★★★★★ (25 reviews)
Learn thousands of years of philosophy in just five days. This introductory course distills what the great philosophers have said about how we should live, whether we have free will, if perception is reality, and why anything exists.
Course materials are delivered direct to your inbox over 5 days, and accessible forever from any device.
Crystal clear insight into how the great philosophers have answered life's big questions.
One succinct overview (30-40 min read) for each core topic, distilling millennia of wisdom.
Five sets of questions and reflections to round out each day's philosophizing.
Five curated reading lists for effective further exploration of each topic covered.
On day one of Life's Big Questions, we'll consider why there is something rather than nothing. If God created the universe, why does God exist? If the Big Bang caused the universe, what set the preconditions for the Big Bang? Chapter #1 features answers from philosophical titans like Leibniz and Spinoza, as well as contemporary quantum physicists and thinkers like Lawrence Krauss and Derek Parfit. Want a sneak peek? Read an extract from this chapter here.
On day two of Life's Big Questions, we'll inspect the extent to which the world around us reflects ‘reality’. Do our senses deceive us about what's really there? Can we ever prove that we're not all brains in vats? To face up to these questions, Chapter #2 draws on the approaches of philosophical giants Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant. Interested in what's inside? Read an extract from this chapter here.
Are feelings and experiences something different from our brains, or are they our brains? Do they happen in addition to all the physical processes in our brains, or are they identical to them? On day three, we'll consider the mystery of consciousness, featuring discussions from contemporary philosophers of mind like Thomas Nagel and David Chalmers.
If we live in a world governed by cause and effect, and these causal chains stretch back to the beginning of the universe, where does human agency fit in? Is the freedom we feel in our actions simply an illusion? On day four, we'll investigate the strange problem of free will, drawing from philosophical greats like Schopenhauer to contemporary neuroscientists and thinkers like Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett.
On the fifth and final day of Life's Big Questions, we'll turn from theorizing about the nature of existence and begin to unpack the practical consequences for how we should live our lives. We'll ask if there's a right way to live, and consider answers from philosophical favorites Nietzsche, Camus, Lucretius — and consider the three main ethical systems for how we should treat other people.
Enroll today, and by this time next week, you'll understand philosophy's top wisdom, have clarity on exactly which topics interest you, and know the best further reading for continuing your philosophical journey.
★★★★★ ExcellentExcellent course. An enjoyable, contemplative read. The bite-sized portions allowed me to digest the information, and the content was very interesting and easy to understand — a good survey of philosophical ideas with references to books for digging deeper. I especially enjoyed the chapter on free will. As a financial planner, I’m trying to balance cognitive biases with behavioral change. This chapter provides good food for thought in how I approach my practice. Overall, great work.
VERIFIED BUYERDavid H. on 17 September 2021
★★★★★ Loved itThank you very much for giving me something to look forward to each day with the daily chapters — I loved it! Very refreshing to read something this clear and direct about how the great philosophers have approached some of the most difficult and enduring questions we can ask. Some truly interesting ideas I hadn't encountered before. Thanks!
VERIFIED BUYERMarie L. on 4 September 2021
★★★★★ AwesomeGreat content. Receiving one chapter each day is awesome. As someone who is not a native English speaker, I found the content easy to grasp which is something I really appreciate. The first and second chapters were my favorite because they discuss the most fundamental questions humans can ask, but all of the chapters were extremely interesting.
VERIFIED BUYERAhmed K. on 2 August 2021
★★★★★ Perfect difficulty levelVery good. Very well-written. Difficulty of the content is perfect for someone who might not be too familiar with philosophy so that is great too. Thank you!
VERIFIED BUYERJonathon B. on 27 July 2021
★★★★★ Great job to everybody involvedIt was great! Course material is written in a very accessible way that will appeal to any reader. The questions selected are the right ones, and they are presented in a nicely woven sequence. I can appreciate how hard it is to synthesize philosophy texts into such an easy to understand and nicely written text, so great job. One chapter per day represented a manageable time commitment that always left me excited for the next day, and my favorite chapter was the last one on how we should approach life. Reading what other thinkers had to say about it was very enriching and brought home the point that there is no universal answer. Great job to everybody involved in creating this course!
