Centre for Continuing Education

Introduction to Philosophy Course I

Philosophy. Study the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality and existence.

Learn about philosophy the smart way with Philosophy courses at the University of Sydney.

This philosophy course provides participants with an understanding of the history of philosophy and the major contribution philosophy has made to areas of thought, such as political theory, ethics, aesthetics and the sciences. This introduction to philosophy course encourages the development of critical thinking and the use of informal logic techniques. In this philosophy course you will explore some of history’s great thinkers and philosophers including the Greek pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Kant, Nietzsche and Foucault. Come along, extend your intellectual horizons and find out why this introductory course creates a loyal following for our philosophy program.

Course Content

This introduction to philosophy course will cover the following content:

Introduction to Philosophy

We will commence with an overview of the course content and then consider the question: what is philosophy?

Greek Philosophy

How did Greek philosophy begin? We will consider this question through an analysis of the Pre-Socratic Philosophers: Thales, Heraclitus, Parmenides and Democritus. We will also introduce the topic of formal logic, the issues of truth and validity, and methods of good argumentation.

Plato on Justice

Plato’s political utopian text the Republic had a profound influence on most later political philosophy. We will discuss Plato’s concept of ‘justice’ and how he builds his utopian society based on that founding concept.


Aristotle’s philosophy in the Nicomachean Ethics will be studied as an introduction to the topic of ethics. Particular attention will be given to the problem of human ‘free will’. We will also consider the system of informal logic, and discuss some examples of good and bad arguments.

Seventeenth Century England

We move now from the Ancient Greek world to seventeenth century England and further develop the study of political philosophy through Thomas Hobbes' work: Leviathan. Problems such as the justification of political power and the problem of individual rights will be discussed. We will also continue our work on the problem of how to assess a sound argument.

Human Rights

John Locke introduces the idea of ‘human rights’ as a basis for his political theory. This idea is the foundation of Liberalism and integral to all Western political thinking. We will also consider Locke’s theory of private property including his concept of ‘property in the body’.

Immanuel Kant

The eighteenth century German philosopher Immanuel Kant is considered to be the founder of modern aesthetics. We will consider Kant’s theory of the importance of aesthetics to human life and his concepts of the ‘beautiful’ and the ‘sublime’.

Romantic Movement

The next development in philosophy which we will explore is the Romantic Movement. The Romantics shift the analysis of the human condition away from reason and social order to issues of emotion and the unconscious, irrational drives which subvert our rational intentions.

Friedrich Nietzsche

The late nineteenth century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche will be studied both for his aesthetic theories, which represent a core nineteenth century romanticism, and also for his critique of morality which introduces many of the themes which will preoccupy continental philosophy during the twentieth century.

Michel Foucault

This week we will introduce postmodern philosophy with the work of the French thinker Michel Foucault. We will look at his theories of how power works in social and political life; how the concept of ‘truth’ functions; and the role of the body in the political machinery of history. We will discuss his texts: The History of Sexuality Vol 1 and Discipline and Punish.

Intended Audience

This philosophy course is suitable for personal interest learners: school, university students, adult and active retirees.

Delivery Style

This philosophy course will be delivered as an interactive workshop where active participant participation is encouraged.


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • Statement of completion


  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Small class sizes
  • Free, expert advice
  • Student materials – yours to keep
  • Statement of completion

What others say.

  • A fantastic lecturer to bring the students into the heart of philosophy in these interactive classes!

  • Our presenter provided entertaining and informative sessions, full of thought-provoking ideas and light-hearted insights into everyday life. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to put some time aside to ponder the big questions of life in an environment that encourages dialog and feedback amongst participants. We had so much fun debating each other in those sessions.

  • The tutor was exceptional and managed to present complex material in a way that was engaging and intelligent. Also had a great sense of humour. I will be seeking out other courses conducted by the same tutor.

  • I already have recommended both this particular course and courses in general run by CCE. My experience of the tutors has been fantastic.

  • Just adore this tutor! They can make even the driest subject interesting and even fun.

  • Fabulous presenter who engages well with the group and makes the subject accessible and relevant to our lives. Very worthwhile experience. I’ll definitely be attending more courses with this tutor. Many thanks for the opportunity.

  • Great lecturer. The course was insightful and enjoyable to attend. The best thing about it was the ability to discuss openly about the topics.

  • A great tutor, with a very sound grasp on the material and an extremely engaging style of presentation.

  • The tutor was fantastic. Made the subject matter fun and understandable. I would be very interested to do more of their courses.

  • The course was exactly what I was looking for. The content delivered was at the level of the group. The lecturer was brilliant. I look forward to doing more courses.

  • Fabulous tutor. Very knowledgeable and entertaining.

  • An excellent lecturer. Delivery is highly stimulating. Succinctly and effectively explained complex concepts and their use of real-life examples to illustrate the points have been extremely helpful. This is a great introduction to philosophy!

  • An outstanding teacher – open, informed, generated great debate. If only all teachers could be like them.

  • The tutor was excellent and I was satisfied with the material that was covered in the course. I’ve enrolled for another course with the same tutor and very much looking forward to it.

  • An entertaining and knowledgeable lecturer, well-versed in the teaching of philosophy for beginners. They expressed complicated theories in a language which engaged our attention for 10 weeks. They made us laugh at their references to everyday-life to explain the deeper meanings. They listened to us too when we attempted to make sense of the great thinkers. I am looking forward to the next skeptical session with this tutor.

  • Bloody brilliant – second time I’ve done this!

  • I am looking forward to doing further courses. As I have probably said before, this tutor is an engaging lecturer.

$316 Limited inc GST
Introduction to Philosophy Course I

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