- Fees from £120 to £205
- Imperial College attendance certificate (T&Cs apply)
- Book from 1 March 2021
This 10-week course provides an overview of 10 major philosophers from within the European tradition, examining the main areas and features of their thought as well as showing how aspects of their thinking, and the problems on which they focused, persist today in contemporary life, culture and thought.
Although each week is self-contained, the course will build to cover the central subjects, philosophical schools of thought and approaches within the European tradition.
You do not need to have previous experience or knowledge of philosophy to take this course.
Online Access to Course
This is a taught live online course which means you will be taught alongside other students on the course by a tutor at a specific time on a specific day of the week. To take part in the course you will need a suitably equipped and internet-enabled device. Please find full details and instructions below under 'Course Delivery'.
Those who attend at least 80% of the course sessions will receive an attendance certificate from Imperial College London upon completion of the course.
Course Programme (subject to minor modification)
Session 1: Plato’s problems
Abstract Knowledge, Reality and the Good Society and the contemporary legacy of his thought
Session 2: Aristotle’s problems
Logic, scientific method, human flourishing and virtue and the contemporary legacy of his thought
Session 3: Descartes’ Problems
Knowledge and doubt - and the relationship between mind and body and the contemporary legacy of his thought
Session 4: Locke’s problems
Empirical Knowledge, Property rights and the rule of Law? And the contemporary legacy of his thought
Session 5: Hume’s problems
Scepticism, rationality and the basis of morality and faith and the contemporary legacy of his thought:
Session 6: Kant’s problems
The structure of reality, the force of morality, aesthetics and the contemporary legacy of his thought:
Session 7: Nietzsche’s problems
How to be Human in a world beyond values and After God and the contemporary legacy of his thought:
Session 8: James, Peirce and Dewey - American Pragmatism’s problems
What’s the point of philosophy? Truth and knowledge as coherence and the contemporary legacy of their thought
Session 9: Heidegger’s problems
The nature of human existence, the nature of being, the construction of meaning and the contemporary legacy of his thought
Session 10: Wittgenstein’s problems
What is meaning? The limits of language and philosophy and the contemporary legacy of his thought
There is no compulsory reading required for this course, and there is no set course text.
About Your Tutor
Dr Matthew Rowe is an extremely experienced and engaging teacher of philosophy, as well as being a practising philosopher in his own right.
His interests lie in aesthetics, the philosophy of art and relationship between artistic practice and art theory. He is primarily a writer, although he also engages in solo and collaborative visual art practises when appropriate.
His current writing research focusses on site speficity within artisitic production and issues surrounding morality and photography. Current writing projects include an essay on John Waters and a philosophical analysis of irony and sincerity.
As well as teaching at Imperial College London, Matthew also lectures at City and Guilds of London Art School.
All our online courses are taught live which means you will be taught alongside other students on the course by a tutor at a specific time. To take part in the course you must be able to attend the online session at the time stated for the course description.
All times stated are British Standard Time.
To take part you will need a computer, or laptop, or tablet computer, connected to the Internet. The device you use will also need to have a camera, microphone and speakers. Most devices now have these built in, but if not you might have to buy them from a computer shop and to connect them to your device.
This course will use Zoom as its online delivery method. Zoom is very easy to use and you do not need to set up a Zoom account to use it. Near the date of your first online session you will be sent an email with a web address (or URL) that will allow you to access the course. This is called the Course Link. All you need do is click on the Course Link in the email and you will be asked to enter your name. This is the name that will be seen by your tutor and other students in the class.
Once you have entered your name you might be asked to enter a password to enter the class. The password will be included in the email sent to you. Once you enter the password you will either be taken directly into the class, or asked to wait in a virtual waiting room until the tutor is ready to let you into the class.
We have also produced a Handy Guide to Zoom [pdf] which gives you basic information on how to use it.
All courses lasting two hours have a 10 minute break in the middle. For one hour courses there is no break.
Course Fees and Rate Categories
|Hours||Weeks||Standard Rate||Internal Rate||Associate Rate|
|All fee rates quoted are for the whole course Please note there is no early-bird discount available for the April intake courses|
Rate Categories and Discounts
- Applicable to all except those who fall under the Internal Rate or Associate Rate category, respectively.
- Applies to current Imperial College students and staff (incl. Imperial NHS Trust, Imperial Innovations, ancillary & service staff employed on long-term contracts at Imperial College by third-party contractors).
- Current Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication (CLCC) staff, current CLCC PhD students, Science Communication (Sci Comm) postgraduate students, and students enrolled on an Imperial College 'Language for Science' degree programme should email firstname.lastname@example.org before completing the online enrolment form.
- Students (non-Imperial College)
- Alumni of Imperial College and predecessor colleges and institutes
- City & Guilds College Association members
- Members of the Friends of Imperial College
- Francis Crick Institute staff, researchers and students
- Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council staff
- Harrods staff
- Historic Royal Palaces staff
- Natural History Museum staff
- Science Museum staff
- South London Botanical Institute Members
- Victoria and Albert Museum staff
- Royal Geographical Society staff
- Royal College of Art and Royal College of Music tutors and other staff
- Austrian Cultural Forum staff
- Staff of Exhibition Road Cultural Group (Discover South Kensington) organisations
- Lycee Charles de Gaulle staff
- Tutors and other staff of other universities and higher education institutions
- Tutors and other staff of institution members of the Association of Colleges
- Residents of postcodes SW3, SW5, SW7, SW10 and W8
- Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
- Members of the South London Botanical Institute (SLBI)
- Members of the London Zoological Society
- Members of the Kennel Club
It is possible to enrol on many CLCC Evening Class and Lunchtime Learning programmes after the course has started. For non-language courses this is subject entirely to agreement by the tutor. For language courses it is subject to agreement by the language Coordinator conducting level assessment. If you want to join a course late do bear in mind there might be work you will need to catch up on, particularly in language courses.
Applicable terms & conditions
Please read the Terms and Conditions [pdf] before enrolling on any course.
|Hours||Weeks||Autumn term||Spring term||Summer term|
|20||10||n/a||n/a||w/c 26 Apr - w/e 4 Jul 2021 (10 weeks)|
Web enrolment starts 1 March 2021
Enrolment and payment run through the Imperial College eStore. Please click on the blue booking link on the relevant course page noting below instructions:
- Our rate categories are explained on the course page and your applicable rate category must be selected on the eStore
- First-time eStore users please create an account by entering an email address and password. These credentials should also be used for future bookings. Imperial College users please note the eStore is not a single-signon College system
- The booking process involves entering payment details before your course choice and applicant details are queried on an in-built questionnnaire which completes the process
- The following email notifications are sent
|What is sent||When is it sent||What does it contain|
|1. Payment confirmation||Instantaneously following submission of your online application||
|2. Enrolment confirmation||Sent in due course but likely not before the end of March. Please treat your payment confirmation as confirmation that your applicant details and payment have been received||
|3. Programme information||Usually sent Friday late afternoon the week before term starts||
|If you need further help with the above information please ring 020 7594 8756
- Questions regarding the content and teaching of this course should be sent to the tutor, Dr Matthew Rowe, email@example.com
- Questions about your enrolment and payment should be sent to the Programme Administrator, firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have enjoyed this course, why not look at other arts and humanities evening class courses at Imperial College. This includes courses on the history of western art from ancient Greece to the nineteenth century, Understanding Modern and Design, the history of film and cinema and Greek and Roman mythology in art. We also run practical courses in art and photography and creative writing classes, and a growing programme of science based evening classes.