Philosophy BA

Philosophy

Key information

Duration:
3 years full time
Typical A-level offer:
AAB-ABB
UCAS code:
V500
Start date:
September 2018

By studying Philosophy at Sussex, you combine the traditional with the alternative. You explore a wide range of interesting and unexpected approaches to the basic questions of philosophy. From the University’s lively Philosophy Society to Brighton’s Philosophy Café, you'll be stimulated by culture and debate.

Our supportive and stimulating community encourages you to collaborate with other subjects. This means you can follow your own interests – so you gain a range of transferable skills to prepare you for your career.

My experience at Sussex has enriched my life in every single way.”Lauren Wade
Philosophy BA 

Entry requirements

A-level

Typical offer

AAB-ABB

GCSEs

You should also have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.

Other UK qualifications

Access to HE Diploma

Typical offer

Pass the Access to HE Diploma with 45 level 3 credits at Merit or above, including 24 at Distinction.

Subjects

The Access to HE Diploma should be in the humanities or social sciences.

International Baccalaureate

Typical offer

32 points overall from the full IB Diploma.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma)

Typical offer

DDD

GCSEs

You should also have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.

Scottish Highers

Typical offer

AABBB

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced

Typical offer

Grade B and AB in two A-levels.

GCSEs

You should also have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.

International baccalaureate

Typical offer

32 points overall from the full IB Diploma.

European baccalaureate

Typical offer

Overall result of at least 77%

Other international qualifications

Australia

Typical offer

Relevant state (Year 12) High School Certificate, and over 85% in the ATAR or UAI/TER/ENTER. Or a Queensland OP of 5 or below.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Austria

Typical offer

Reifeprüfung or Matura with an overall result of 2.2 or better for first-year entry. A result of 2.5 or better would be considered for Foundation Year entry.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Belgium

Typical offer

Certificat d'Enseignement Secondaire Supérieur (CESS) or Diploma van Hoger Secundair Onderwijs with a good overall average. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Bulgaria

Typical offer

Diploma za Sredno Obrazovanie with excellent final-year scores (normally 5.5 overall with 6 in key subjects).

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Canada

Typical offer

High School Graduation Diploma. Specific requirements vary between provinces.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

China

Typical offer

We usually do not accept Senior High School Graduation for direct entry to our undergraduate courses. However, we do consider applicants who have studied 1 or more years of Higher Education in China at a recognised degree awarding institution or who are following a recognised International Foundation Year.

If you are interested in applying for a business related course which requires an academic ability in Mathematics, you will normally also need a grade B in Mathematics from the Huikao or a score of 90 in Mathematics from the Gaokao.

Applicants who have the Senior High School Graduation may be eligible to apply to our International Foundation Year, which if you complete successfully you can progress on to a relevant undergraduate course at Sussex. You can find more information about the qualifications which are accepted by our International Study Centre at  http://isc.sussex.ac.uk/entry-requirements/international-foundation-year .

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Croatia

Typical offer

Maturatna Svjedodžba with an overall score of at least 4-5 depending on your degree choice.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Cyprus

Typical offer

Apolytirion of Lykeion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Czech Republic

Typical offer

Maturita with a good overall average.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Denmark

Typical offer

Højere Forberedelseseksamen (HF) or studentereksamen with an overall average of at least 7 on the new grading scale.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Finland

Typical offer

Finnish Ylioppilastutkinto with an overall average result in the final matriculation examinations of at least 6.0.

France

Typical offer

French Baccalauréat with an overall final result of at least 13/20.

Germany

Typical offer

German Abitur with an overall result of 2.0 or better.

Greece

Typical offer

Apolytirion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hong Kong

Typical offer

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) with grades of 5, 4, 4 from three subjects including two electives. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hungary

Typical offer

Erettsegi/Matura with a good average.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

India

Typical offer

Standard XII results from Central and Metro Boards with an overall average of 75-80%. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Iran

Typical offer

High School Diploma and Pre-University Certificate.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Ireland

Typical offer

Irish Leaving Certificate (Higher Level) at H1 H2 H2 H3 H3.

Israel

Typical offer

Bagrut, with at least 8/10 in at least six subjects, including one five-unit subject.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Italy

Typical offer

Italian Diploma di Maturità or Diploma Pass di Esame di Stato with a Final Diploma mark of at least 81/100.

