Center for Inquiry


For general information about our online classes,
plesae visit the CFI Institute Online.


No Gods, No Masters: Anarchism and Atheism
CFI Institute Online Seminar
(SEC 210-1013)
October 1 – October 31, 2013

Instructor: David Koepsell, JD, PhD

There is a historical correlation between anarchist philosophers and activists in the 19th century and bold expressions of anti-religious/atheist sentiment. In this seminar, we will look at this correlation, consider whether there is a necessary relation between rejecting divine authority and state authority, and examine what people like Godwin, Bakunin, Proudhon, and Emma Goldman had to say about their antipathy to all forms of authority, both secular and ecclesiastical.

The readings will be supplied online, most are in the public domain and were written between the 18th and 19th centuries. In the course we will also take note of, and examine briefly "religious" anarchism and some of its proponents by way of comparison. Instruction will combine reading and group discussion, and we will consider the broader question of the relation of atheism to various political stances and ideologies.


Your Instructor:

koepsellDavid Koepsell, JD, PhD, was executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism from 2003-2008. Since then, he has been an assistant professor of philosophy at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, where he teaches ethics and engineering as well as research ethics to masters and PhD students. He holds a law degree (1995) and PhD in Philosophy (1997) from the University at Buffalo, and has authored and edited numerous books, as well as popular and scholarly articles, and has spoken to audiences worldwide on issues relating to civil rights, secularism, science and technology, ethics, humanism, and ontology. He has provided commentary on these topics in a variety of media outlets including: MSNBC, Fox News Channel, The Guardian, NPR, and the Associated Press, among others. His complete CV can be found at


About CFI Institute Online seminars:

CFI 200-level seminar courses are taught at an intellectual level equivalent to an introductory college course. We expect students to participate in the class discussion at their own chosen pace, and there are no other writing requirements and no grading. These classes are entirely online — everything for the course except the book is provided on a CFI website. You will read the course lectures, follow links to other webpages, ask your questions, and participate in class discussion with the instructors and other students on our website.

There is no specific time that you must be online. There is no "live" part to these courses, and you cannot miss anything even if you can only get online at 6am or 11pm — you can log in and participate anytime, day or night, 24/7. Completion of eight courses at the Expertise 200-level is rewarded with the Institute's Certificate of Expertise.

Online courses are now jointly advertised by the Center for Inquiry and the American Humanist Association, and both organizations encourage their members and affiliates to consider taking them. Online courses are the most visible sign that CFI and the AHA have entered a cooperative relationship on some educational programming. That cooperation is facilitated by Dr. John R. Shook, who now serves as education coordinator for both CFI and AHA.

This is a one-month online seminar course, running from October 1, 2013 through October 31, 2013.

Seminar Fees:
$70 for general registration; $60 for Friends of the Center; and $30 for students (valid educational institution email address required.)

 Ready to sign up? Register online here.


Explore our other educational opportunities at the CFI Education page
Questions? Email a CFI Institute representative
or phone (202) 629-2403 ext. 200.
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