one semester course for the students of English Philology and of English in Public Communication
Frequently Asked Questions on my classes on Philosophy
Q: What do I expect from my students during my classes?
Please, stop me and ask me/comment on what I am saying any time you need. You are studying all the time, not just at home! Show me your engagement! By saying something during our class you practice your English (most students here at not native speakers) and express your thoughts freely; by confronting other students in a discussion you develop critical thinking – the selection and application of better arguments in favour of a given position, I mean better than your opponent’s.
Q: What is the character of my classes?
A: I would love to show you that philosophy and the history of philosophy have a practical meaning nowadays; I mean, you can apply (with modifications) some ideas from the past philosophers into the present contexts.
Q: What do I expect from my students just after each of my class?
It would be good to read more on the Internet on the topics we have discussed in the classroom. Please, do not forget that getting KNOWLEDGE about particular issues is one of your aims, so ask yourself after every week if you have MORE KNOWLEDGE than before, and if not, do something to change it.
Q: What are the sources for you?
A: I will be sending you specific sources (mainly YT) in the time of our course. You can always take a look at Wikipedia, the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and (more advanced) Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. It would be great to read (or hear podcast/watch on YT) the texts of some philosophers – try to find out your favourite figure!
Q: How will you be examined at the end of the course?
You will be given six themes at the exam, and your job will be to write a very short essay (around 10-15 lines of text) on each; at least three (well-written) will give you credit (3 in the Polish system); four well-written essays will give you 3+; five will give you 4; five well-written that includes at least one written excellently will give you 4+; six will give you 5.
Q: Who am I?
A: If you are interested in what I do, read more my website or ask me questions by gmail
Main themes for our classes:
Introductory classes on philosophy and education
Classes on Greek Philosophy (Ionians, Sophists, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Stoics, Epicureans)
Classes on British Philosophy (F. Bacon, J. Locke, utilitarianism)
A Class on French Philosophy (Encyclopedists)
A Class on German Philosophy (I. Kant, F. Nietzsche)
Classes on American Philosophy (Transcendentalism, pragmatism, neopragmatism)
Introductory Classes – Frequently Asked Questions on Philosophy and Education
(I will develop the answers during my classes)
Q: Why do we need philosophy at all? What can we get out of studying philosophy?
A: Critical thinking (ability to think what is right according to given criteria); abstract thinking (ability to think what if?); imagination; knowledge, skills, creativity, procedures, self-fulfilment.
Q: Can we have better jobs as non-philosophers after having completed a philosophy course?
A: Strangely, there is hardly any unemployment among those who graduated from philosophy departments, and this is because of their skills: critical thinking, abstract thinking, communication, etc.
Q: Why are there so many different philosophical positions? which one is right?
A: Philosophers give us various perspectives taken from different vantage points.
Q: Is philosophy practical?
Some philosophies indeed put emphasis upon the daily and ordinary issues: pragmatism, existentialism, postmodernism; Greek philosophers paid attention to happiness and a good life.
Q: What are the basic philosophical disciplines?
A: Ontology (on what and how things exist), Epistemology (on how we learn about things), Ethics (on what is good and evil; also on how to live a happy and good life), Aesthetics (on what is beautiful and attractive), Political Philosophy (on what system is the good one; on what are the relations of power), Social Philosophy (on what are individual-group relations), Philosophy of Religion (on how to know about God by using reason, without faith), History of Philosophy (on what philosophers really told us), Philosophy of Education (on the general sense of learning), and many others.
Q: What are the more specific philosophical disciplines?
A: Cinematic philosophy, philosophy of sex and love, philosophy of music, philosophy of culture, philosophy of values (axiology), and many more.
Q: Who are the greatest philosophers and why?
Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Nietzsche have articulated the most essential problems that we, humans, face as well as the methods of dealing with these problems. R. Rorty (neopragmatism) being a famous figure in the US nowadays. The Lvov-Warsaw School of Philosophy has dominated the way of practicing philosophy in Poland.
Q: Why are the writings of philosophers so hopelessly difficult for us to read?
A: Many philosophers create and use their own categories and meanings, so to understand what they are talking about it is necessary to first learn their ways of expressing their thoughts, indeed, not an easy thing to do for the students.
Q: Can philosophy be found in films, music, painting, etc?
A: YES; for example, cinematic philosophy. You can discuss the philosophy of American Westerns, in which one can find many metaphors on American life and the role of the individual in society.
Q: Can social phenomena be discussed by philosophers?
A: YES, e.g. Americanization, Globalization, McDonaldization, Coca-colonization, pop-culture, and many more.