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You are here Postgraduate > MPhil in Philosophy > Course Structure > Introduction to Philosophical Research

Introduction to Philosophical Research

Module Code: PI7101

  • ECTS Weighting: 10
  • Semester/Term Taught: Michaelmas Term
  • Contact Hours: 11 x 2-hour seminars; 4 supervision hours; 174 hours of independent study
  • Module Personnel: Dr Ben White

Module Content

This module begins with an exploration of the wide diversity of ways in which philosophers pursue their work. Problems about the justification of methodology are examined and a framework for thinking about relating philosophical methodology to context, assumptions, values, account of explanation, preferred dialogue partner and temperament is examined. This approach is then applied to a variety of philosophers from different cultures and historical periods – Aquinas, Frege, Wittgenstein and Nagarjuna – as examples of how these factors play a role in the way each philosopher develops their distinctive approach.

Learning Outcomes

The aim of this module is to provide students with subject specific knowledge and to equip them with the necessary skills for independent research. On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  • Articulate the problem of philosophical diversity and assess possible responses
  • Evaluate the method of context, assumptions, values, explanation, dialogue and temperament to deal with this problem
  • Critically apply this method to a range of different philosophers and philosophical methods.
  • Assessment Details

    Students will submit a final essay. There will also be a short set of reading questions assigned each week of class, starting in Week 2. Students should send me their answers to these questions via email before class.

    The weighting for these assignments is as follows:
    Weekly reading questions: 15%
    Final essay: 85%

    There is a strict 3,000 word limit for the final essay (including footnotes but not bibliography). Essays that exceed this limit will be subject to a 5 point penalty. Students are encouraged to develop their own topics for their essays in consultation with me.
    Students must also submit a 350-500 word provisional abstract of their final essays no later than 3 weeks before the essay is due. Failure to submit an abstract will result in a 5 point deduction from the final grade for the essay.

    Students may request an extension by contacting the MPhil Coordinator Dr Ben White.

    Recommended Reading List

    - Frank Jackson. 1998. From Metaphysics to Ethics. Oxford University Press.
    All other readings will be posted on Blackboard.