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Senior Fresh Year Single Honors Philosophy
Module Outlines
Hilary Term 2020

PIU22021 Logic and PIU22022 Philosophy of Science are made up of one module component with 22 lectures (over eleven weeks) and History of Philosophy II (PIU22011/PIU22012) 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. 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. For each of the above modules, students also meet for weekly tutorials with departmental teaching assistants. PIU22061 and PIU22062 (Texts I and II) are made up of four module components between them and consist of two hours of lectures per week. There are no tutorials for PIU22061 and PIU22062 (Texts I and II).

Part of the assessment for each module will be by means of essays/logic tests. Essays are marked by the module teaching assistants. For guidance please consult the list of SF essay titles, distributed to students during the term. Essay titles are made available by lecturers on Blackboard. Students are required to submit their essay through Blackboard. No hard copies of essays are required. Students are advised not to use the Safari browser when submitting assignments through Blackboard. Students must attach a cover sheet to all Philosophy essays.

The examination for each module takes place at the end of the semester in which the module takes place. The examination paper will contain questions that reflect each of the components that make up the module. Material already assessed in essays may not be used again in examinations. To do so is to be liable to be penalised by 10 marks for the examination question attempted.

Wordcount for Essays

Essays must not exceed 1,500 words in length. The word count includes footnotes but it does not include the bibliography. Essays that go over the limit will be liable for a 5 mark deduction.

Late Submission of Essays and Extensions

There will be a 5 mark deduction for each week an essay is late.

Essay extensions, may be requested on medical or ad misericordiam grounds from your programme coordinator Professor Lilian Alweiss (Single Honors Philosophy) but only via your College Tutor. Extensions must be arranged prior to the submission date.

Tutorial Attendance

It is mandatory for Fresher students to attend tutorials for Philosophy. If a student misses six or more tutorials in a term, then they are penalised by ten marks being deducted from one of their essays for the modules covered by that tutorial in that term.

PIU22014: History of Western Philosophy II B

  • Contact Hours: 22 hours of lectures and 10 hours of tutorials
  • Lecturer: Dr Ben White
  • ECTS: 10
  • Semester: 2

Module Outline

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

In this component we will focus on the work of major figures in the early analytic tradition, including Bertrand Russell, G.E. Moore, A.J. Ayer, Rudolf Carnap, and Ludwig WIttgenstein. In doing so, we will examine the views of these philosophers 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 Aims

  • The primary learning aims of this component are to acquire a working knowledge of the motivations and contributions of important figures in the analytic philosophical tradition and to develop general skills in the analysis and evaluation of the views of these philosophers and the issues they are concerned with.

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Critically assess the views of key analytic philosophers on a priori knowledge, the status of metaphysics, the role of language in philosophy, and the consequences this has for the status of metaphysics.
  • Articulate and defend their own positions on these issues.

Recommended Reading List

As advised/circulated by lecturer during the lecture series.

Component 2: Modern Analytic Phil. 2 (Dr Ben White)

This component is a continuation of Modern Analytic Philosophy 1. In it we will cover Wittgenstein’s later work, ordinary language philosophy, Quine’s critique of logical positivism, selected readings from the American Pragmatist tradition, Saul Kripke’s Naming and Necessity, and the revival of metaphysics.

Learning Aims

  • The primary learning aims of this component are to acquire a working knowledge of the motivations and contributions of important figures in the analytic philosophical tradition and to develop general skills in the analysis and evaluation of the views of these philosophers and the issues they are concerned with.

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Critically assess the views of key analytic philosophers on a priori knowledge, the status of metaphysics, the role of language in philosophy, and the consequences this has for the status of metaphysics.
  • Articulate and defend their own positions on these issues.

Recommended Reading List

As advised/circulated by lecturer during the lecture series.