VERIFIED BUYERJulien S. on 23 June 2021
★★★★★ Very good introductionVery interesting content and delivered really thoughtfully. I enjoyed receiving one chapter per day and think it's a really good format for making what could be quite difficult content accessible and digestible. All the topics were stimulating but I especially enjoyed the discussion on free will. Determinism is quite terrifying! Overall a very good introduction to philosophy. Will certainly be recommending this course. Thank you!
VERIFIED BUYERSara B. on 15 June 2021
★★★★★ Really well put togetherReally well put together. A good resource to fill in gaps on a subject matter that I am interested in. Written in accessible language, the way more philosophy should be. Content was great & well laid out on my iPad. My favorite chapter was the 2nd chapter on if the world around us is ‘real’. It wove together Descartes, Berkeley, Locke, Hume, and Kant so well that it seemed the evolution was predestined.
VERIFIED BUYERJared L. on 24 May 2021
★★★★★ Excellent seriesVery positive course experience. Love the format - really nice to have something to look forward to each day with the daily chapters. The themes are discussed in a way that stimulates your interest without overwhelming you with information. Overall an excellent series, and I am sure I will keep returning to the chapters and hopefully doing some of the suggested further reading now my interest has been roused.
VERIFIED BUYERAlan M. on 21 May 2021
★★★★★ Great primerVery glad I found this resource, as philosophy has always interested me but I never get round to finishing the introductory books. I actually finished this as it was a concise and engaging primer on the main topics covered and I feel more motivated to do more reading now, so thanks!
VERIFIED BUYERLynda F. on 12 May 2021
★★★★★ Fantastic starting pointGreat daily chapters. All fantastic starting points for learning more about each theme and all the different philosophers. Materials displayed well and the summary questions at the end were really effective for making me think more about the materials.
VERIFIED BUYERCarrie W. on 9 May 2021
★★★★★ Powerful - learned a great dealReally concise and effective. Powerful, actually - I learned a great deal. Loved the daily chapters, materials displayed really well. I really enjoyed this introduction to philosophy and would definitely want to take another of your courses.
VERIFIED BUYERMart W. on 25 April 2021
★★★★★ Comprehensive and engagingI found this a very comprehensive introduction to philosophy, and it really left no question unanswered or deliberated, but was very engaging to consume - thanks! I'll definitely be recommending it.
VERIFIED BUYERJosh B. on 19 April 2021
★★★★★ Just what I was looking forThis was the perfect scope and pacing for what I was looking for as an introduction to philosophy. I was thrown straight in to confront big issues and loved the daily chapters coming through to my inbox each day, which were fun and challenging reads. The questions and further reading at the end of each chapter were great too for making it all stick in my mind and giving me ideas for what to read next. Overall great intro to philosophy. Thanks very much!
VERIFIED BUYERJulie S. on 14 April 2021
★★★★★ Excellent materialsExcellent materials, reading and recommendations sent to my inbox over the last week. Each chapter was stimulating and I feel I've learned a lot about philosophy and its history. I'd definitely recommend this course for anyone who like me was interested in philosophy but wasn't sure where to really start.
VERIFIED BUYERRene G. on 12 April 2021
★★★★★ Definitely recommend!I really enjoyed this course. Just the right amount of material each day on philosophical questions I've always wondered about. Great further reading recommendations too. Thanks very much!
VERIFIED BUYERSam S. on 2 April 2021
★★★★★ Loved itThis was great, thanks. Each day I'd look forward so much to getting stuff through to my inbox and reading it all. Couldn't recommend this more highly as an efficient yet thorough introduction to philosophy!
VERIFIED BUYERDarcy T. on 22 March 2021
★★★★★ Brilliant introductionA brilliant introduction to philosophy, covering thoughts from the greatest thinkers over the last few millennia on questions that continue to rattle minds today. This course is excellent for anyone who has an interest in philosophy, but didn't get to study it at university. I personally have read some books on philosophy, and this course helped solidify some ideas and introduced me to others. Equally, if you haven't read any philosophy, this is the place I wish I had started.
