NUPSA Philosophy Workshops
- A series of fortnightly workshops introducing philosophy provided by Dr Bill Pascoe and NUPSA. (This course is not provided by the University of Newcastle)
- All welcome.
- No prior preparation required. Anyone may attend any workshop. No need to attend in series.
- There will be an initial presentation on the subject followed by open discussion.
- Only the initial presentation will be recorded in the online session. Discussion will not be recorded, so feel free to contribute.
- Sessions will be presented online and face to face. Course materials and transcriptions will be provided on this site.
- I am to cover a lot of material, but am not an expert in everything. I hope to act as guide.
In a Western Universities philosophy courses are usually structured in one of several ways:
- Thematically: dealing with various views on a particular topic, such as 'Free Will' or 'Politics'
- By Thinker: focusing on the works of a major thinker such as Plato, Nietzsche or Sartre.
- Schools: 'isms' or groups of people with similar views on a topic or focusing on a particular problem or using a similar methodology, usually related to a period of time, such as Epicureans, Empiricism, Rationalism, Romantics, Existentialism, Poststructuralism, etc.
These subjects, one per fortnight, were voted for from a longer list of subjects. Fortunately, the selections will give us a taste of each of these approaches.
Changes To Topics
- Most students chose topics in Western philosophy. Non-Western philosophy will now be included at times within each topic, instead of the previous plan to hold a specific workshop for Eastern philosophy.
- The previously planned topic 'Beyond Science: How and Why is Humanities Different to Science' will be absorbed into the session on Epistemology. This is because there is some overlap, there may be only time this year for 6 sessions, and to allow time for the special lecture on Artificial Intelligence.
- By popular demand, later in the year, we will have special session on Artificial Intelligence and related issues. However, I will take this opportunity not to provide an educational overview of the field, but to present my own views, as this is an area I've given particular consideration to.
- Postmodernism and Poststructuralism has been changed to be more broadly late 20th and early 21st century theory, due to requests to include some contemporary stuff. This will still include post-isms.
- The request for something on Aesthetics is a good idea. But having considered it, I can't fit it into as small part of one of the other topics, since it's too big and all the other topics are too big. There's been questions also about next year or maybe carrying on over the break ('break' means nothing to postgrads and casuals!). Also, much of this course is an introductory overview of some main topics in philosophy, so I'll do a topic on Aesthetics and one on Political Philosophy, some time later.
- Sometimes I run out of time to write up the notes properly before the workshop. Apologies. I'll try to come back and clean them up as I go. Also a bibliography will be forthcoming. Obviously not much of this is my own original work.
- What even is Philosophy?
- Ethics: Virtues, Morals, Ends and Means
- Epistemology: Introduction to Truth and Knowledge
- Plato vs. Aristotle
- How to Think and Argue: Rhetoric and Logic
- Theory 2000: late 20th and early 21st century philosophy
- Artificial Semiosis: a parsimonious theory of artificial intelligence, learning, cognition, sentience and free will (2hr special lecture presenting my own views)