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Mon 01 Feb 2021 - Mon 29 Mar 2021

18:00 - 20:00

8 Sessions

Online

9 spots remaining.


Thinking about our relationship with animals invites us to re-evaluate traditional approaches in both ethics and philosophy itself, and to question many long-standing socio-cultural assumptions. This course will cover attitudes towards animals in the Western intellectual and cultural tradition, the emergence of animal ethics as we know it in the late twentieth century, and current directions and tensions in the field of animal ethics.

Course outline

  • Topic 1: Attitudes towards animals in western thinking.
  • Topic 2: René Descartes and modern scientific thinking.
  • Topic 3: Enlightenment ethics and the idea of compassion.
  • Topic 4: The concept of speciesism; Peter Singer and Tom Regan.
  • Topic 5: The question of non-human sentience.
  • Topic 6: Animal ethics and legal change: Gary Francione and Steven Wise.
  • Topic 7: Jacques Derrida and the continental intellectual tradition; postmodern ethics.
  • Topic 8: Ethics of Care; the question of intersectionality.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you should have:

  • an understanding of some key philosophical and ethical concepts
  • an understanding of yourself and your relationship with the world in general and animals in particular.

Who should enrol

This course is open to anyone with an interest in learning more about philosophy.

No dates are currently scheduled.

This class will be delivered online.

We are often told that we are living in a post-modern environment, but what does that really mean? Find out in this course, which will explore the challenges presented by post-modernism while explaining how it came about.

Course outline

  • Topic 1: Pre-Modern and Modern approaches to philosophy
  • Topic 2: Romanticism and modernity
  • Topic 3: Hegel and Schopenhauer
  • Topic 4: Nietzsche and art
  • Topic 5: Heidegger and existentialism
  • Topic 6: From structuralism to post-structuralism
  • Topic 7: Foucault and history
  • Topic 8: Derrida and language

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you should have an understanding of the major theme and issues of Western philosophy.

Who should enrol

This course is open to anyone with an interest in learning more about philosophy.

No dates are currently scheduled.

Have you ever thought about whether you're free, how you should behave, whether things really are as they seem, or whether it is reasonable to believe in God? See how far you can go with these and other fundamental questions in this course.

Course outline

  • Topic 1: The big questions and how philosophy handles them
  • Topic 2: Questions and answers from the classical world
  • Topic 3: The existence of God
  • Topic 4: Are we free?
  • Topic 5: The mind-body problem
  • Topic 6: Knowledge and the self
  • Topic 7: Existence and the self
  • Topic 8: Ethical questions

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, you should have an understanding of the major themes and issues of western philosophy.

Who should enrol

This course is open to anyone with an interest in learning more about philosophy.

What our students say

"This course was brilliant and I'd happily enrol for others on the same subjects or indeed other areas of interest."

"This course gave me a great insight (as a beginner) to Philosophy. The course material and class discussion was something to look forward to each week, and then to contemplate before the next session."

"This was a wonderful course and my teacher was extremely knowledgeable and informative. I really looked forward to it each week and learned a great deal."

"The big questions remain big questions. I did enjoy the challenge in regards to thinking beyond what we already know. And in terms of what we don't know. ..well let's just say I am comfortable in knowing that I will die wondering."

No dates are currently scheduled.


This blockbuster course will look at movies that deal with major philosophical issues, or ‘the big questions’. For those wanting to further their understanding of philosophy or love movies, discuss a range of movies by well-known directors including Kubrick, Hitchcock, and Kurosawa. So the question is, "do you take the blue or the red pill?".

Course outline

The first movie – in bold type – on each week’s list will be the main topic for discussion, so course participants are encouraged to watch these movies before the class.  But the more movies you watch, the better, of course.

    • Week 1: Philosophy and Film - Plato’s Cinema.
    • Week 2: Knowledge and Scepticism - The Matrix (1999), Rashomon (1950).
    • Week 3: Mind and Consciousness - Ex Machina (2015) , Blade Runner (1982)
    • Week 4: Us, the Universe, and the Future - 2001 a Space Odyssey (1968), Solaris (1972, 2002), Blade Runner (1982), Alphaville (1965), Metropolis (1927).
    • Week 5: Ethics 1: Choices and Actions - Crimes and Misdemeanours (1989), Rope (1948), Lifeboat (1944), Bicycle Thieves (1948).
    • Week 6: Ethics 2: Morality and/in War? - Breaker Morant (1979), Full Metal Jacket (1987), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Fury (2014).
    • Week 7: Freedom, Society, and Alienation - Minority Report (2002), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Taxi Driver (1967), Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960), Antz, (1998), Metropolis (1927).
    • Week 8: Metaphysics, Meaning, and God - The Seventh Seal (1957), Wings of Desire (1987), The Passing of the Third Floor Back (1935).

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course you will be well acquainted with the central issues of western philosophy, and will possess a deeper understanding of our own cultural environment.

Who should enrol

Film buffs with a thirst for big answers!


No dates are currently scheduled.


Ethics is the most important area of philosophy and the one which most affects our daily lives.

Course outline

Ethics is the most important area of philosophy and the one which most affects our daily lives.  As well as examining the major approaches to ethics in western philosophy, this course will encourage participants to refine and re-evaluate their own ethical positions.

  • Topic 1: Kinds of Ethics
  • Topic 2: Ethics and Consequences
  • Topic 3: Ethics and Duty
  • Topic 4: Peter Singer – Australia’s Greatest Philosopher
  • Topic 5: Modern Ethical Alternatives
  • Topic 6: Ethics and Evolution
  • Topic 7Case studies in Ethics
  • Topic 8The Post-Modern Challenge to Traditional Ethics

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course you should:

  • be familiar with the major ethical approaches in western philosophy.
  • be able to analyse and to re-evaluate their own ethical decision-making processes.

Who should enrol

Those who have an interest in ethical questions.

What past participants had to say

"I particularly liked how Walter drew students into conversations. He carefully directed the flow of conversation around a topic while giving space to the views of everyone in the session. I learnt a lot from expressing my own thoughts as well as from the thoughts of other students. He also presented the material in a very engaging way using digital content thoughtfully to mix up the lecture format."

"Walter is a knowledgeable and engaging teacher."

"A very interesting and well-delivered course that provides the background and context for my further reading. Exactly what I was after."