Frequently asked questions & answers about the courses.
Participants are diverse. Some are recent university graduates who miss the intellectual stimulation of the classroom. Some are mid-career professionals looking to exercise their minds outside the narrow demands of the workplace. Some are taking advantage of their retirement to seek personal enrichment. Most have some university education although this is neither expected nor universal. Although the majority of participants are based in North America and Europe, classes have included students from Singapore, Iran, India, Bangladesh, and Brazil, among other places.
What the participants have in common is a desire to challenge themselves, an openness to big questions, and patience about not knowing the answers. What the participants don’t have in common is also crucial to the success of the classes. These classes cultivate small online communities of people who wouldn’t meet in the ordinary walk of life. The diversity of life experience and cultural backgrounds greatly enhances the conversations.
The online courses don’t presuppose any prior background in philosophy and aim to welcome a wide range of people. That said, we do read some difficult texts and university-level reading skills in English are definitely an asset. I provide video lectures to accompany the readings with the aim of helping people understand the readings more easily.
Each weekly class comes with a reading to discuss. In general, I try to keep these readings under 30 pages. Usually they’re between 20 and 30 pages in length. Occasionally they’re a little longer and occasionally they’re a fair bit shorter.
Classes are capped at fifteen participants.
I don’t want price to be a barrier for participation in these courses. Past course participants overwhelmingly describe the course fee as “excellent value for money,” but I recognize that many people simply can’t afford a $375 course fee. For that reason, I offer a limited number of no-questions-asked pay-what-you-can spots in each course. If you tell me you can’t afford the full course fee, I will accept whatever fee you think you’re able to afford.
Please contact me directly to save your spot.
The answer to this question varies from course to course. For the most part, I provide reading materials for the course in PDF form. However, in some cases copyright law prohibits me from sharing the entirety of a given reading and in those cases I ask students to purchase a book. When this is the case, I encourage you where possible to buy the book through a local, independent bookseller.
I offer a no-questions-asked full refund for anyone who wishes to withdraw before the second week of class. That allows people to get a taste of the course without making a full financial commitment.
Yes, although these courses are not designed or intended to provide professional or academic credentialing.
Yes. I offer one-on-one classes that I can tailor to your interests. I charge $150 per hour for a one-on-one class based on one of the standard courses I offer and $200 per hour for a bespoke one-on-one class whose curriculum we devise together.