Japan

Typical offer

Upper Secondary Leaving Certificate is suitable for entry to our Foundation Years. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Latvia

Typical offer

Atestats par Visparejo videjo Izglitibu with very good grades in state exams.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Lithuania

Typical offer

Brandos Atestatas including scores of 80-90% in at least three state examinations (other than English).

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Luxembourg

Typical offer

Diplôme de Fin d'Etudes Secondaires.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Malaysia

Typical offer

Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM). As well as various two or three-year college or polytechnic certificates and diplomas.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Netherlands

Typical offer

Voorereidend Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs (VWO), normally with an average of at least 7.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Nigeria

Typical offer

You are expected to have one of the following:

  • Higher National Diploma
  • One year at a recognised Nigerian University
  • Professional Diploma (Part IV) from the Institute of Medical Laboratory Technology of Nigeria
  • Advanced Diploma

You must also have a score of C6 or above in WAEC/SSC English.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Norway

Typical offer

Norwegian Vitnemal Fra Den Videregaende Skole- Pass with an overall average of at least 4.

Pakistan

Typical offer

Bachelor (Pass) degree in arts, commerce or science.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Poland

Typical offer

Matura with three extended-level written examinations, normally scored within the 7th stanine.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Portugal

Typical offer

Diploma de Ensino Secundario normally with an overall mark of at least 16/20. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Romania

Typical offer

Diploma de Bacalaureat with an overall average of 8.5-9.5 depending on your degree choice.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Singapore

Typical offer

A-levels, as well as certain certificates and diplomas.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovakia

Typical offer

Maturitna Skuska or Maturita with honours, normally including scores of 1 in at least three subjects.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovenia

Typical offer

Secondary School Leaving Diploma or Matura with at least 23 points overall.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

South Africa

Typical offer

National Senior Certificate with very good grades. 

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Spain

Typical offer

Spanish Título de Bachillerato (LOGSE) with an overall average result of at least 8.0

Sri Lanka

Typical offer

Sri Lankan A-levels.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Sweden

Typical offer

Fullstandigt Slutbetyg with good grades.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Switzerland

Typical offer

Federal Maturity Certificate.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Turkey

Typical offer

Devlet Lise Diplomasi or Lise Bitirme is normally only suitable for Foundation Years, but very strong applicants may be considered for first year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

USA

Typical offer

We look at your full profile taking into account everything you are studying. You must have your high school graduation diploma and we will be interested in your Grade 12 GPA. However, we will also want to see evidence of the external tests you have taken. Each application is looked at individually, but you should normally have one or two of the following:

  • APs (where we would expect at least three subject with 4/5 in each)
  • SAT Reasoning Tests (normally with a combined score of 1300) or ACT grades
  • and/or SAT Subject Tests (where generally we expect you to have scores of 600 or higher). 

We would normally require APs or SAT Subject Tests in areas relevant to your chosen degree course.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

My country is not listed

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

6.5 overall, including at least 6.0 in each component

IELTS scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test.

If you are applying for degree-level study we can consider your IELTS test from any test centre, but if you require a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for an English language or pre-sessional English course (not combined with a degree) the test must be taken at a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)-approved IELTS test centre.

Find out more about IELTS.

Other English language requirements

Proficiency tests

Cambridge Advanced Certificate in English (CAE)

For tests taken before January 2015: Grade B or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CAE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Advanced.

Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)

For tests taken before January 2015: grade C or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CPE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Proficiency.

Pearson (PTE Academic)

62 overall, including at least 56 in all four skills.

PTE (Academic) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Pearson (PTE Academic).

TOEFL (iBT)

88 overall, including at least 20 in Listening, 19 in Reading, 21 in Speaking, 23 in Writing.

TOEFL (iBT) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about TOEFL (iBT).

The TOEFL Institution Code for the University of Sussex is 9166.

English language qualifications

AS/A-level (GCE)

Grade C or above in English Language.

Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE)/ AS or A Level: grade C or above in Use of English

French Baccalaureat

A score of 12 or above in English.

GCE O-level

Grade C or above in English.

Brunei/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

Singapore/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

GCSE or IGCSE

Grade C or above in English as a First Language.

