Crash Course Philosophy: Hank Green’s Fast-Paced Introduction to Philosophy Gets Underway on YouTube

Vlog­broth­ers and “Nerd­fight­er” online per­son­al­i­ties Hank and John Green set about con­quer­ing the world of edu­ca­tion­al media a few years ago—while also writ­ing best­selling nov­els, record­ing pop­u­lar albums, and cre­at­ing star­tups and char­i­ta­ble orga­ni­za­tions on the side. They’ve almost suc­ceed­ed, with their “Crash Course” video series steam­rolling its way through U.S. His­to­ry, World His­to­ry, and the His­to­ry of Every­thing Else, as well as Psy­chol­o­gy, Lit­er­a­ture, the Sci­ences, and, now, Phi­los­o­phy, just above, with Hank tak­ing on the pro­fes­so­r­i­al duties. “It’s gonna be hard,” he says in the intro video above, “and enlight­en­ing, and frus­trat­ing, and if I do my job prop­er­ly it’s going to stick with you long after you and I have part­ed ways.”

Hank begins where we gen­er­al­ly do, in ancient Greece, and intro­duces the three main branch­es of phi­los­o­phy: meta­physics, epis­te­mol­o­gy, and ethics. Next up, in episode two above, he dives into log­ic and argu­men­ta­tion, sub­jects dear to the heart of an inter­net-based edu­ca­tor, whose audi­ence is quite famil­iar with the con­tentious online com­men­tari­at. Han­k’s style, like his broth­er’s, is hip, fast-paced, and full of wit­ty edi­to­r­i­al asides, enhanced by clever edit­ing, pop-cul­ture ref­er­ences, and ani­mat­ed visu­al aids. In short, he’s exact­ly what you wish your col­lege pro­fes­sors were like in the class­room.

Is tak­ing one of the Green’s “crash cours­es” the equiv­a­lent of a col­lege intro course? I guess it would depend on the col­lege, the class, and the instruc­tor. Your mileage may vary with any edu­ca­tion­al expe­ri­ence, and every­one has their own way of learn­ing. If you’re com­fort­able hav­ing infor­ma­tion deliv­ered at the speed of advertising—which I do not mean as an insult, but as an accu­rate descrip­tion of their pacing—then you may find that the Green’s meth­ods work per­fect­ly well. If you need to mull things over, take care­ful notes, hear in-depth expla­na­tions, etc., you may con­sid­er these videos as fun ways to get your feet wet. Then when you’re ready to dive in, con­sid­er tak­ing one of the many free online phi­los­o­phy cours­es we fea­ture on the site, and sup­ple­ment­ing with pod­casts, free eBooks, and oth­er resources.

If you fol­low this playlist, you can find more Crash Course Phi­los­o­phy videos as they become avail­able.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Phi­los­o­phy for Begin­ners

135 Free Phi­los­o­phy eBooks

Down­load 100 Free Online Phi­los­o­phy Cours­es & Start Liv­ing the Exam­ined Life

Learn The His­to­ry of Phi­los­o­phy in 197 Pod­casts (With More to Come)

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.