List of Free Online Philosophy Lectures, Courses and Classes
See our list of the top free online philosophy courses. Learn about what courses are available and what topics they cover to find the course that's right for you.
Online Philosophy Courses for Credit
Free courses in philosophy are available online that don't require students to register or pay tuition. Unfortunately, these courses don't provide credit. If you're trying to earn credit for college, you might consider the comparatively low-cost options at Study.com. The content you find here is an engaging way to pursue your educational interests, with video and text lessons accompanied by interactive quizzes you can use to test yourself while you study.
Students can look into Philosophy 101: Intro to Philosophy, which examines topics having to do with epistemology and the way philosophy interacts with the world. Some of the chapters you'll find in this course include:
- Types of Fallacies - This chapter goes over various forms of fallacies, from begging the question and equivocation to appeal to popularity to ad hominem and post hoc fallacies.
- God - Topics include the types of arguments for God, God in Western and Eastern traditions, and the theories of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche.
- Ethics - Analyze Euthyphro and Aristotle's views on ethics, egoism and stoicism, the connection between values, morals, and ethics.
Free Online Philosophy Course Info
Following is a sample of the many free, online philosophy courses offered by some major universities who provide open access to learning materials from previous courses through their OpenCourseWare (OCW) endeavors. Most of these universities offer introductory survey courses as well as courses devoted to specific branches of philosophers or the works of particular philosophers. Self-directed learners don't interact with the course instructors or receive credit for use of these materials.
MIT's OCW options from its Department of Linguistics and Philosophy are numerous and include courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
- Ethics covers various aspects of moral philosophy, examining questions regarding the objective validity of moral claims, moral character and personal responsibility. Learners have access to a syllabus with a required text, a reading list, assignment descriptions and lecture notes in .pdf format.
- Philosophy of Film looks at films by Jean Cocteau, Woody Allen and Alfred Hitchcock, among others, and analyze them in terms of aesthetic questions they provoke. Students can view four video-taped class sessions and have access to the syllabus, reading list and assignment descriptions.
- Problems in Philosophy aims to encourage students to think like philosophers while investigating enduring philosophical questions, like the existence of free will. Students can view the syllabus, reading list, lecture notes, assignment descriptions and a list of links to outside philosophical resources.
University of Notre Dame
The philosophy department at the University of Notre Dame also offers open access to course materials from several philosophy courses. Lectures are available in video format for each of the courses listed here, and students can view the lecture through iTunes University as well.
- Ancient and Medieval Philosophy delves into Plato, Aristotle, Lucretius, Marcus Aurelius, Augustine and Thomas Aquinas.
- Ancient Wisdom and Modern Love looks at romance, sexuality and marriage from the perspectives of philosophy and literature, using readings and several movies. Some of the readings are accessible online. Materials include a syllabus, exams, discussion questions and guidelines for six essay assignments, as well as the video lectures.
- Environmental Philosophy takes a multidisciplinary approach and examines from a philosophical perspective the consumer values that endanger the environment. A syllabus, reading list and discussion questions accompany the video lectures.
University of California at Berkeley
The philosophy department at UC - Berkeley makes lectures available from several of its philosophy courses as video or audio podcasts through iTunes University and YouTube. These lectures typically aren't accompanied by other materials, like syllabi, exams or reading lists.
- The Nature of Mind examines questions about mental states, like memories and desires, consciousness and personal identity.
- Philosophy of Society provides a basis for studies in the social sciences, inquiring into the nature of social reality and how that relates to psychological and physical experience.
- The Theory of Meaning looks at a variety of questions that explore the intersection of thought and language, semantics and how language is used socially.
University of Oxford
Learners can explore courses on Nietzsche, bioethics and Kant, among other topics, through audio and video podcasts from Oxford's Faculty of Philosophy.
- Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art is composed of eight audio podcasts centered around writings on beauty from ancient philosophers as well as Hume and Kant. The course also covers how to understand and define art, including literature and music.
- Philosophy of Religion investigates questions about the existence of God, religious experience, evil and faith related to the traditions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Handouts accompany each audio lecture.
- Philosophy for Beginners introduces students to philosophical inquiry through a wide range of topics that include ethics, language and aesthetics.
Philosophy courses from Open Yale provide students with syllabi and the option to access lectures as transcripts, audio files or videos.
- Death examines attitudes and issues about mortality, such as the possibility of immortality and moral questions surrounding suicide.
- Introduction to Political Philosophy goes into the political writings of Aristotle, Hobbes and Locke, among others, aiming to enhance understanding of philosophy as it related to political life and institutions
- Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature looks at recent studies in cognitive science alongside major Western philosophers to examine topics like happiness, ethics and political structures.