Grade B or above in English as a Second Language

German Abitur

A score of 12 or above in English.

Ghana Senior Secondary School Certificate

If awarded before 1993: grades 1-6 in English language.

If awarded between 1993 and 2005: grades A-D in English language.

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)

 Level 4, including at least 3 in each component in English Language.

Indian School Certificate (Standard XII)

The Indian School Certificate is accepted at the grades below when awarded by the following examination boards:

Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) – English Core only: 70%

Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) - English: 70% 

International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB)

English A or English B at grade 5 or above.

Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM) 119/GCE O-level

If taken before the end of 2008: grades 1-5 in English Language.

If taken from 2009 onwards: grade C or above in English Language.

The qualification must be jointly awarded by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES).

West African Senior School Certificate

Grades 1-6 in English language when awarded by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) or the National Examinations Council (NECO).

Country exceptions

Select to see the list of exempt English-speaking countries

If you are a national of one of the countries below, or if you have recently completed a qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelors degree or higher in one of these countries, you will normally meet our English requirements. Note that qualifications obtained by distance learning or awarded by studying outside these countries cannot be accepted for English language purposes.

You will normally be expected to have completed the qualification within two years before starting your course at Sussex. If the qualification was obtained earlier than this we would expect you to be able to demonstrate that you have maintained a good level of English, for example by living in an English-speaking country or working in an occupation that required you to use English regularly and to a high level.

Please note that this list is determined by the UK’s Home Office, not by the University of Sussex.

List of exempt countries

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada**
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Kingdom
  • USA

** Canada: you must be a national of Canada; other nationals not on this list who have a degree from a Canadian institution will not normally be exempt from needing to provide evidence of English.

Admissions information for applicants

Transfers into Year 2

Yes. Find out more about transferring into Year 2 of this course. We don’t accept transfers into the third or final year.

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

Why choose this course?

  • 94% for teaching satisfaction (National Student Survey 2016).
  • Ranked in the top 5 in the UK (The Guardian University Guide 2018).
  • Study both analytic philosophy and continental philosophy – an opportunity rare at other universities – and choose from innovative options such as Islamic and feminist philosophy.

Course information

How will I study?

You learn in lecturers and seminars, and benefit from one-to-one guidance and feedback from an academic adviser. In your first year, you:

  • are introduced to key arguments and ideas from the major philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries, and from 20th-century philosophers who have thought about how philosophy relates to science
  • learn how to think logically and critically, and assess philosophical arguments
  • have the opportunity to study areas such as existentialism, political philosophy, and truth and morality.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules

Options


Customise your course

At Sussex, you can choose to customise your course to build the sort of degree that will give you the knowledge, skills and experience that could take you in any direction you choose.

Explore subjects different to your course – electives and pathways allow you to complement your main subject. Find out what opportunities your course offers

Gain programming skills and apply them to areas such as digital media, business and interactive design. Find out about our Year in Computing

How will I study?

You explore the history of philosophy in greater detail and develop your debating skills. You study the German Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant, and are introduced to the central issues in his theoretical and practical philosophy.

You can also choose from a range of options, including aesthetics, feminist philosophy, ancient philosophy, phenomenology and philosophy of religion.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules

Options


Customise your course

At Sussex, you can choose to customise your course to build the sort of degree that will give you the knowledge, skills and experience that could take you in any direction you choose.

Explore subjects different to your course – electives and pathways allow you to complement your main subject. Find out what opportunities your course offers

Gain programming skills and apply them to areas such as digital media, business and interactive design. Find out about our Year in Computing

Study abroad (optional)

Apply to study abroad – you’ll develop an international perspective and gain an edge when it comes to your career. Find out where your course could take you.

Placement (optional)

A placement is a great way to network and gain practical skills. When you leave Sussex, you’ll benefit from having the experience employers are looking for. Find out more about placements and internships.

Please note

If you’re receiving – or applying for – USA federal Direct Loan funds, you can’t transfer to the version of this program with an optional study abroad period or optional placement. Find out more about American Student Loans and Federal Student Aid

How will I study?

You write two dissertations where you look at works by philosophers in analytic, continental and social and political philosophy, or in the philosophy of literature.

