Free Online Philosophy Courses

Philosophers consider the big picture and the minutiae of the human experience – where do we come from? What is the purpose of life? What kinds of fallacies and arguments can be made about scenarios within various aspects of society – church, government, medical care, and legal processes? Philosophy majors grapple with these issues on a daily basis, applying various philosophical schools of thought to these situations to explore issues from multiple angles. And as philosophy majors, students will be expected to collaborate across disciplines with some regularity.

Sample Courses

Philosophy undergraduates will usually start out with courses that cover the fundamental schools of thought proposed by philosophers like Socrates, Aristotle, Descartes, Spinoza, Locke, Hume, and Hegel. These starting courses might apply classical theory to modern-day moral issues. Students will delve into logical systems, exploring concepts like quantifiable and propositional logic. Higher-level courses are dedicated to specific schools of thought, going in-depth with single philosophers or pivotal time periods, such as entire classes dedicate to modern philosophers or to the work of Kant. At the graduate level, scholars can branch off into a number of specializations, tying their studies in with disciplines like history, science, medicine, law and cultural studies.

Possible Specializations

Philosophy isn’t just the study of historical systems of thought. Many schools offer specialization options that allow students to dive into various cultural modes of philosophical thought, including Asian philosophy, Ancient Greek philosophy, and African philosophy. Philosophy can also be a gateway into further theological studies, allowing students to explore Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism, Hinduism, Islam, or Judaism in great detail.
Other colleges will take an interdisciplinary approach to specialization, allowing scholars to apply their knowledge to ethics in robotics, legal systems, hospitals, and places of worship. Generally, bachelor’s degree students can explore a specialization during their last two years within a program, and graduate students are typically expected to choose a specialization as they continue their work in philosophy.

Degree Types

Prospective philosophy majors can explore degree types ranging from the associate to Ph.D. level. These options will vary in length, cost, and open new career possibilities for graduates.

Associate

This degree generally takes two years to complete, and will provide students with an introductory look at the different schools of thought within Western philosophy. Students at this level aren’t likely to dive into any particular system in-depth. However, these initial credits can usually be applied to a bachelor’s philosophy program. Most entry-level jobs for philosophy majors require a higher degree than an associate’s degree.

Bachelor’s

A four-year philosophy program gives students enough time to cover the fundamental schools of Western philosophical thought and then choose a specialty to focus on. People who complete this degree type will qualify for several entry-level opportunities in newsrooms, publishing houses, political campaign offices, marketing departments, and religious organizations. All industries that require employees to have a strong sense of ethical direction.

Master’s

Philosophy students at the graduate level get to examine schools of thought as they pertain to specific fields, such as law, feminist theory, cultural studies, or religion. Master’s students might find themselves working in interdisciplinary settings, such as consulting with doctors on ethical courses of action, or lawyers on the direction of a case or the state of the legal system as a whole. Graduates might consider work as lawyers, ministers, or high school or even adjunct college instructors. Those who wish to teach philosophical theory full time at the collegiate level can continue into the Ph.D. program to become a professor.

Ph.D.

Student who pursue philosophy at the highest level gain some degree of mastery in philosophical logic and epistemologies. Ph.D. students are often required to choose a main specialization for the topic of their dissertation, and they will often combine their research with a teaching schedule. Ph.D. philosophy graduates usually pursue full-time careers as faculty members of a college or university, but they also qualify for administrative positions in think tanks or schools, or even consultants work in the business, legal, or medical spheres.
Philosophy students should explore membership within national honors societies, such as Phi Sigma Tau . These organizations can help students keep track of current field developments, network professionally, and earn funding through scholarship opportunities.

Ideal Candidates for Philosophy

Philosophy is a very challenging field of study, which emphasizes critical thinking skills and patience. It will take some time for students to become acquainted with fundamental philosophical theories, and they will need to be patient while working past assumptions and difficult logical theories.
Remember the Socratic method, and the consequential death of Socrates? Philosophers today face significantly less risk when it comes to asking questions – in fact, they are encouraged to be tenacious in their modes of inquiry. Many philosophical issues can only be address by asking questions, detecting fallacies, and analyzing humanity’s assumptions. Inquisitive minds can find success in philosophy because these individuals will find value in uncovering new ideas and logical problems, both big and small.

