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Unit information: Texts in Modern European Philosophy 1 in 2018/19

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Unit name Texts in Modern European Philosophy 1
Unit code PHIL20050
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Seiriol Morgan
Open unit status Not open

PHIL10005: Introduction to Philosophy A, PHIL 10006: Introduction to Philosophy B



School/department Department of Philosophy
Faculty Faculty of Arts


Students taking this unit study one or more of the key landmark texts in the development of modern European philosophy, which made a major contribution to the development of philosophy during that period. The text may be a single key text, or where appropriate more than one text by the same philosopher or more than one text by different philosophers, when a clear and philosophically important relationship between them can be demonstrated. The particular text or texts focused on may vary from year to year, but in each case will raise issues of enduring and general philosophical interest and importance.

The unit aims to give students a good understanding of one or more of the key landmark texts published by European philosophers of the C19 and C20, writing in the wake of Kant’s ‘Copernican revolution’ in Philosophy. The texts and the issues that they raise will be of enduring philosophical interest and significance. The positions and arguments advanced within the text or texts will be considered and assessed, and their continuing importance brought out.

Examples of possible texts that might be studied:- Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Representation, Hegel’s The Philosophy of Right, Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Idols, Foucault’s Discipline and Punish and The History of Sexuality

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will: 1) Have a good understanding of one or more central texts of modern European philosophy, and why the ideas it expresses are philosophically important 2) Be able to engage critically with the positions and arguments outlined in the text or texts, and offer their own assessment of them. 3) Have further developed skills in reading philosophy, constructing and evaluating arguments, and writing philosophy, building on the skills acquired in units at level C.

Teaching details

12 x 1-hr lectures; 11 x 1-hr tutorials

Assessment Details

Summative: Three hour unseen examination

Formative: 2x 2000 word essays + 15 mins essay tutorial per essay

These assessment methods contribute to the achievement of all the intended learning outcomes, in that 1) knowledge and grasp of the breadth of the issues raised by the text(s) is required and developed by successful exam preparation, 2) all of the writing assignments (i.e. both formative essays and written answers to exam questions) require argumentative engagement with the material, and 3) the formative essays in particular help develop writing skills, both through practice and in dialogue with the tutor who marked them in essay tutorials

Reading and References

Literature will vary as the texts vary, but as an example, if the text were Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Representation, the following would be suitable:- Arthur Schopenhauer The World as Will and Representation Julian Young Schopenhauer Dale Jacquette The Philosophy of Schopenhauer Robert Wicks Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Representation Chris Janaway Self and World in Schopenhauer’s Philosophy