You can also choose from a range of topics including philosophy of language, ethics, Islamic philosophy and modern European philosophy.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Options

Philosophical questions go to the heart of who we are and how we relate to the world around us. If you have an appetite for the idea of trying to answer these fundamental questions, studying philosophy is for you.”Dr Corine Besson
Lecturer in Philosophy

Fees

Fees are not yet set for entry in the academic year 2018. Note that your fees, once they’re set, may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

The UK Government has confirmed that if you’re an EU student applying for entry in September 2018, you'll pay the same fee rate as UK students for the duration of your course, even if the UK leaves the EU before the end of your course. You'll also continue to have access to student loans and grants. Find out more on the UK Government website.

Find out about typical living costs for studying at Sussex

Scholarships

Details of our scholarships are not yet set for entry in the academic year 2018.

Careers

Graduate destinations

100% of our Philosophy BA graduates were in work or further study six months after graduating. Recent graduates have gone on to jobs such as:

  • assurance associate, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)
  • researcher, Bloomberg L.P.
  • editor, Stamp the Wax.

(HESA EPI, Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015)

Your future career

At Sussex, you’ll gain the skills to handle institutional and managerial complexity. You’ll be confident to take on professional responsibilities.

You’ll be prepared for jobs in fields such as journalism and writing, teaching, and management and marketing.

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work

Paradox and Argument

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

The aim of this module is to help you to become reflective about the way arguments work by looking at a number of paradoxes.  

Paradoxes puzzle and perplex us. If you're going to sort them out, you have to clearly lay out the arguments and assumptions that lie behind the puzzlement and perplexity. And doing that helps you to see how to analyse arguments more generally.

You'll see that most paradoxes have several solutions. Understanding the reasons in favour of different solutions will help you to see how arguments work, and how assumptions are often in play – ones that you may not have thought about before.

Science and Reason

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

Science has a special status in our understanding of the world. Several of the earlier philosophers of the modern era were active and innovative scientists in their own right, and the model of scientific understanding has shaped the way philosophy has been done right up to the present day.

Some have tried to develop a specifically scientific kind of philosophy; others have tried to separate the task of philosophy from that of science.

In this module, you pursue questions about the relation between science and philosophy, looking in detail at particular texts (which may be drawn from any period) for which these issues are important.

Early Modern Philosophy

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

You are introduced to assumptions, arguments and ideas from major philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries that ground the empiricist and rationalist traditions. These philosophers include Descartes, Locke, Leibniz, Berkeley, Hume, Spinoza.

You examine these assumptions, arguments and ideas in the context of contemporary discussions of the issues, in order to promote understanding both of the concerns which lie at the heart of much contemporary philosophy and of the history of those concerns.

Logic and Meaning

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

In this module you will be introduced to the basic ideas and methods of (modern) elementary formal logic. The emphasis will be on using logic as a tool to evaluate arguments. You will be introduced to logical concepts such as truth-functionality, logical form, subject/predicate, validity, and derivability. We will also consider related issues concerning meaning, such as the meaning of ordinary-language conditionals; the distinction between literal meaning and conversational implicatures, and the distinction between referring expressions and quantifiers.

Existentialism

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

The module critically engages with thinkers such as Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Sarte, de Beauvoir, Camus, Arendt and Murdoch.

You examine themes such as human freedom, the relation between faith and reason and the absurd. You trace the development of existential ideas in philosophical, religious, poetic and fictional works, asking why this movement in particular seems to have led to such a rich intermingling of philosophy and literature.

You conclude your studies by considering some of the political and ethical consequences of existentialism.

Truth and Morality: The Meaning of Life

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

In this module, you study the central issues of morality – examining both the kinds of considerations that might be appealed to in moral arguments, and the status of moral arguments themselves.

What should we bear in mind when deciding whether to eat meat, or whether to help someone, or whether to fight a war?

In what sense are the decisions we make right? How can a moral argument be a good argument? Are some people wiser than others? Is there any truth in moral relativism? You will tackle these and related issues from a range of theoretical positions.

Reading Philosophy

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

The aim of this module is to spend time reading a small number of philosophical texts very closely. Different tutors may choose different texts.

You are taught to develop the kind of attentiveness to detail which is important philosophically.

