Since December 2016, I have had the pleasure and challenge of attending live, interactive video philosophy classes on Google Hangouts given by Dan Fincke, an excellent philosophy teacher. He is also the author of the blog, Camels with Hammers, our neighbor here at Patheos. You can find some of his best blog posts here.
At first, the reason I took his class on metaethics was to become better at refuting Christian assertions that atheists have no morals, or that Christians have cornered the market on morals. But as I began to appreciate the richness and depth of the thought that goes into not only the different schools of ethics, but also all the areas of philosophy, through Dan’s tutelage, I realized that I don’t have to go around armed to the teeth with weaponized arguments. Instead of being ready for a confrontation, I’m more ready for a conversation, actively and accurately listening to really understand the other person’s views rather than just to find an opening for my “devastating rebuttal.” As a result I have become more persuasive because I’m more approachable. People listen to me more if they feel well listened-to by me.
The groups are small and Dan makes himself as easily accessible as he makes the material. He frequently stops to ask if what he’s been saying or reading makes sense to the students, who are scattered around the world, and the ensuing dialogues can be fascinating and helpful. There is often a lot of humor. It is not necessary to read texts between the classes. There is no homework because Dan has found that busy people stick around longer and learn more when learning is not an extra chore, but instead is a once-weekly social experience. I always look forward to them.
Starting this coming Sunday, Oct. 7, he is starting fresh units on ethics (9:00a ET) and Political Philosophy (11:15a ET). For more information about his classes, you can use this link, email him at email@example.com, or join his Facebook group for prospective and current students.
On Monday, Oct. 8 (Columbus Day), Dan will hold a free party on Google Hangout for past, present, and prospective students. Drop in and meet him and other interesting people from around the world. Contact him at any of the above links for times and an invitation.
We often talk about the “marketplace of ideas.” Dan’s classes are the high quality store in that marketplace, but with very reasonable prices.
(Hemant’s disclaimer: This post is just a personal recommendation from Richard and not an advertisement. We don’t get anything if you sign up. We hope you enjoy the courses, though!)