Thought Experiments: An introduction to philosophy

Por: Coursera . en: , ,

Doing philosophy is like seeing a movie and wondering what will happen next, or what you would do in the same situation, or what’s real and what’s merely make-believe.

You’re probably not aware of it, but since you already know how to see movies and use your imagination, you’re well on your way to becoming a good philosopher. The only thing you still need and want to develop though, is the ability to use your imagination in the philosophical way, and that’s exactly what you’ll learn in this MOOC.

Firstly, you’ll learn how to use your imagination to put definitions, analyses or conceptions of philosophically relevant notions to the test by means of imaginary examples and counterexamples, addressing questions that have been part and parcel of Western philosophy since its very inception, such as
- ‘what is knowledge?’;
- ‘what is the mind?’;
- ’what is moral responsibility?’; and
- ‘what is justice?’.

Subsequently, you’ll learn how to use your imagination to develop your worldview. You’ll learn to speculate about what might explain your experiences, ranging from the commonsense explanation in terms of a mind-independent world, to sceptical alternatives, such as that you’re systematically misled by an evil demon or that only your mind exists and that it confabulates all the rest.

Finally, since philosophy is not only about interpreting the world, but also about changing it -and hopefully, for the better- you’ll also learn how to use your imagination to evaluate what the right thing to do is in a given situation, what the criteria are to evaluate actions, and whether such criteria are established evermore or remain an open question.