Career Pathways

Philosophy majors can find work across multiple disciplines, applying their logical and ethical expertise within government, health, business, IT, and science organizations. A degree in philosophy can prepare students for the LSAT, so that they can continue their education within law.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, lawyers earn a median pay of $113,530 a year, or $54.58 an hour. Philosophy students who wish to become lawyers will generally need three more years of legal study after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. After these educational requirements are complete, graduates must pass the bar exam before they can begin work as a lawyer.
Philosophy majors that earn a graduate degree can look into postsecondary instruction . These professionals earn an average of $71,210 a year, with the majority of instructors employed as faculty members at universities and other academic institutions. Philosophy graduates can also explore academic administration roles, which come with a median pay of $86,490 a year or $41.58 an hour.
Philosophy majors who decide to pursue careers with religious organizations earn an average of $47,880 annually, or about $23.02 an hour. Clergy members can be found in a variety of environments, such as hospitals, places of worship, nursing homes, and within the military.

Anyone looking to enter a philosophy degree program should take some time to contact faculty members and admissions officers, to make sure that their chosen school is a good fit. Students can then get philosophy career advice from honors society chapters, faculty guilds, and on campus advisors once they begin their academic journey.

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Get More Out of Your Online Philosophy Courses

He is widely regarded as one of Europe's most influential 20th century philosophers whose writings inspired some of the important thinkers of the modern era. But almost four decades after Martin Heidegger's death, scholars in Germany and France are asking whether the antisemitic tendencies of the author of Being and Time ran deeper than previously thought.

The philosopher's sympathies for the Nazi regime have been well documented in the past: Heidegger joined the party in 1933 and remained a member until the end of the second world war. But antisemitic ideas were previously thought to have tainted his character rather than touched the core of his philosophy – not least by Jewish thinkers such as Hannah Arendt or Jacques Derrida, who cited their debt to Heidegger.

This week's publication of the "black notebooks" (a kind of philosophical diary that Heidegger asked to be held back until the end of his complete work), challenges this view. In France the revelations have been debated vigorously since passages were leaked to the media last December, with some Heidegger scholars even trying to stop the notebooks' publication.

Philip Oltermann, The Guardian
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Philosophy in the News

Source: PhilosophyNews

Our Favorite Philosophy Blogs

Philosophy Journals & Trade Magazines

  • Journals

    • Journal of Moral Philosophy

      This journal has an international focus and publishes articles on a range of topics in normative philosophy.

    • Mind

      One of the longest standing journals of philosophy, this publication is especially selective, publishing new work in ethics, logic, metaphysics, the philosophy of language and science.

    • Noûs

      This journal publishes articles that address fundamental questions of philosophy, as well as critical book reviews.

    • Philosophical Review

      Published by Duke University Press, this journal has been in publication since 1892 and includes award-winning articles from all areas of academic philosophy.

    • Philosophy

      The journal of the Royal Institute of Philosophy in the UK, this publication makes it a mission to connect specialist philosophers and the general public.

    • The Journal of Philosophy

      The purpose of this journal is to "publish philosophical articles of current interest and encourage the interchange of ideas."

  • Trade Magazines

    • New Philosopher

      With the goal of helping readers lead a more fulfilled life, this magazine aims to please both academics and those new to the field.

    • Oxford Philosophy Magazine

      The faculty magazine at Oxford University covers all aspects of philosophy but focuses mainly on the Western tradition.

    • Philosophy Now

      This magazine aims to involve the general public in philosophy by covering all aspects of Western philosophy in an accessible, entertaining manner.

    • The Gadfly

      This magazine, published by undergraduate students at Columbia University, combines traditional philosophy with ethical and moral questions about current ...

    • The Philosopher's Magazine

      A respected but recent addition to the field, this magazine was founded in 1997 and includes numerous interviews with philosophers and engaging articles.

Philosophy Grants & Scholarships

  • Grants

    • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Post-Doctoral Curatorial Fellowship

      Deadline: December 9

      Award Amount: Varies by project

      From the American Philosophical Association, this grant "seeks recent PhDs" from philosophy and other humanities fields to conduct research in the APS Museum.

    • Daland Fellowships in Clinical Investigation

      Deadline: September 15

      Award Amount: $40,000

      This grant from the American Philosophical Association is for early-career M.D.s looking to do philosophical research in internal medicine, pediatrics, neurology, psychiatry, and surgery.

    • Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants

      Deadline: September 11

      Award Amount: Varies widely by project

      Given by the National Endowment for the Humanities, this grant aims to "support the planning stages of innovative projects that promise to benefit the humanities."

  • Scholarships

    • Ayn Rand Essay Contest: Anthem

      Deadline: March 20

      Award Amount: $30-$2,000

      Sponsored by the Ayn Rand Institute, this scholarship is open to 8th, 9th, and 10th graders who write an essay on Anthem, one of Rand's philosophy-centered ...

