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5 YouTube Channels to Playfully Learn About Philosophy in Less Than 10 Minutes

Is there actually a fun way to learn about Heidegger without having to go completely nuts trying to finish Being and Time? Can philosophy stop being so confusing for a moment and — you know — be more comprehensive to the ordinary mind?

Well, these YouTube videos are here help get yourself out of a rut. Whether you’re a clueless novice who’s yet to learn about the basics of philosophy or someone who just got hit by the brick of wall of wonder and curious about what makes moral actions good, watching short, informative, and entertaining YouTube videos starring our favorite philosophical concepts and philosophers can help you get your quick fix for metaphysical, aesthetic, logical, or even ethical mysteries!

1. 8-Bit Philosophy

Do you love video games? Cool! How about we throw in some philosophy with that? ( ͡o ͜ʖ ͡o)

From the makers of Earthling Cinema and Thug Notes comes a beautiful show where Plato can teach Zelda a thing or two about justice and being authentically good. Coupled with interesting framing of philosophical issues (e.g. “Is Boredom Worse Than Death?“) and colorful retro graphics that take us back to our N64 days, 8-Bit Philosophy engages people with succinct explanations and funny tidbits. It’s not only about (occasionally) tackling philosophical issues in games, but discussing philosophical problems WITH games! This show is definitely a gift to humanity. Treat yourself to some Double Dragon and Derrida episode right now:

2. The School of Life

Let The School of Life take you away from lengthy Wikipedia profiles that you have to read just to get a basic understanding of each philosopher. The School of Life provides neat and organized introduction to the seminal ideas of each philosopher through short films that are rich with beautiful images and vivid animation. This channel also attempts to answer mankind’s greatest questions through culture, taking lessons from philosophy, psychotherapy, literature, and art. For example, take a look at this video featuring Michel Foucault:

3. Three Minute Philosophy 

Three Minute Philosophy is an animated web series created by the freelance Cracked.com editor and Australian based author S Peter Davis to make the task of understanding philosophy and lot more easier (more powerful with expletives!) to beginners. These philo-packed videos explain the famous philosophical ideas (together with a little introduction about the philosopher behind it) that forever changed the tradition of thinking. Watch Three Minute Philosophy‘s introduction to Plato below:

I also recommend reading the articles on Three Minute Philosophy‘s website, which is golden mine for a humorous and philosophical take on the current pop culture and political scene. Of course, it should be mentioned that I love Peter Davis more because of our mutual hatred for Ayn Rand <3.

4. Philosophy Tube

Living up to its motto, “To bring philosophy to the people in an entertaining way!”, Philosophy Tube is a cool YouTube channel created by Olly Lennard, an MA Philosophy student who just graduated at the top of his class, shares with us what he learned while studying philosophy for four years. There are also contemporary issues examined under the philosophical lens, so if you want to learn about applying philosophical concepts in society’s latest problems, Olly is your man (or chap).

Olly lets viewers immerse in philosophical lessons based on their level of experience (and knowledge) on the discipline. There’s a playlist for the beginner, intermediate and advanced students of philosophy. If you’re confused with the onslaught of philosophical jargon you see in most videos, let Olly clear things out for you with the “A-Z of Philosophy”:

5. Academy of Ideas

Can’t stand lifeless school lessons about Kierkegaard? Academy of Ideas, a YouTube channel dedicated to providing not-so-boring lectures about the greatest thinkers in history, is here to save you! The channel illustrates key philosophical movements, theories, and discoveries of each philosopher in an brief yet highly informative way. Some of the introductory videos to philosophy take a little more than 10 minutes, but this gives you a leeway to carefully absorb and digest each idea from each philosopher.

BONUS: While this ingenious skit from Monty Python skit doesn’t really teach a philosophical concept or idea, it demonstrates some quirks of our beloved philosophers and how some of them attempted to apply their ideas on the technicalities of a soccer game, which perhaps makes it absurd yet funny. Of course, the video becomes a lot funnier when you understand what ticks a certain philosopher in this skit (I won’t spoil it for you. Go ahead and watch it!)

Take note that these YouTube videos, while fairly accurate and thought-provoking, should not be your excuse to avoid reading the original philosophical texts. Treat these as your appetizers or a complement to your exploration of philosophy. Who knows, you may develop your own understanding a philosophical dilemma featured in these videos that may give way to an intelligent discussion about humanity’s quest for answers… and more questions. Never stop wondering!

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