You may remember that we featured Wireless Philosophy, an open access philosophy project created by Yale and MIT, back in 2013 when it first got started. Wi-Phi, for short, has kept on keeping in with its mission of producing free, informative and entertaining animated videos meant to introduce a host of philosophical issues. Our own Josh Jones called it “a necessary service to those just beginning to wade out into the sea of The Big Questions” in 2013, and now, in 2015, you can wade in from a wider expanse of the Big Question coastline than ever before. There are currently 105 Wiphi videos in total.
At the top of the post, you can watch a whole playlist of Wi-Phi’s videos on cognitive biases, which add up to a surprisingly thorough half-hour primer on the forces that knock our thinking askew, from the “alief” (an automatic or habitual mental attitude, as opposed to a deliberate belief) to reference dependence and loss aversion to what we might perhaps describe as a meta-bias amusingly called the GI Joe fallacy (the tendency for our biases to stick around even when we should know better). Just above, we have Wi-Phi’s three-part guide to the good life, as examined by Plato, Aristotle, and Kant.
Both of those playlists do come with a certain practicality, at least by philosophical standards: who, after all doesn’t want to think more correctly (or at least less incorrectly), and who doesn’t want to live the good life (or at least a better life than they live now)? But the harder core of casual philosophy enthusiasts — always a demanding group — should rest assured that Wiphi also offers video series on more abstract or historical philosophical topics, such as the seven-part playlist on classical theism above. Dig deeper into their Youtube channel and you’ll find more simple but not simplistic lessons on the philosophy of mathematics, language, ancient China, and much more.
The list of university stakeholders in Wireless Philosophy nowadays includes, we should note, Duke, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and U. Toronto, in addition to Yale and MIT. Plus, you’ll find that profs from other universities have contributed to the video collection. For example, Chris Surprenant (University of New Orleans) created the videos on Plato, Aristotle, and Kant. Also find complete courses taught by Surprenant on our list of Free Online Philosophy Courses, a subset of our list, 1,500 Free Online Courses from Top Universities.
Colin Marshall writes elsewhere on cities, language, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer, the video series The City in Cinema, and the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future? Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.