IA121-3-FY-CO:
Philosophy: Fundamental Questions, Major Thinkers

The details
2020/21
Essex Pathways
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Foundation/Year Zero: Level 3
Current
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 02 July 2021
30
07 August 2020

 

Requisites for this module
(none)
(none)
(none)
(none)

 

(none)

Key module for

BA T710 American Studies (United States) (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA T7W8 American Studies (United States) with Film (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA V31B Art History (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA V350 Art History (Including Foundation Year),
BA VV38 Art History and History (Including Foundation Year),
BA VV3B Art History and History (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA V3RB Art History and Modern Languages (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA VR3B Art History with Modern Languages (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA W808 Creative Writing (Including Foundation Year),
BA MT28 Criminology and American Studies (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA W408 Drama (Including Foundation Year),
BA WQ28 Drama and Literature (Including Foundation Year),
BA T728 English and United States Literature (Including Foundation Year),
BA QX41 Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) (Including Foundation Year),
BA QQ16 English Language and Linguistics (Including Foundation Year),
BA QQ24 English Language and Literature (Including Foundation Year),
BA Q320 English Literature (Including Foundation Year),
BA R008 European Studies (Including Foundation Year),
BA R9T8 European Studies and Modern Languages (Including Foundation Year),
BA R9R8 European Studies with French (Including Foundation Year),
BA R9R6 European Studies with German (Including Foundation Year),
BA R9R7 European Studies with Italian (Including Foundation Year),
BA R9L8 European Studies with Politics (Including Foundation Year),
BA R9R9 European Studies with Spanish (Including Foundation Year),
BA PW88 Film and Creative Writing (Including Foundation Year),
BA W628 Film Studies (Including Foundation Year),
BA VW38 Film Studies and Art History (Including Foundation Year),
BA VW3B Film Studies and Art History (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA PQ38 Film Studies and Literature (Including Foundation Year),
BA RR20 French Studies and Modern Languages (5 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA RR90 German Studies and Modern Languages (5 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA V102 History (Including Foundation Year),
BA MV98 History and Criminology (Including Foundation Year),
BA LV18 History and Economics (Including Foundation Year),
BA QV2C History and Literature (Including Foundation Year),
BA LV38 History and Sociology (Including Foundation Year),
BA V1W8 History with Film Studies (Including Foundation Year),
BA V1L8 History with Human Rights (Including Foundation Year),
BA LR59 International Relations and Modern Languages (5 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA RR40 Italian Studies and Modern Languages (5 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA Q143 Language Studies (4 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA T7N3 Latin American Studies (Including Foundation Year),
BA T7N4 Latin American studies with Business Management (Including Foundation Year),
BA T7M8 Latin American studies with Human Rights (Including Foundation Year),
BA LQV0 Liberal Arts (Including Foundation Year),
BA Q900 Liberal Arts (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA Q102 Linguistics (Including Foundation Year),
BA QV2H Literature and Art History (Including Foundation Year),
BA QV3B Literature and Art History (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA LQ38 Literature and Sociology (Including Foundation Year),
BA V144 Modern History (Including Foundation Year),
BA VL18 Modern History and International Relations (Including Foundation Year),
BA LV28 Modern History and Politics (Including Foundation Year),
BA R999 Modern Languages (5 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA RQ99 Modern Languages and English Language (5 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA RQ98 Modern Languages and Linguistics (5 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA R8T8 Modern Languages and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (5 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA R8T9 Modern Languages with Latin American Studies (5 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA V502 Philosophy (Including Foundation Year),
BA V508 Philosophy (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA VV54 Philosophy and Art History (Including Foundation Year),
BA VVHP Philosophy and Art History (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA VV51 Philosophy and History (Including Foundation Year),
BA VV5X Philosophy and History (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA MVC8 Philosophy and Law (Including Foundation Year),
BA VM58 Philosophy and Law (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA VQ52 Philosophy and Literature (Including Foundation Year),
BA VQ58 Philosophy and Literature (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA LV2H Philosophy and Politics (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA LV8M Philosophy and Politics (Including Foundation Year),
BA LV83 Philosophy and Sociology (Including Foundation Year),
BA VL58 Philosophy and Sociology (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA V5M8 Philosophy with Human Rights (Including Foundation Year),
BA VLM8 Philosophy with Human Rights (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA V590 Philosophy with Modern Languages (5 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA L0V2 Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Including Foundation Year),
BA VV58 Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (Including Foundation Year),
BA VV59 Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
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BA Q218 English and Comparative Literature (Including Foundation Year),
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BA L913 Global Studies with Politics (Including Foundation Year),
BA L916 Global Studies with Human Rights (Including Foundation Year),
BA W353 Art History, Visual Culture and Media Studies (including Foundation Year),
BA L401 Social Change (including Foundation Year,
BA P403 Film and Drama (Including Foundation Year),
BA VV21 Philosophy with Business Management (Including Foundation Year),
BA R101 Art History and Language Studies (Including Foundation Year),
BA R103 Art History with Language Studies (Including Foundation Year),
BA R105 Global Studies and Language Studies (Including Foundation Year),
BA R109 European Studies and Language Studies (Including Foundation Year),
BA R107 Language Studies with Latin American Studies (Including Foundation Year),
BA R115 Language Studies and Linguistics (Including Foundation Year),
BA R117 Language Studies and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

