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Unit information: Realism and Normativity in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

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 Realism and Normativity
Unit code PHIL20046
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Alan Wilson
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department Department of Philosophy
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description

This unit is designed to cover a series of centrally important philosophical issues, positions, and strategies, which in one way or another will often be presupposed by all the other philosophy you study. The unit itself has two components, one concerned with metaphysics and logic, the other with value theory. The material covered in the normativity component will provide a good source of examples and case-studies for some of the issues considered in the proceeding realism component.

Realism: This part of the unit will cover a variety of key topics and issues within metaphysics and logic. In particular, we will consider the distinction between realism and anti-realism, the various forms which anti-realism may take, and the form of arguments standardly given, both for and against, adopting anti-realism with respect to a given subject matter.

Normativity: This component of the unit will provide an introduction to metaethics informed by the material concerning realism/anti-realism covered in the first component. In particular, we shall be concerned with the key metaethical questions of the nature and status of moral claims and the relation between motivation and moral judgements.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit students will be able to:

(1) demonstrate detailed knowledge and in-depth understanding of the realism/anti-realism debate, including the variety of forms which anti-realism may take and the form of arguments standardly given for and against adopting the different forms of anti-realist positions,

(2) demonstrate detailed knowledge and in-depth understanding of the key questions in metaethics including the nature and status of moral claims and the relation between motivation and moral judgements,

(3) demonstrate detailed knowledge and in-depth understanding of how the realism/anti-realism debate is connected to the key questions in metaethics,

(4) demonstrate the ability to apply the theoretical approaches and tools introduced and developed in the unit to novel philosophical problems and issues,

(5) demonstrate skills in philosophical writing, analysis, and argument, appropriate to level I/5.

Teaching details

Two Lectures and one Seminar each week.

Assessment Details

FORMATIVE:

2 x 1,500 word essays [ILOs (1)-(3)+(5)]

SUMMATIVE:

2-hour unseen exam (100%) [ILOs (1)-(5)]

Reading and References

Brock, S., and E. Mares (2007) Realism and Anti-Realism. Durham, Acumen.

Papineau, D., (1993) Philosophical Naturalism. Oxford, Blackwell.

Smith, M. (2005) The Moral Problem. Oxford, Blackwell.

Millgram, E. (2001) Varieties of Practical Reasoning. Cambridge, MIT Press.

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