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Recent French Philosophy

  • Module code: PH7804
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: 7
  • Credits: 30
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

This module involves guided study of two or three major works of twentieth-century French philosophy, focusing each year on the work of two related thinkers. Possible topics include: Sartre or de Beauvoir's existentialism, Levinasian ethics, Merleau-Ponty's theory of embodied perception, Foucault's theory of power, Derrida's practice of deconstruction, Deleuze's conception of difference, Badiou's concepts of the subject and truth.

Aims

  • To introduce students to the key ideas in two or three major works of twentieth-century French philosophy.
  • To situate those works in the context of the history of philosophy and wider debates in European philosophy.
  • To introduce students to competing interpretations of the works studied.
  • To enable students to approach demanding philosophical texts confidently.

Learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge of two or three major works of twentieth-century French philosophy.
  • Comprehend, reconstruct and interpret the key ideas in two or three major works of twentieth-century French philosophy.
  • Be able to situate those works in the context of the history of philosophy and wider debates in European philosophy.
  • Undertake the work of close textual analysis of a demanding philosophical text.

Curriculum content

The curriculum content will change each year depending on the major texts to be studied. The curriculum content will always focus, however, on the primary texts, often in their entirety, as well as the most important interpretative secondary literature.

Teaching and learning strategy

This module will be taught by means of a mix of lectures and seminars, supplemented by individual tutorials and private study. Emphasis is placed on seminar-based discussion.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive UNISTATS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Seminars/lectures: 10 taught sessions (2.5 hours each) 25
Scheduled learning and teaching Group and individual tutorials (one scheduled hour plus office hours) 1
Guided independent study Directed and Independent Learning 274
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to test a student's ability to meet the module's learning outcomes. Summative assessment involves two pieces of written work:

  • A 1,500-word exercise, requiring written answers  to (usually 3) questions set by the tutor. The exercise is normally submitted at or before the mid-way point of the module and is worth 20% of the final module grade. This exercise also functions formatively in relation to the second, longer piece of assessed work:
  • A 3,500 to 4,000 word essay, worth 80% of the final mark. The topic for the essay may be drawn from a list suggested by the tutor, or students may propose their own topic (to be agreed with the module tutor).

The skills required to prepare these assessed elements will be developed in a variety of formative activities throughout the module, notably through class discussion, feedback on in-class presentations, and individual tutorials. Preparation of the final essay normally includes a scheduled tutorial with the module tutor.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
1) Demonstrate advanced knowledge of two or three major works of twentieth-century French philosophy. Assessed formatively through class discussion, presentations and tutorials, and summatively through the two pieces of individual written work.
2) Comprehend, reconstruct and interpret the key ideas in two or three major works of twentieth-century French philosophy. Assessed formatively through class discussion, presentations and tutorials, and summatively through the two pieces of individual written work.
3) Be able to situate those works in the context of the history of philosophy and wider debates in European philosophy. Assessed formatively through class discussion, presentations and tutorials, and summatively through the two pieces of individual written work.
4) Undertake the work of close textual analysis of a demanding philosophical text. Assessed formatively through class discussion, presentations and tutorials, and summatively through the two pieces of individual written work.

Elements of Assessment

Description of Assessment Definitive UNISTATS Categories Percentage
Coursework 5000 100
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module

Bibliography core texts

The bibliography will vary each year depending on the texts to be studied. Indicative pasts texts include:

Michel Foucault, The Hermeneutics of the Subject, Lectures at The College de France 1981-1982, trans. Graham Burchell, Picador, 2005.

Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, 1, The Will to Knowledge, trans. Robert Hurley, Penguin Books.

Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, 2, The Care of the Self, trans. by Robert Hurley (New York: Vintage Books, 1986).

Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness: An Essay on Phenomenological Ontology, trans. Hazel E. Barnes [1957], Routledge, 2003.

Alain Badiou, Being and Event [1988], trans. Oliver Feltham, Continuum, 2006.

Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus [1972], trans. Robert Hurley, Mark Seem and Helen R. Lane, University of Minnesota Press, 1977.

Félix Guattari, Chaosmosis: An Ethico-Aesthetic Paradigm [1992], trans. Julian Pefanis and Paul Bains, Indiana University Press, 1995.

Bernard Stiegler, Technics and Time, Vol. 1: The Fault of Epimetheus, [1994], trans. Richard Bearsworth and George Collins, Stanford University Press, 1998.

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