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Michaelmas Term 2016
Essay Titles
Senior Freshman Single Honours Philosophy

SHP students must submit a total of EIGHT essays and TWO logic tests as follows:
PI2010 + PI2011 History of Philosophy II A /B:  3 essays
PI2012 Logic:  2 tests
PI2013 Philosophy of Science: 1 essay
PI2014 Texts I: 2 essays (to be submitted in Michaelmas Term)
                            Broad Curriculum Module/Hilary Term               
PI2015 Texts II: Broad Curriculum Module/Michaelmas Term
                            2 essays (to be submitted in Hilary Term)

  • Essays must not exceed 1500 words in length.
  • It is important for students to complete ESSAY COVER SHEETS in FULL when submitting essays to the Department (including Student name, ID number, email address, module, component, and name of your Teaching Assistant). Essay Cover Sheets with these headings are available from the Dept. Office and on the Philosophy webpage.
  • Students are required to submit their essays via Blackboard with a hard copy handed into the Philosophy Department.  SUBMITTING ESSAYS INTO BLACKBOARD ONLY DOES NOT FULFILL THIS REQUIREMENT.
  • Students must not submit more than one essay for a given module component.
  • Students must identify the component for which the essay is being submitted.
  • Essays must be handed in at the philosophy department office (or placed in the essay box nearby) by 2.00 P.M. on the day specified.
  • An essay may be accepted up to one week late with the loss of 10 marks. It will not be accepted after the lapse of one week.
  • Essay extensions, may be requested on medical or ad misericordiam grounds from you programme coordinator but only via your College Tutor. A list of coordinators is available on the Philosophy webpage and on the Junior Freshmen notice board.  Extensions must be arranged prior to the submission date. 
  • Material already assessed in essays may not be used again in examinations.

Submission Dates
For material covered in Michaelmas Term 2016/1st Semester

Weeks 1 - 7 No essays
Week 8 Monday 14th November 2016, ONE essay due:
  • PI2014 Texts I Component 1 (Berkeley’s Principles)
Thursday 17th November’16
  • PI2012 Logic Test 1
Week 12

Thursday 15th December’16

  • PI2012 Logic Test 2
Weeks 9 - 12No Essays
1st day of HT Monday 16th January 2017, TWO essays due:
  • PI2010 History of Philosophy II A EITHER Component 1 (Kant) OR Component 2 (The Legacy of the Enlightenment)
  • PI2014 Texts I Component 2 (Sartre’s Being and Nothingness)


Component 1 (Berkeley’s Principles) Dr. Kenneth Pearce

  1. Critically examine Berkeley’s case against abstraction in the Introduction to the Principles. On what premises does Berkeley’s argument rely? Does Berkeley succeed in showing that abstract ideas are impossible?
  2. Suggested Reading:

    • Martha Brandt Bolton, “Berkeley’s Objection to Abstract Ideas and Unconceived Objects” in Essays on the Philosophy of George Berkeley, ed. Ernest Sosa (Dordrecht: D. Reidel, 1987)
    • Kenneth P. Winkler, Berkeley: An Interpretation (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989): ch. 1
    • Samuel C. Rickless, “The Relation Between Anti-Abstractionism and Idealism in Berkeley’s Metaphysics,” British Journal for the History of Philosophy 20 (2012): 723–740

  3. Critically examine Berkeley’s argument for immaterialism in the opening sections of the Principles. On what premises does Berkeley’s argument rely? Does Berkeley succeed in establishing the conclusion that perceived objects are nothing but ideas?
  4. Suggested Reading:

    • Georges Dicker, Berkeley’s Idealism: A Critical Examination (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011): ch. 4
    • Samuel C. Rickless, Bekeley’s Argument for Idealism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013): ch. 3

  5. According to Berkeley’s view in the Principles, what is a body? Berkeley claims that his immaterialism is compatible with the real existence of bodies. Is his defense of this claim convincing?
  6. Suggested Reading:

    • Kenneth P. Winkler, Berkeley: An Interpretation (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989): chs. 6 and 7
    • Margaret Atherton, “‘The Books are in the Study as Before’: Berkeley’s Claims about Real Physical Objects,” British Journal for the History of Philosophy 16 (2008): 85-100

Component 2 (Sartre’s Being and Nothingness) Prof. Lilian Alweiss

  1. Why, according to Sartre, is negation a necessary component for cognition? What does this tell us about the nature consciouness and reality?
  2. Either:
    The true problem is that bad faith is a form of faith? Discuss
    What does Sartre mean when he says: in bad faith ‘being is what it is not, and is not what it is’. Discuss.
  3. Why does Sartre claim that the essence of our relation with others is conflict? Do you agree? Discuss.


Component 1 (Kant) Dr. Lilian Alweiss

  1. ‘Kant’s transcendental philosophy only studies the fundamental structure of our thought rather than that of the world’. Discuss.
    Reading as for Lectures 1&2
  2. Why does Kant call space a form of intuition? Do you find his position convincing?
    Reading as for lectures 3&4
  3. Why does Kant believe that we can only do metaphysics if we can show that we can make synthetic a priori judgments?  Discuss
    Reading as for Lectures 1-3

Component 2 (The Legacy of the Enlightenment) Prof. Lilian Alweiss

  1. How effective are Hegel's Objections to the conception of cognition as an instrument or medium? Discuss
  2. Why does sense certainty not provide us with the truest, immediate and indeed richest kind of knowledge? Discuss
  3. How does Hegel arrive at the conclusion that in the end the slave is more free than her master?
  4. Reading for the above essay titles are available on Blackboard