University preparation: philosophy

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University preparation: philosophy

This course provides an introduction to philosophy as an academic discipline: its history, main ideas, theories, philosophers and ways of knowing. Students will have the opportunity to discuss and evaluate many of the most influential strands of philosophy, including Platonism, Hedonism and Empiricism and by engaging with the thinking styles of the humanists, rationalists, idealists, sceptics and existentialists, develop and apply critical thinking and analytical skills necessary for university study.

Before considering a University Preparation Course please review important information to determine if you are eligible for the Mature Age Entry Scheme and how to go about qualifying and applying.

Course Content

Semester One
– What is Philosophy? (Introduction) Texts: Plato, The Republic (474b-480a), and Aristotle Physics, II, 3: We must inquire into the nature of causes (aitia), _and see what the various kinds of cause are and how many there are. Since our treatment of the subject aims at knowledge, and since we believe that we know a thing only when we can say why it is as it is – which in fact means grasping its primary causes – plainly we must try to achieve this with regard to the way things come into existence and pass away out of it, and all other natural change, so that we may know what their principles are and may refer to these principles in order to explain everything into which we inquire…. _
– The Life and Death of Socrates Text: Plato, Apology, in The Last Days of Socrates (sections 1 to 24A)
– Platonic Idealism: The Analogy of the Cave Text: Plato, The Republic VII, section 7
– The Pursuit of Happiness Text: Epicurus, Principal Doctrines (excerpts)
– Doubting Pyrrho: Truth and Doubt Text: Sextus Empiricus, An Outline of Pyrrhonism (excerpts)
– Stoicism (Rome and Philosophy) Text: Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 2
– Neoplatonism (The Origin of Evil) Text: Augustine, Confessions , Book VII, section 7
– Neoplatonism (The Ontological Argument for the Existence of God) Text: Anselm, Ontological Argument (class notes)
– Neoaristotelianism (The Cosmological Arguments for the Existence of God) Text: Aquinas, 5 Ways (excerpts from the Summa, class notes), Text: Pascal, Pensees, The Wager
– I think, therefore I am’ Text: Descartes, Discourse on Method, Book 1
– Continental Rationalism Text: Descartes, Discourse on Method, Book 4 and Meditations, Book 1
– Scepticism (The Teleological Argument for the Existence of God) Text: Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (excerpts)
– Normative Ethics (Deontology) Text: Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (excerpts)

Semester Two
– The Greatest Happiness Principle Text: Mill, Utilitarianism (excerpts)
– Twilight of the Idols Text: Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols (excerpts)
– Pragmatism Text: James, Pragmatism (excerpts)
– Positivism Text: A J Ayer) Language, Truth and Logic (excerpts)
– Existentialism Text: Sartre, Existentialism and Humanism (excerpts)
– The Linguistic Turn (Wittgenstein) Text: Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, 6.421-7.0 and Philosophical Investigation 11-15, 65-69, 95-100
– Ethics and Applied Ethics Text: Peter Singer, Animal Liberation (2002) (excerpts)
– Philosophy of Science Text: TS Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolution (excerpts)
– The Philosophy of Religion (Faith and Reason) Text: Richard Swinburne, Is there a God? (excerpts)
– Conclusions and Revision

Event Snapshot


  • Each wednesday between Wednesday 29 February and Wednesday 19 September from 18.00 to 20.00

25 sessions, 50 hours total


University of Sydney, 65 Parramatta Rd Camperdown 2006 Venue details


Adult: $858

More Info:

Centre for Continuing Education, University of Sydney
02 9036 4789

How to get to this event:

Call 131 500 or visit

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University of Sydney, 65 Parramatta Rd Camperdown 2006


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