Assessment for PIU22014 History of Western Philosophy II B (10 ECTS)

Annual and Reassessment are the same:*

  • Coursework: 2 essays (one for each component) - 50%
  • Examination: 2 examination questions (one for each component) (2 hours total) - 50%

*If students are required to complete reassessment they are required to complete each failed component of the failed module

PIU22022: Philosophy of Science

  • Contact Hours: 22 hours of lectures and 4 hours of tutorials
  • Lecturer:Dr Alison Fernandes
  • ECTS: 5
  • Semester: 2

Module Outline

Science looks to be our best hope of discovering the way the world is. We use it to predict climate change, map the human genome and identify the Higgs boson. Science seems to give us an objective view on the world. How does it manage to do this? Does it succeed in its aims? How can we tell? This course will examine the workings of science through four core topics: how science explains, how we reason to science, what scientific theories tell us about the world, and what role values play in science. We’ll consider cases where science succeeds, as well as cases where it fails—an along the way get to grips with deep philosophical issues about our knowledge of the world.

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Explain major issues in philosophy of science concerning what science is, how it works, why should we believe it, and whether values have a place in science.
  • Critically evaluate major competing views in philosophy of science.
  • Express their own ideas about the place of science in developing an objective view of the world.

Recommended Reading List

As advised/circulated by lecturer during the lecture series.

Assessment for PIU22022 Philosophy of Science (5 ECTS)

Annual and Reassessment are the same:*

  • 1 ESSAY WORTH 50% OF MODULE
  • 1 (1 HOUR) EXAMINATION WORTH 50% OF MODULE

*If students are required to complete reassessment they are required to complete each failed component of the failed module

PIU22062: Texts II

Module Outline

Component 1: Margaret Cavendish Observations Upon Experimental Philosophy (Mr Peter West)

Margaret Lucas Cavendish (1623-1673) occupies a unique place in the history of early modern philosophy. Her views are different in important ways from other seventeenth-century philosophers and are not easily described as rationalist (like Descartes) or empiricist (like Locke). She was highly critical of many of the philosophers who had come before her and attempted to develop a novel account of the nature of reality – which she presents in her Observations (she also wrote one of the first sci-fi novels: The Blazing World). Cavendish is an early defender of reductive materialism and, in many ways, her views are closer to materialists in the 20th century than any of her contemporaries. She is also a panpsychist: she believes that everything that exists is, to some degree, conscious – a view that is gaining popularity amongst today’s philosophers of mind. This module will focus on her own account of reality, the arguments she puts forward against Descartes and other mechanistic philosophers, and how the Observations relates to her other philosophical works.

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Understand and reconstruct Cavendish’s views on knowledge, perception, and metaphysics.
  • Reconstruct Shepherd’s arguments against atomism and Cartesian dualism.
  • Understand Shepherd’s place in relation to early modern philosophy.
  • Engage in close reading of philosophical texts in their historical context.
  • Reconstruct valid philosophical arguments.
  • Critically analyse philosophical arguments found in historical texts.

Recommended Reading List

  • Cavendish’s Observations Upon Experimental Philosophy
  • Cavendish’s The Blazing World [not required]
  • Available on Google Play books (free) online.

Component 2: William James, Pragmatism (Professor Jim Levine)

The primary purpose of this course is to read carefully James’s Pragmatism—in particular, to identify, distinguish, and evaluate various claims he makes regarding how philosophy should be conducted, the nature of knowledge, meaning, and truth, and whether, and if so how, religion can be justified.

Learning Outcomes

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

  • distinguish various aspects of James’s pragmatism
  • critically evaluate James’s theory of truth
  • critically evaluate James’s pragmatic defense of religion

Recommended Reading List

The central text for this module is James’s Pragmatism. We will supplement this with some other essays by James and well as discussions of James by other philosophers, including Bertrand Russell and John Dewey.

Assessment for PIU22062 Texts II (10 ECTS)

Annual and Reassessment are the same:*

  • Coursework: 2 essays (one for each component) - 50%
  • Examination: 2 examination questions (one for each component) (2 hours total) - 50%

*If students are required to complete reassessment they are required to complete each failed component of the failed module