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History of Philosophy II B

Module Code: PI2008

Module Name: History of Philosophy II B

Module Content

This course continues the sequence of the history of western philosophy. Beginning with Kant, it moves through post-Kantian continental philosophy and on into analytic philosophy.

Michaelmas Term/1st Semester

Component 1: Kant - Professor Lilian Alweiss (email)

This unit will consider Kant's Copernican revolution in epistemology and metaphysics and his distinctive form of idealism. In particular we shall be focusing on his account of space and time; his account of the relation between a priori and empirical knowledge and his response to scepticism.

The set text for this course is:

Immanuel Kant: The Critique of Pure Reason, translated by Kemp Smith, Macmillan.

Component 2: Legacy of the Enlightenment - Professor Lilian Alweiss (email)

This unit attempts to provide an overview of 19th century modern European thought by drawing on the writings of Fichte, Jacobi and hegel. If there is sufficient time we may also discuss Hamann, Schiller, Novalis and Kierkegaark. The overall aim is to discuss how these thinkers question Kant's Critical Philosophy and how they try to overcome what they perceive to be its shortcomings. Particular attention will be given to the nature of the self, and the relation between faith and reason.

Hilary Term/2nd Semester

Component 3: Modern Analytic Philosophy 1 - Professor James Levine (email)

In this component we will focus on the work of major figures within the analytic tradition, including Bertrand Russell, G.E. Moore, Ludwig Wittgenstein, A.J. Ayer, Rudolf Carnap, and W.V. Quine. In doing so, we will examine how these philosophers have differed on a number of central issues, including a priori knowledge, the status of metaphysics, and the role of philosophy.

Component 4: Modern Analytic Philosophy 2 - Dr. James Miller (email)

This component will continue from component 1 of this term, and will consider some crucial figures within the analytic tradition from later within the 20th century, such as Ludwig Wittgenstein, Gilbert Ryle, J.L. Austin, P.F. Strawson, Saul Kripke, and David Lewis. In doing so, we will consider the so-called 'linguistic turn' and ordinary language analysis, the subsequent rejection of this methodology, the resurrection of metaphysics in the 1960s, and the notion of metaphysics post-Quine. This will provide a background in how analytic philosophy has developed in the 20th century, the status of philosophy of language and metaphysics within the analytic tradition, and the purpose of philosophical theorising.

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module, students will be able to:

  • critically evaluate the central features of Kant's idealism;
  • critically evaluate central features of 19th century European thought;
  • critically assess the views of key analytic philosophers on questions of a priori knowledge and the status of metaphysics;
  • critically assess the views of key analytic philosophers on questions of the role of philosophy of language in philosophy, and the consequences for the status of metaphysics.

Assessment Details

For PI2008 (10 ECTS) students are required to submit two essays from the set list of essay titles for this module and sit a two hour exam (answering two questions, from a list of questions for that module, which must be for the components for which the essay was NOT submitted) during the annual examination period.