This module provides students with an introduction to the major themes and thinkers in Western Philosophy. It is divided into three main sections.

The first provides a general introduction to the study of philosophy and explains what makes this subject so important and distinctive. It assumes no prior knowledge of the subject and it proceeds at a pace that is appropriate to students who are new to the subject. After the introduction, the module focuses on two main philosophical questions: what can we know and how should we live? The first of these questions refers to the possibility of knowledge. This area of philosophy is known as epistemology. The second question is about what it means to live a good life. This area of philosophy is known as ethics.

The section on epistemology begins with a study of the work of Plato and Aristotle. We then look at the major philosophical schools of thought in the Hellenistic world such as Cynicism and Stoicism. The module then proceeds to examine the work of Descartes, Hume and Kant. The following section on ethics engages with the work of Aristotle, Hume, Kant, Bentham, Mill and Nietzsche. The final section examines some contemporary examples of applied ethics. There are a broad range of topics that can be chosen such as Animal Rights, Embryo Research and Just War Theory.

Module aims

1. To provide an introduction to the main themes in ethics and epistemology

2. To enable students to critically evaluate arguments and positions in the fields of ethics, applied ethics and epistemology

3. To ensure that students understand the academic conventions of university life

4. To ensure that students are confident in the expression of their thoughts and ideas

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module a student will be expected to be able to:

1. Have a secure knowledge of the main ideas and arguments in epistemology and ethics

2. Understand and evaluate different epistemological and ethical positions and arguments

3. Write clear, well-structured and critical philosophical essays

4. Comprehend major themes within philosophical texts

5. Articulate and defend their philosophical positions in class discussions

6. Select and evaluate primary and secondary sources and complete accompanying bibliography

Module information

Syllabus

Topic 1: Introduction to Western Philosophy
Topic 2: Introduction to Epistemology: Rationalism and Empiricism
Topic 3: Plato and Aristotle
Topic 4: Stoicism, Scepticism, Cynicism and Epicureanism
Topic 5: The philosophy of Doubt: Descartes and Hume
Topic 6: Kant: A response to Hume.
Topic 7: Introduction to Ethics
Topic 8: Aristotle's 'Virtue Ethics'.
Topic 9: Hume's ethics: 'Sympathy and the Passions'.
Topic 10: Kant's ethics: 'The Categorical Imperative'.
Topic 11: Bentham and Mill: 'Happiness and the Good Life'.
Topic 12: Nietzsche: 'Slave Morality'.
Topic 13: Applied ethics: Any two of the following: Embryo Research, Just War Theory, Animal Rights, Prostitution, Just War Theory, Euthanasia, Capital Punishment, Abortion.

