Today in Part Two of our series, we focus on the best courses in philosophy and religion. Evolving our knowledge helps us to grow. So, even though a course can’t replace experience, it can make life easier. Let the pathfinders in education lay it out for you and share their knowledge as you explore philosophy, religion and even plants. With so many great thinkers before us, it’s helpful to have an organized curriculum to follow and forums in these courses allow you to participate with other students and teachers. There are many more free formal courses offered online, over 1000 and hopefully, this will help you get a headstart.
Featured courses in the realm of philosophy and religion
The list is in no specific order and the descriptions below each course name are from Coursera. And even though you might think it odd, I’ve included a course on plants here since the teacher discusses their experience of life and their consciousness – intriguing!
Introduction to Philosophy, University of Edinburgh
This course will introduce you to some of the main areas of research in contemporary philosophy. Each module a different philosopher will talk you through some of the most important questions and issues in their area of expertise. We’ll begin by trying to understand what philosophy is – what are its characteristic aims and methods, and how does it differ from other subjects? Then we’ll spend the rest of the course gaining an introductory overview of several different areas of philosophy.
Metaphysics is a dark ocean without shores or lighthouse, strewn with many a philosophic wreck. – Immanuel KantClick To Tweet
Philosophy, Science and Religion: Science and Philosophy, University of Edinburgh
Philosophy, Science and Religion mark three of the most fundamental modes of thinking about the world and our place in it. Are these modes incompatible? Put another way: is the intellectually responsible thing to do to ‘pick sides’ and identify with one of these approaches at the exclusion of others? Or, are they complementary or mutually supportive? As is typical of questions of such magnitude, the devil is in the details. For example, it is important to work out what is really distinctive about each of these ways of inquiring about the world. In order to gain some clarity here, we’ll be investigating what some of the current leading thinkers in philosophy, science and religion are actually doing.
This course, entitled ‘Science and Philosophy’, is the first of three related courses in our Philosophy, Science and Religion Online series. The first launch is now closed to enrolments. We will launch a new version of the course on July 1st 2018.
Buddhism and Modern Psychology, Princeton University
The Dalai Lama has said that Buddhism and science are deeply compatible and has encouraged Western scholars to critically examine both the meditative practice and Buddhist ideas about the human mind. A number of scientists and philosophers have taken up this challenge. There have been brain scans of meditators and philosophical examinations of Buddhist doctrines. There have even been discussions of Darwin and the Buddha: Do early Buddhist descriptions of the mind, and of the human condition, make particular sense in light of evolutionary psychology?
This course will examine how Buddhism is faring under this scrutiny. Are neuroscientists starting to understand how meditation “works”? Would such an understanding validate meditation—or might physical explanations of meditation undermine the spiritual significance attributed to it? And how are some of the basic Buddhist claims about the human mind holding up? We’ll pay special attention to some highly counterintuitive doctrines: that the self-doesn’t exist, and that much of perceived reality is in some sense illusory. Do these claims, radical as they sound, make a certain kind of sense in light of modern psychology? And what are the implications of all this for how we should live our lives? Can meditation make us not just happier, but better people?
Understanding Plants – Part I: What a Plant Knows, Tel Aviv University
For centuries we have collectively marvelled at plant diversity and form—from Charles Darwin’s early fascination with stems and flowers to Seymour Krelborn’s distorted doting in Little Shop of Horrors. This course intends to present an intriguing and scientifically valid look at how plants themselves experience the world—from the colors they see to the sensations they feel. Highlighting the latest research in genetics and more, we will delve into the inner lives of plants and draw parallels with the human senses to reveal that we have much more in common with sunflowers and oak trees than we may realize. We’ll learn how plants know up from down, how they know when a neighbor has been infested by a group of hungry beetles, and whether they appreciate the music you’ve been playing for them or if they’re just deaf to the sounds around them. We’ll explore definitions of memory and consciousness as they relate to plants in asking whether we can say that plants might even be aware of their surroundings. This highly interdisciplinary course meshes historical studies with cutting-edge modern research and will be relevant to all humans who seek their place in nature.
This class has three main goals: 1. To introduce you to basic plant biology by exploring plant senses (sight, smell, hearing, touch, taste, balance). 2. To introduce you to biological research and the scientific method. 3. To get the student to question life in general and what defines us as humans.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of the series with a collection of courses on Sustainable Earth tomorrow.
Other articles in series include:
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My Philosophy, Boogie Down Productions
Boogie Down Productions’ official music video for ‘My Philosophy’. Click to listen to Boogie Down Productions on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/BDPSpot?IQid=BDPMP As featured on By All Means Necessary.
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