Download Free Courses from Famous Philosophers: From Bertrand Russell to Michel Foucault

You can down­load hun­dreds of Free Cours­es from Great Uni­ver­si­ties. (Per­haps you already knew that.) And that includes cours­es by some of the biggest minds teach­ing in phi­los­o­phy. (Is that old news too? Or some wel­comed good news?) So we’re start­ing the week by giv­ing you a run­down of some notable men­tions.

John Sear­le began teach­ing phi­los­o­phy at UC-Berke­ley in 1959, and first did impor­tant work on “speech act” the­o­ry. Lat­er he turned to con­scious­ness and arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, out of which came his famous “Chi­nese room” thought exper­i­ment. You can find a nice trio of class­es online.

  • Phi­los­o­phy of Lan­guage — iTunes
  • Phi­los­o­phy of Mind — iTunes
  • Phi­los­o­phy of Soci­ety — iTunes

Wal­ter Kauf­mann spent 33 years teach­ing phi­los­o­phy at Prince­ton. And more than any­one else, Kauf­mann intro­duced Nietzsche’s phi­los­o­phy to the Eng­lish-speak­ing world and made it pos­si­ble to take Niet­zsche seri­ous­ly as a thinker. Here he deliv­ers three lec­tures on exis­ten­tial­ists.

  • Lec­tures on Niet­zsche, Kierkegaard and Sartre — Web Site

Leo Strauss land­ed at The Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go in 1949, where he spent decades teach­ing and writ­ing on polit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy, espe­cial­ly the polit­i­cal thought of the Ancients. His intel­lec­tu­al lega­cy is con­tro­ver­sial, but his cours­es valu­able.

  • Hegel: The Phi­los­o­phy of His­to­ry - Web Site
  • Kant — Web Site
  • Niet­zsche, Beyond Good and Evil - Web Site

Find many more Strauss cours­es here.

Bertrand Rus­sell was one of the most impor­tant British philoso­phers of the last cen­tu­ry — a logi­cian, essay­ist and social crit­ic best known for his work in math­e­mat­i­cal log­ic and ana­lyt­ic phi­los­o­phy. When it comes to this lec­ture series, start with the bot­tom lec­ture first and then work your way up.

  • Author­i­ty & the Indi­vid­ual: Six BBC Lec­tures — Web Site

Michel Fou­cault taught his­to­ry and phi­los­o­phy at the Col­lège de France and pub­lished influ­en­tial writ­ings on pow­er, knowl­edge, and dis­course.

  • Six Lec­tures on Truth & Sub­jec­tiv­i­ty pre­sent­ed on the UC Berke­ley cam­pus (Eng­lish) - YouTube

Find more Fou­cault audio here and here.

Hubert Drey­fus has taught many pop­u­lar exis­ten­tial­ism and phe­nom­e­nol­o­gy cours­es also at UC Berke­ley, some of which laid the foun­da­tion for his new book, All Things Shin­ing: Read­ing the West­ern Clas­sics to Find Mean­ing in a Sec­u­lar Age.

  • Exis­ten­tial­ism in Lit­er­a­ture & Film — iTunes
  • Hei­deg­ger — iTunes
  • Heidegger’s Being & Time — iTunes

Michael Sandel has taught polit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy at Har­vard since 1980. His course on jus­tice (below) has been tak­en by more than 15,000 stu­dents, mak­ing it the most pop­u­lar under­grad­u­ate course at Har­vard. This ver­sion aired on PBS and the web.

For all 75 phi­los­o­phy cours­es, please see the Phi­los­o­phy sec­tion of our list of 575 Free Online Cours­es.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Har­vard Clas­sics: A Free Dig­i­tal Col­lec­tion

Stephen Fry on Phi­los­o­phy & Unbe­lief

The Exis­ten­tial Star Wars: Sartre Meets Darth Vad­er


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