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Senior Fresh Year Philosophy, Political Science, Economics, and Sociology
Module Outlines
Hilary Term 2019

PI2012/PI2013 (Logic & Philosophy of Science) and PI2010/PI2011 (History of Philosophy II) are each made up of two module components with 11 lectures (over five and a half weeks) in each term. There are two lectures per week for each of the two modules. Each module component covers a single coherent theme or topic (e.g. Formal Logic or Kant's Epistemology and Metaphysics) and is usually taught by the same lecturer.

Part of the assessment for each course will be by means of essays, which are marked by the SF teaching assistants. For guidance please consult the list of SF Essay Titles.

The examination for each module takes place at the end of the year, duirng April. The rubric for the examination paper will reflect the components that make up each of the above modules.

PI2008: History of Philosophy II

  • Contact Hours: 11 hours of lectures and 5 hours of tutorials
  • Lecturers: Dr Ben White (email), Dr Keith Begley (email)
  • ECTS: 10 (5 per semester)
  • Semester 1 & 2

Module Outline for Semester 2

Component 3: Modern Analytic Phil. 1 (Dr Ben White)

In this component we will focus on the work of major figures within the analytic tradition, including Bertrand Russell, G.E. Moore, 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, the role of philosophy, and the relationship between philosophy and science.

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this component students will be able to:

  • 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 this has for the status of metaphysics.

Component 4: Modern Analytic Phil. 2 (Dr Keith Begley)

This component continues from the previous component, and considers the status of philosophy of language and metaphysics within the analytic tradition, and the purpose of philosophical theorising. We will cover some influential work within the analytic tradition from the 20th century, including that of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Ordinary Language Philosophy, Saul Kripke, and the revival of metaphysics.

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this component students will be able to:

  • 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.

 

PI2009: Logic, Language and Science

  • Contact Hours: 11 hours of lectures and 5 hours of tutorial per term
  • Lecturers: Mr Peter West (email), Dr Keith Begley (email)
  • ECTS: 10 (5 per semester)
  • Semester 1 & 2

Module Outline for Semester 2

Component 3: Philosophy of Langauge (Mr Peter West)

This course will cover a selection of key topics in the philosophy of language. Philosophy of language is the study of how certain sounds or utterances (or marks, when written down) come to form a language; i.e. a way for people to communicate with each other. Central questions include: what makes language meaningful? And, how do we use language to communicate with each other?  Two approaches to the philosophy of language will be considered: (1) semantics, and (2) pragmatics. Semantics is the study of the literal meaning of sentences largely independently of context, while pragmatics tries to explain how speakers often use sentences to convey more than or even something different from what they literally mean. Attention will also be paid to the history of language as a philosophical topic.

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this component students will be able to:

  • Understand the key questions central to the philosophy of language.
  • Understand the difference between semantics and pragmatics.
  • Critically evaluate the arguments for and against certain theories of language.  

Component 4: Philosophy of Science (Dr Keith Begley)

This component is an introduction to philosophy of science; it is not a science course, so no specific knowledge of science is required. Examples of the kind of questions considered in philosophy of science are: What is science? How should science be demarcated from other practices? What is the best scientific methodology to adopt? Does science produce knowledge? What are the limits of scientific enquiry? In this component we will first look at some early notions of scientific inquiry, before discussing a number of important developments in the philosophy of science, especially in the 20th century. We will pay particular attention to the views known as Inductivism, Popperian Falisificationism, and Kuhnian ‘Paradigm Shift’, and to the debate between the Scientific Realists and Anti-realists.

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this component students will be able to:

  • Characterize the main issues in philosophy of science
  • Critically assess competing views in philosophy of science