Society, State and Humanity

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

In this module, you look at the fundamental answers given by Western thinkers to the question 'what is society', exploring them in conjunction with answers to the questions 'what is the state?' and 'what is a human being?'.

There is a particular focus on the question of whether humans can be said to exist prior to society or only as constituted by it.

Conceptions of society, state and humanity studied may include those of Plato, Aristotle, St. Paul, Hobbes, Smith, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Durkheim, Freud, and feminist and postmodern critiques of these.

Please note: this module has some overlap in content with the second year module 'Modern Political Thought,' which is a core module for students studying joint honours Politics and Philosophy.

Kant

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

You are introduced to some of the central issues in Kant's theoretical and practical philosophy.

Topics covered include:

  • Kant's doctrine of the subjective nature of space and time; causation
  • the self and selfidentity; freedom and moral agency
  • duty and the moral law
  • the question as to the meaning and coherence of Kant's 'idealism.'

Ancient Philosophy

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

In this module we will look at some central themes in the works of Plato, concentrating especially on ethics and metaphysics. We will examine the attempts to define virtues in some supposedly early dialogues, and the central Socratic ethical claim that it is impossible to do wrong knowingly. These issues will be pursued into the central moral argument of the Republic. We will also look at the so-called 'theory of forms' as it appears in various dialogues, including (especially) the Republic and the criticisms of it which are made in the Parmenides. We will consider Plato's philosophy of art in connection with the theory of forms.

Feminist Philosophy

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

Feminist philosophy covers a range of issues.

At the applied end, it is concerned with issues of particular political relevance to women, such as discrimination and equality, and ethical issues surrounding reproduction.

At the more abstract end, it is concerned with whether Western philosophical approaches and conclusions are themselves a product of patriarchy. 

In this module, you explore such themes.

Philosophy of Mind

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module will examine the nature of the mind, employing the procedures of analytic philosophy. We will be concerned with the nature of thought and of mental representation, addressing such questions as the following. How are mental properties and physical properties related? Are beliefs and desires the causes of actions? Could we have thoughts even if there were no world? What grounds the authority we appear to have over claims about the contents of our own minds? How are we to understand the nature of consciousness ?

Aesthetics

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Aesthetics is concerned with two sorts of philosophical questions: questions about aesthetic experience and judgment, and questions about art.

They are connected, insofar as art is thought to be one of the primary sources of aesthetic experience.

However, not every question in aesthetics is about art; and not all questions about art are about aesthetic experience.

In this module you tackle questions raised by aesthetics in this wide sense, and will approach them from an "analytic" perspective.

Epistemology

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Epistemology is a central philosophical area and pertains to issues concerned with knowledge and how we acquire it.

In this module, you concentrate on current issues in contemporary epistemology, though your studies are also informed by certain important historical debates and figures.

You address questions that may include:

  • what is knowledge?
  • is certain knowledge a genuine possibility?
  • what makes a belief justified?
  • is there such a thing as epistemic virtue?
  • what are the special problems surrounding inductive knowledge?
  • does one have special privileged access to knowledge about one's own mind?
  • how might perception best be characterised?

Phenomenology

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Over 50 years ago, Merleau-Ponty began his great work The Phenomenology of Perception with the words: "what is phenomenology?" It may seem strange that this question has still to be asked half a century after the first works of Husserl appeared. The aim of this module is to continue to ask that question about the nature of what has become one of the most important philosophical movements in the last hundred years, and it does so by examining some of the key texts of the philosophers most influenced by, and most critical of, the founder of that movement, Edmund Husserl (1859-1938). These philosophers include Heidegger (1889-1976), Sartre (1905-1980), Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961), Levinas (1906-1995), and Derrida (1930-2004), and they cannot be properly understood unless their relationship to Husserl's philosophy is examined.

Overall, phenomenology attempts to focus on "how" things appear to us rather than simply asking "what" these things are. Themes to be discussed include the nature of perception, the role of the sciences, the impact of emotions, the body and intersubjectivity.

A reader with photocopies of the most important texts for this module can be purchased in the first session.

Philosophy of Religion

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

This module aims to encourage you to engage with different perspectives on the philosophy of religion, drawing on analytic and continental sources.

