I used to assume, like many people, that philosophy is only an esoteric field that has little to do with practical living in the “real world.” I have since begun to appreciate that philosophy permeates every assumption we make, every attitude we have, every value we hold, and every social structure and institution that affects our lives. When we don’t know what those underlying philosophies are, we are blind to how they steer our fates. We’re helpless to make well-considered choices that steer ourselves in better directions, directions that consciously belong to us, rather than the mindless happenstance of where and when we were born. We should live by our philosophy, not that of someone else whose ideas and whose name we might never know.
For the last several months I have been participating in a class on metaethics via online video chat offered by a professional philosophy teacher and a good friend of mine, Dr. Daniel Fincke.
The last time I wrote about his classes was in 2013, and at that time I had not yet formally been a student of his. So now I can attest through abundant direct experience that he is an excellent teacher who is very attentive to each student’s ability to understand the material as he goes along. (I’m the slowest one in the class, so that’s an invaluable aid for me.) The material is interesting and challenging, and Dan keeps it accessible for me. He’s creative, flexible, and quick to allow humor to lighten the moment and enlighten the mind.
The other students in my class are as interesting as the material. My classmates have attended from their far-flung homes in New Zealand, across the U.S., and in Europe. Their wide-ranging experiences and viewpoints enrich the discussions that Dan encourages.
The classes run year-round, and new students can start at any point. They can try any of the classes, and their first session is free. There’s a special back-to-school rate for students who start by September 9.
It’s all guided discussion; there are no required readings. Dan reads key portions of the necessary texts in class so that people are still exposed to the writings of the philosophers themselves, but without having to struggle with long, difficult works that they might not have the background to understand on their own.
Dan is currently offering a wide variety of classes.
The subjects include:
- Moral Evolution, Psychology, and Philosophy
- Political Philosophy for the Age of Trump
- Philosophy for Atheists
- Normative Ethics
- History of Philosophy: 50 Most Influential Philosophers, 1800-2000
- Virtues, Values, and Meaning in Life
- Philosophy of Religion
Check out his Welcome Page here.
Dan is also the author of an online neighbor of ours here at Patheos, the blog Camels With Hammers. It’s a very personal, insightful, and fascinating collection of thoughts on timely topics from a man with a remarkable mind and a warm heart.
I should mention that this is a personal recommendation. This isn’t an ad, and we don’t get anything if you sign up. It’s just a wonderful course and I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I have.