VERIFIED BUYERMark H. on 20 February 2021
★★★★★ Highly recommendWould highly recommend this if you're interested in some of life's ‘big questions’ or want an introduction to philosophy without having to wade through heavy reference books… the chapters are a well-written, easy-to-read but comprehensive and insightful synopsis of the thoughts of some of history's greatest philosophers. The course poses lots of questions at appropriate points that engaged me to think more about things that, though interesting and meaningful, are often pushed to the back of our minds due to the short-termist and relatively trivial focus of most of our daily lives. Dip your toe into these philosophical waters, you won't regret it!
VERIFIED BUYERJohn M. on 20 February 2021
★★★★★ Very informativeI found this course so refreshing as it is written in an easy to understand style, and raises stimulating questions at the end of each chapter. The philosophy book recommendations are also very well researched and informative. I would encourage anyone with an interest in the ‘big questions’ to sign up to this course.
VERIFIED BUYERJill P. on 20 February 2021
★★★★★ Great introI loved philosophy break on Instagram and had read some of the articles but wanted to take the next step. This was perfect because I could read it in my own time and felt I was on a journey toward something great. I feel enlightened and it's led me to explore some of the topics in more detail. A great intro to philosophy. Would recommend.
VERIFIED BUYERFlorence R. on 19 February 2021
★★★★★ Beautiful contentGreat content packaged in beautiful, compelling chapters that are very interesting and easy to consume. Thanks!
VERIFIED BUYERSian Y. on 19 February 2021
★★★★★ My brain hurtsSome of the stuff in this course seriously blew my mind! These are such interesting questions and the answers are challenging but presented in really easy-to-understand and engaging ways. Great course thank you.
VERIFIED BUYERCarter T. on 19 February 2021
★★★★★ Challenging but fascinatingI was looking for something to extend my understanding beyond casual google searches and occasional journal articles. I found the course challenging, but feel much more confident to approach more complex philosophical texts now. Thank you.
VERIFIED BUYERTim D. on 19 February 2021
★★★★★ Great stuffThis was such a great way to consider the ‘big questions’. Quicker and easier to read than a book because it's broken down into daily chapters, but just as eye-opening. Great stuff Philosophy Break!
VERIFIED BUYERGeorge N. on 18 February 2021
★★★★★ Perfect introductionLoved this course! I've always had an interest in philosophy but the big books scare me a bit, so this course was the perfect way to ease me in. It was still challenging... but I could take it at my own pace after it arrived straight into my inbox and I could go back any time to revisit content that challenged me. Can't wait for the next course. Thank you Philosophy Break!
VERIFIED BUYERSophie D. on 18 February 2021
This is for anyone curious about why we are here, the nature of existence, and how we should spend our lives. You may have read some philosophy, or you may have never engaged with the subject before: either way, we've distilled philosophy's best answers so you can quickly approach life's nagging questions and anxieties in an accessible, organized fashion, and efficiently learn some of the best wisdom from history.
The course is delivered over five days, with a new question considered each day. Each day's materials take about 30-40 minutes to read through, with an extra fifteen or so minutes recommended for reflection. You have access to course materials forever, so don't worry if you miss a day — you can take the course at your own pace.
Course materials are delivered directly to your email inbox each day over five days. They are optimized for easy reading on any device — be it desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile — and are even printable, so you can consume them however you like.
If over the five days of the course you miss a day, don't worry — you'll have access to course materials forever, and can come back to anything at any time and take everything at your own pace.
This course is brought to you by Philosophy Break, a self-funded social enterprise dedicated to getting more people engaged with philosophy. Course content is put together by the founder of Philosophy Break, Jack Maden, who received an MA in Philosophy from the University of Southampton in 2014, and has been producing educational resources and writing about philosophy ever since. Having obtained great value researching philosophy at postgraduate level, Jack wanted to share the subject's riches with a wider audience, and created Philosophy Break in 2018. This course is the result of years of research and refinement to make philosophy's profound and important wisdom as relevant, interesting, and engaging to today's digital world as possible.
Philosophy Break is a self-funded social enterprise, so we put all proceeds straight back into funding our mission of engaging more people with philosophy. By purchasing a course, you help support us on that mission.
Have a question not answered here? Simply drop us an email, and we'll be happy to answer!