You start with a methodological discussion and an examination of different approaches to the question of how philosophy can contribute to religious knowledge and understanding.

You cover topics including the existence of God, providence and free will, and the morality of afterlife.

One question that arises out of this discussion concerns the appropriateness of treating 'God' as a peculiar kind of object. You consider this question in relation to phenomenological and existentialist approaches that focus on religious experience and also approaches that focus on the meaning of religious terms and the nature of belief.

You conclude by considering current debates about religion and science and the role of religion in everyday life.

 

Philosophy of Science

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

The philosophy of science explores, among other things: the nature of laws and scientific explanation; the distinctive character of science and of how science progresses; realism/anti-realism about the theoretical entities posited by scientific theories. This module will introduce you to these issues and the central arguments involved. You will also explore notions integral to science, such as time, natural kinds, counterfactual support and causation.

Ethics

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

You look at the central questions in normative ethics and meta-ethics.

These include:

  • what makes an action right
  • whether there are moral rules
  • whether there are moral facts, and if so, how they can be known
  • whether there are external moral reasons; and of the relation between moral truths and non-moral truths.

Positions to be examined include non-cognitivism, naturalism, non-naturalism, internalism and externalism.

Islamic Philosophy

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module aims to introduce you to the main themes, movements and thinkers of the Islamic Philosophical Tradition. There is an emphasis on trying to make it conversant with some themes from modern Western philosophy.

Topics to be addressed will include:

  • Islamic Metaphysics
  • the notion of Islamic Science
  • Ibn Sina's epistemology
  • Sufism and mysticism
  • Ibn Rushd's philosophy of language
  • the philosophy of Al-Kindi
  • Al-Ghazali on ethics.

Metaphysics

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Metaphysics is the study of the fundamental nature of reality.

In this module, you focus in particular on questions to do with realism and anti-realism.
(Realism here is understood to be the view that the nature of the world as it is in itself is altogether independent of anything to do with thought about it or representation of it - anti-realism is some form of reluctance to embrace realism.)

You trace the issue as it arises within empiricism, moving on to a modern approach to these concerns that arises out of ways of addressing the relation between language and the world.

Modern European Philosophy

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Inthis module, you investigate the work of some of the key European philosophers of the past two hundred years.

You study: Hegel, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Sartre, Heidegger, Levinas, Lukacs. Adorno, Arendt, Foucault, Derrida and Habermas.

You examine some of the most signifcant work done in two or more of the following traditions:

  • phenomenology
  • hermeneutics
  • deconstruction
  • critical theory
  • dismodule ethics
  • feminism.

Because of the wealth of thinkers and ideas in the area, the module can vary substantially from year to year; in each year, there will be one or more unifying themes, such as critique, art, truth, faith, law, or ethics.

Philosophy of Language

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

In this module, you focus on the nature of language in general and the meaning of particular kinds of expression.

You look at influential works of the analytic tradition by Frege, Russell, Quine, Grice, Kripke, Putnam and Davidson.

You consider the meaning of words, for example:  

  • whether we should distinguish between sense or cognitive significance and reference
  • how we manage to refer to things
  • how to make sense of claims about necessity and about what people think
  • how names and natural­kind terms work
  • how we might respond to scepticism about meaning.

Figures in Analytic Philosophy

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module will look in detail at the position and arguments of one or more major figures in analytic philosophy, such as Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Kripke or Lewis.

Figures in Post-Kantian Philosophy

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

In this module you will look in detail at the position and arguments of a major figure in post-Kantian philosophy, such as Hegel or Heidegger.

Figures in Social and Political Philosophy

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

In this module you will look in detail at the position and arguments of a major figure in social political philosophy, such as Rawls, Marx or Habermas.

Language, Truth and Literature

  • 30 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

Drawing on resources from analytical philosophy, continental philosophy and literary theory as well as engaging with particular fictional and poetic works, this module offers a critical investigation into some of the most important issues in the philosophical treatment of literature, narrative and fiction. You consider topics such as: metaphor and metaphorical meaning; the relation between fiction and truth; the logical status of fiction; and intentionality and interpretation. You explore questions such as: what does it tell us about language that something like literature is possible? Is there a type of understanding proper to the understanding of a poem? Why is philosophy troubled by fiction and fictionality?

Return to top of page