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Full Steam Ahead: Episode oneSaturday, 23rd July 2016 16:30 - BBC TwoThe first episode of Full Steam Ahead looks at the way Britain changed in the 19th century due to the railways Read more: Full Steam Ahead: Episode one
Thinking Allowed July 2016: Food bank Britain, Food poverty in EuropeMonday, 25th July 2016 00:15 - BBC Radio 4
Exodus: Our Journey To Europe: EPISODE 1Wednesday, 27th July 2016 02:45 - BBC Two
Exodus: Our Journey To Europe: EPISODE 2Thursday, 28th July 2016 00:45 - BBC Two (except Scotland and Northern Ireland)
Full Steam Ahead: Episode oneAvailable until Monday, 22nd August 2016 17:30The first episode of Full Steam Ahead looks at the way Britain changed in the 19th century due to the railways Read more: Full Steam Ahead: Episode one
Thinking Allowed July 2016: Food bank Britain, Food poverty in EuropeAvailable for over a year
Exodus: Our Journey To Europe: EPISODE 3Available until Friday, 19th August 2016 01:15
Exodus: Our Journey To Europe: EPISODE 2Available until Friday, 19th August 2016 00:15
OpenLearn Live: 22nd July 2016A biochemist with a fearsome reputation; how drones are helping ferrets and keeping your workers... Read more: OpenLearn Live: 22nd July 2016
Exodus: Our Journey To EuropeIn this three part OU/BBC co-production we see a terrifyingly intimate, yet uniquely epic... Read more: Exodus: Our Journey To Europe
Employment relations and employee engagementThis free course, Employment relations and employee engagement, looks at raising levels of... Try: Employment relations and employee engagement now
Introduction to bookkeeping and accountingLearn about the essential numerical skills required for accounting and bookkeeping. This free... Try: Introduction to bookkeeping and accounting now
What is a person? This free course, Philosophy: The nature of persons, examines this philosophical question concerning the nature of personhood. You will examine whether a 'person' is the same as a 'human being', and look at whether it is our free will that in the end defines us as a 'person'.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- discuss what it means to be a person
- read and understand arguments discussing this question.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Introducing the concept of the 'person' and 'persons'
- 2 Determinism and free choice: a brief résumé
- 3 Peter Strawson: ‘Freedom and resentment’
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
Philosophy: The nature of persons
This free course asks what it is to be a person. You will see that there are several philosophical questions around the nature of personhood. Here we explore what it is that defines the concept. As you work through the course, you will notice that this area of enquiry has developed its own semi-technical vocabulary. The plural of ‘person’ is, in this area of enquiry, ‘persons’ rather than ‘people’. It is easy to see the reason for this. The question ‘What are people?’ is potentially confusing. It could mean ‘What is it to be a people (as opposed to simply a collection of individuals)?’ This, like the question of what it is to be a state or a nation, falls within the province of political philosophy. This is not the question we want. Instead, we want ‘What is it to be a person (or one of the kind of thing that are persons)?’
This OpenLearn course provides a sample of Postgraduate Level study in.
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Philosophy courses or view the range of currently available OU Philosophy courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Monday, 21st March 2016
Last updated on: Monday, 21st March 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
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