Course overview

Western philosophy begins with the ancient Greeks in the 6th century BCE. It includes three principal periods: Ancient Greek, Medieval, and Modern. This short course considers the Modern period. (The Modern period begins in the 17th century with the great French philosopher, Rene Descartes.) It considers some of the key elements in the thought of some of the great philosophers of this period. These philosophers are Descartes, Leibniz, Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Wittgenstein. These philosophers are concerned with a wide range of issues including knowledge, language, the world, and God. No prior specialist knowledge is required to attend this course.

Course description

Western philosophy begins with the ancient Greeks in the 6th century BCE.

It includes three principal periods: Ancient Greek, Medieval, and Modern.

This short course considers the Modern period. (The Modern period begins in the 17th century with the great French philosopher, Rene Descartes.) It considers some of the key elements in the thought of some of the great philosophers of this period. These philosophers are the rationalists Descartes and Leibniz, Hobbes, the empiricists Locke and Hume and Berkeley, Marx, and Wittgenstein.(Rationalists are philosophers who believe that the principal way to acquire knowledge is independently of experience. Empiricists are philosophers who believe that the principal way to acquire knowledge is by way of experience.) These philosophers are concerned with a wide range of philosophical issues. These issues include knowledge, language, the world, political philosophy, and God. No prior specialist knowledge is required to attend this course. Sessions consist of clearly structured talks and an encouragement to ask questions and to make comments. Participants are assisted in their understanding of the subject and in their critical engagement with it. There is in each session an opportunity to engage with other participants.

What financial support is available?

We don't want anything to stand in your way when it comes to bringing Adult learning within reach so if you need anything to support you to achieve your goals then speak to one of our education experts during your enrolment journey. Most of our courses are government funded but if you don't qualify or need alternative financial help to access them then let us know.

What other support is available?

All of our digital content, teaching and learning activities and assessments are designed to be accessible so if you need any additional support you can discuss this with the education experts during your enrolment journey and we will do all we can to make sure you have optimal access.

Share this page:

Lady giving a thumbs up to her tablet as she watches a WEA member lecture
Image overlay triangle

Become a WEA member today

For just £15 per year, you can access many great benefits, including our award-winning weekly member lectures.

Need more information?

Need help? Complete our form and our friendly Support Services team will be back in touch.

Course contact
I am most interested in (tick all that apply)

How do we use the information we gather from you?
Please see our privacy policy.