Skip to main content

Unit information: Introduction to Philosophy B in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Introduction to Philosophy B
Unit code PHIL10006
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Burch-Brown
Open unit status Open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department Department of Philosophy
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description

This unit provides students with an introduction to some of the central debates and issues in practical philosophy, in particular in moral philosophy and political philosophy. The main aims are to give students a basic understanding of the issues in question, as well as to help them acquire and sharpen the necessary critical skills in reading, writing and argument to engage with the debates, and develop their own views in dialogue with them. The unit will take the form of an introduction to the three main divisions in moral philosophy – metaethics, moral theory, and applied ethics – as well as some of the central concepts of political philosophy. These will be approached through the reading of a number of important articles and extracts, including extracts from some of the central texts in the history of moral and political philosophy. Study is primarily theme-based. At the end of the unit, students should have a clear grasp of the nature of the divisions contemporary ethics, their relationship to one another, and their philosophical grounding. They should also have an understanding of the way in which moral philosophers apply the principles and conclusions that are derived from moral theories to particular contemporary moral problems, in order to yield practical conclusions about what we should and shouldn’t do. Finally, they should have a clear understanding of the argument about political legitimacy outlined by the social contract tradition in political philosophy.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students will:

(1) have a thorough knowledge of the key historical texts covered.

(2) be familiar with some key secondary literature on these texts, and be able to engage critically with it.

(3) be able to engage critically with the authors’ positions and arguments.

(4) have a thorough knowledge of the key issues in moral and political philosophy covered.

(5) be familiar with some key contemporary literature on these issues, and be able to engage critically with it.

(6) be in a position to relate the philosophical issues discussed to the texts read.

Teaching details

22 one-hour lectures + 11 one-hour seminars.

Assessment Details

Formative: two 1,500-2,000 word essays from a list of questions designed to test intended learning outcomes (1)-(6).

Summative: one 3-hour unseen examination designed to test intended learning outcomes (1)-(6).

Reading and References

  • Alasdair MacIntyre A Short History of Ethics (London: Routledge 1967; 2nd Ed. 1998, 3rd ed. 2002)
  • Bernard Williams Morality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972)
  • D.D. Raphael Moral Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994)

Feedback