Photograph of Greg Artus teaching philosophy

"Philosophy was fantastic.... It was taught by Greg Artus. Amazing course" - Student in 2018 (anonymous feedback)

At a Glance

  • Live online course
  • 1 hour a week
  • Tuesdays 13:00 - 14:00
  • 10 weeks: April to June
  • Tutor: Gregory Artus
  • Fees from £60 to £105
  • Imperial College attendance certificate (T&Cs apply)
  • Book from 1 March 2021
Booking link

Philosophy is about trying to understand who we are, what other people are and how we live our lives. It is about the nature of reality and the nature of morality, logic and truth. It is about how we think and about how we might use the processes of thought to shape our lives. In fact, the range of philosophical thought is immense, and so on this short lunchtime course we will only begin to scratch the surface.

Despite that we aim to be ambitious, looking at some of the big ideas that shape our lives, such as how should we live our lives, what is good and evil, how do we know the world is as it seems to us, and what is the relation between the mind and the body? Some of the questions we may address will be:

  • It is becoming a commonplace to hear people say that we now live in a post-truth world, but what does this mean, and what is to say of some claim that it is true? Can ever know the truth?
  • We are all faced with moral dilemmas of many kinds every day, from whether to tell a friend an uncomfortable truth, to life changing questions about how we ought to live our lives. But what is it to say of some choice that it is the right one? What is the difference between right and wrong, and how are we to know the difference between good and evil?
  • We are continually being told that machines are intelligent and that conscious machines are just around the corner, but what is it to say of something that it is conscious?  What is a mind and what is a thought? And how are we to find a place for the mind in the world of purely physical things described by the natural sciences?

During the 10 weeks, Greg Artus will introduce us to philosophical ideas that have occupied the thoughts of some of the world's greatest thinkers, and encourage us to test them against our own beliefs and experiences.

The class format will involve an introduction to philosophical ideas by the tutor. It will also be an interactive class, so you will be encouraged to take part in the, sometimes lively, debates.

No academic qualifications or previous experience of philosophy is necessary and this beginners' adult education class is open to all.

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'.

Attendance Certificate

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 Information

Course Programme

Provisional Course Programme

(may be subject to change or modification depending upon the direction in which students wish to take the discussion)

  1. What is philosophy and what is it to analyse an issue from a philosophical perspective?
  2. The foundations of knowledge and the long search for the truth about our world.
  3. Can science ever be completed?
  4. What is the relation between mind and body?
  5. How can my mere thoughts cause me to do anything at all?
  6. Can machines ever be conscious?
  7. Do we have free-will?
  8. What is morality?
  9. How can we know what is the right thing to do?
  10. Is there such a thing a human nature, and is it fundamentally selfish?

Additional Reading

There is no requirement to undertake specific reading for this course, but if you are interested in reading more on the subject you might enjoy:

  • Edward Craid, (2002) Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press
  • Blackburn, S. (1999) Think, Oxford, Oxford University Press
  • Blackburn, S. (2001) Being Good, Oxford, Oxford University Press
  • Hospers, J. (1997) An Introduction to Philosophical Analysis, London, Routledge,

Your Tutor

Photograph of Greg Artus

Greg Artus is a philosopher who teaches a range of philosophy courses at Imperial College, mainly on the Horizons undergraduate programme where he teaches introduction to philosophy, moral philosophy, and the philosophy of mind. He also teaches research ethics, business ethics and epistemology to Phd and Masters Students, and philosophy of medicine to medical students. His particular research interests are meta ethics, the philosophy of Wittgenstein, machine ethics, phenomenology and process philosophy.

Course Delivery

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.

Zoom

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

HoursWeeksStandard RateInternal RateAssociate Rate
10  10  £105
£60
£80
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

Standard Rate

  • Applicable to all except those who fall under the Internal Rate or Associate Rate category, respectively.

Internal Rate

  • 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 evening eveningclass@imperial.ac.uk before completing the online enrolment form.

Associate Rate

  • 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

Late enrolment

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.

Term Dates

HoursWeeksAutumn termSpring termSummer term
 10  10 n/a n/a w/c 26 Apr - w/e 4 Jul 2021 (10 weeks)

Enrolment Process

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 sentWhen is it sentWhat does it contain
1. Payment confirmation Instantaneously following submission of your online application
  • Confirms payment, payment date, order number and course title
  • Should not be treated as a course-enrolment confirmation which is only sent later
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
  • Re-onfirms your course choice
  • Shows your course's term dates
  • Confirms your course' day of the week & time
3. Programme information Usually sent Friday late afternoon the week before term starts
  • Contains further course details incl. classroom location and teacher contact information
  • Provides further general programme details
If you need further help with the above information please ring 020 7594 8756

Any Questions?

  • Questions regarding the content and teaching of this course should be sent to the tutor, Mr Greg Artus, g.artus@imperial.ac.uk
  • Questions about your enrolment and payment should be sent to the Programme Administrator, eveningclass@imperial.ac.uk

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.