    • Ayn Rand Essay Contest: The Fountainhead

      Deadline: April 26

      Award Amount: $50-$10,000

      Sponsored by the Ayn Rand Institute, this scholarship is open to 11th and 12th graders who write an essay on The Fountainhead, Rand's novel dealing with ...

    • Davidson Fellows Scholarship

      Deadline: February 19

      Award Amount: $10,000, $25,000, and $50,000

      This scholarship is given to a student age 18 or under who has completed a significant piece of work, whether in philosophy or another discipline, and requires ...

    • Harold J. and Ruth Pearson Award at American University

      Deadline: End of spring semester

      Award Amount: $1,000

      Awarded to a current senior at American University, this annual award goes to a student who has demonstrated excellence in the philosophy department over their ...

    • Nellie Martin Carman Scholar Scholarship Fund

      Deadline: March 1

      Award Amount: $2,000

      This scholarship is for Washington state seniors who plan to attend a college in the state and are interested in majoring in philosophy.

    • Thomas G. Labrecque Smart Start Scholarship Program

      Deadline: January 17

      Award Amount: Full tuition

      Specific to New York state seniors and a pool of state colleges, this scholarship comes from JP Morgan and is awarded to students planning to major in areas ...

    • Young Philosopher Scholarship at Washington State University

      Deadline: January 31

      Award Amount: $1,000

      Awarded to freshmen coming to Washington State University, the scholarship goes to several students with a demonstrated interest in philosophy, as demonstrated ...

Philosophy Internships

  • Brookings Institute

    Deadline: Varies by opening

    The Brookings Institute, a nonprofit public policy organization in Washington D.C., has a variety of internships for undergraduates; many opportunities involve questions of ethics and morals.

  • Carnegie Middle East Center Internships

    Deadline: December 31

    The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace hosts graduate and post-graduate interns as research assistants and communications assistants at its Middle East Center.

  • Cato Institute

    Deadline: Varies by opening

    The Cato Institute describes its internships as open to undergraduates interested in limited government and questions surrounding how we run our country, which may intersect with philosophy.

  • Global Intern Summer Program--Carnegie-Tsinghua Center

    Deadline: March 10

    The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace invites current college students to participate in summer internships focusing on foreign relations, environmental policy, and other global issues.

  • Medstar Washington Hospital Center

    Deadline: Until filled

    The Center for Ethics at MedStar WHC invites 3rd or 4th year undergraduates to work with the staff on questions of "clinical ethics, research and ethics-related hospital policy."

  • MetroStar Systems Internship through George Mason University

    Deadline: Spring

    The Philosophy Department at George Mason University offers students the chance to work with Metrostar Systems, contributing to the company's research and design efforts.

  • NYU Center for Neural Science

    Deadline: April 15

    The Center for Neural Science gives undergraduates interested in the intersection of neuroscience and philosophy the chance to complete summer research internships.

  • United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary

    Deadline: Varies

    Every year, the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary hosts students as interns and clerks with each Member's personal office, which may fit students interested in legal philosophy.

Philosophy Student & Professional Organizations

  • Student Organizations

    • Ball State University Philosophy Club

      The student organization is "dedicated to fostering appreciation for philosophical issues by providing a friendly, intellectual forum."

    • Dive Into Philosophy

      The Carthage College student organization aims to "foster active discussion and questioning beyond the classroom."

    • Philosophy Student Organization

      Organized at Kennesaw State University, the Philosophy Student Organization organizes lectures, workshops, and discussions on a variety of philosophical ...

    • The Philosophical Society

      Based at Texas Tech University, this student organization is "dedicated to the pursuit of truth" and the "analysis of ideas."

  • Professional Organizations

    • American Philosophical Association

      The premier organization for philosophy in the United States, the APA "promotes the discipline and profession of philosophy, both within the academy and in the public arena."

    • American Philosophical Society

      This organization prides itself on scholarly research in philosophy as well as its international reputation for useful knowledge in the sciences and humanities.

    • American Society for Aesthetics

      An offshoot of the philosophical discipline, this organization addresses issues of aesthetics and art, which often crosses into philosophy.

    • Association for Symbolic Logic

      As "An international organization supporting research and critical studies in logic," this organization studies all aspects of the logic discipline.

    • Society for Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy

      Based on the philosophers of Medieval and Renaissance times, the organization hosts conferences and lectures on topics of interest.