What is Philosophy? Seminar Course

What is friendship? An exchange of helpfulness and support? An activity of mutual playfulness and pleasure? Or a commitment to a higher ideal? But would this higher ideal exclude usefulness and pleasure? 

If questions like these keep you up at night, this course is for you.

We will meet in a group for 5 consecutive Saturdays and discuss the most important methods and concepts of philosophy.

Course Overview

What is the method of philosophy? Does philosophy even have a method? If philosophy is without a method, how is it different from mere opinion, rhetorical subterfuge or intuitive mysticism? How do we come to know about knowing? 

In this course we will think with several philosophers about the method of philosophy. We will explore how philosophizing is implicit in our daily life. We will glimpse how the history of philosophy forms a specific thread of self-developing, and increasingly explicit, ideas. How philosophical conceptions differ from mathematical, natural scientific and social conceptions. How the concepts used in philosophy fundamentally overlap with each other and come to shape a scale of forms. 

The basic text for the course will be An Essay on Philosophical Method, by the British philosopher, historian, and archeologist R. G. Collingwood. This will be supplemented with excerpts from the works of Hegel, Aristotle, Anselm, Hume and Kant. 

You can now purchase the seminar recordings and reading materials to study at your own pace and leisure.

“Haven't you noticed that opinion without knowledge is always a poor thing? At the best it is blind—isn't anyone who holds a true opinion without understanding like a blind man on the right road?”

– Plato 

5 Group Seminar Recordings

You get access to 5 group seminar video recordings (10+ hours) which allow you to study at your own pace.

Course Library

The course offers an external course library to download all relevant course readings. Readings will be made available on the Halkyon Guild Forum.

Student Testimonial

One of the most opalescent traits regarding the course "What is philosophy?" with Filip was the exposition that philosophy can be misconstrued if it might get pigeonholed all too hastily as being about finding just some theoretical underpinnings for a life that we live anyhow. As it's sometimes judged, a notorious reputation might prompt us to believe in it being just a gambling of ones' (own) life of the mind. This is because Filip lays the strongest evidence himself. On entering conversations and guiding dialogues and discussions with us students, he attends with everything he impersonates to the real challenge of a teaching: letting you find ways to bring something up and forward, to raise a subject or a problem yourself, to broach a topic which may live latent in you. This makes his teaching so really unique in my opinion: he addresses and opens the group for conversing, with careful attention to the specificity of every singular voice. Bringing to bear the virtue to devote himself to the course participants and to their matter of concern, he's both able to comport and take thoughtfully and seriously up concerns his students are wrestling with, being more your peer and friend, while as well solicit the philosophical content, going into the most honest argumentation as you search for and push some of your thought, ideas and assumptions to their preliminary limits. And herein lies his absolute capability: he's a friend, a companion, for he's freeing you in your ownmost deliberations about philosophical topics (that can be highly relevant for the life you live everyday, the person you are everyday, your thoughts and their hastiness - that sometimes are this, precipitately), as for example, friendship. 

- Lennart Oberlies 

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Course Introduction Video

Johannes Niederhauser and Filip Niklas introduce the course in this video.

Your Teacher: Filip Niklas

Filip's research examines freedom and logic. He also enjoys weaving new word systems in poetic form. Filip is currently finishing his PhD on Hegel and freedom at Warwick University. He is also currently a DAAD funded research fellow at the University of Heidelberg.