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Topics in Modern European Philosophy

  • Module code: PH7805
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: 7
  • Credits: 30
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

Each year this module involves guided study of major works from the tradition of Modern European Philosophy, focussing either on a single text or on a range of texts in relation to a theme. Past topics have included Althusser; the dispute over humanism and the idea of a philosophical anthropology; and the reception of Das Kapital in the Western Marxist Tradition. The content of the module changes each year, determined by the research expertise of the module tutor.

Aims

  • To introduce students to one or more major works on the modern European tradition of philosophy.
  • To situate that text or those texts in the history of European philosophy, and reflect critically on its place in relation to the tradition.
  • To engage students in the practice of philosophical interpretation.
  • To encourage students to develop an interrogative relation to difficult texts.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the structure and key ideas of the set texts.
  • Appreciate the requirements for a genuinely philosophical interpretation of a canonical text.
  • Undertake the work of close textual analysis of a demanding philosophical text.
  • Comprehend, reconstruct and interpret philosophical arguments, and situate these arguments in the context of the history of philosophy and wider debates in European philosophy.

Curriculum content

The curriculum content changes each year, determined by the current research and interests of the module tutor. Details of the curriculum content are circulated to students before the beginning of the academic year.

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. Students may be asked to prepare short seminar presentations and will be asked to bring discussion questions to class.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive UNISTATS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching Seminars/lectures; 11 taught sessions of 2.5 hours each 28
Scheduled learning and teaching Individual tutorials 1
Guided independent study 271
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) Understand the structure and key ideas of the set text. Assessed formatively through class discussion, presentations and tutorials, and summatively through the two pieces of individual written work.
2) Appreciate the requirements for a genuinely philosophical interpretation of a canonical text. Assessed formatively through class discussion, presentations and tutorials, and summatively through the two pieces of individual written work.
3) 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.
4) Comprehend, reconstruct and interpret philosophical arguments, and situate these arguments 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.

Elements of Assessment

Description of Assessment Definitive UNISTATS Categories Percentage
Coursework Exercises 1500 words 20
Coursework Essay 3500 to 4000 words 80
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 changes each year, as the module content changes each year. The module is always based around the reading of at least one canonical text from the history of modern European philosophy. Students are provided with information on the curriculum content well before the beginning of the the academic year.

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