Assessment

Formative assessment:
Guided source and reading activity to be completed in week 3.
Reading summary in week 11


Summative assessment:
Coursework consists of the following assessments

Essay 1 (2,500 words – 35% weighting)
The aim is to submit an essay on a topic from the syllabus which will test the students' ability to research a topic, collect sources, synthesize and critically evaluate them. It will aim to find out how well students have grasped the main ideas and thinking in epistemology and ethics and how these could be applied to current problems

Group debates (15-20 minutes – 15% weighting)
The aim is to discuss, evaluate and quantify issues related to applied ethical topics and problems and to communicate in a professional manner in a debating forum (face-to-face or online). The assessment exposes students to important transferable skills such as team work, synthesising data, the importance of finding and using evidence and general debating skills.

Take home exam (50%)
Take home exam includes answering essay style questions which aim to test broad knowledge of basic epistemological and ethical concepts and theories.



Reassessment strategy

- Failed Coursework: Resubmit a piece of coursework (1,500 words) which will be marked as 100% of the new module mark. The reassessment task will enable the relevant learning outcomes to be met.


Learning and teaching methods

Teaching and learning on Essex Pathways modules offers students the ability to develop the foundation knowledge, skills, and competences to study at undergraduate level, through a curriculum that is purposely designed to provide an exceptional learning experience. All teaching, learning and assessment materials will be available to you via Moodle in a consistent and user-friendly manner.

This module is delivered using a 'blended' approach that involves a range of teaching methods. There will be four hours of directed teaching and learning per week over 22 weeks and each week's instruction will consist of a mixture of live 'synchronous' and recorded 'asynchronous' delivery. In addition, there will be an expectation that students undertake the guided set-reading and research necessary for their modules.

Asynchronous Delivery

The asynchronous aspects of the delivery are an evolution of the traditional University lecture and primarily focus on the sharing of academic theory and concepts to ensure students develop a sound knowledge and understanding of the discipline and cultivate an appreciation of relevant and current research in the subject area. This material will be made available to students via Moodle and will usually include essential and further reading, pre-recorded knowledge casts and some online, interactive activities that can be undertaken independently. Unlike traditional, timetabled lectures, the asynchronous aspects of the blended delivery provide students with the freedom and flexibility to learn at their own time, pace and convenience, each week. To ensure students can take advantage of this flexibility, materials will be released to the students in good time. In order for the students to benefit the most from the timetabled seminars, it is essential that students complete the necessary directed and guided learning before the event.

Synchronous Delivery

The synchronous elements of the teaching and learning will follow the structure of traditional university seminars. These may be delivered either face to face, on campus, or remotely via electronic means. The seminars provide students the opportunity to apply, and reflect upon what they have learned from the asynchronous delivery and guided study, and aim to bring the knowledge and understanding 'to life' by relating it to current issues and practice. In seminars students will develop skills of application, analysis and problem solving through a variety of activities including quizzes, problem scenarios and essay-style questions. Whether students are attending seminars remotely, or on campus, these will be scheduled at a weekly set-time, for the duration of the module and will appear in the timetable.

Bibliography*

  • Double, Richard. (1999) Beginning philosophy, New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Cottingham, John. (2008) Western philosophy: an anthology, Malden, MA: Blackwell. vol. Blackwell philosophy anthologies
  • Bryan Magee. (2016) The Story of Philosophy: DK.
  • Norman, Richard. (1998) The moral philosophers: an introduction to ethics, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   IA121 - Group Debates    20% 
Coursework   IA121 - Participation    10% 
Coursework   IA121 - Essay 1 - 1,200 Words    30% 
Coursework   IA121 - Essay 2 - 1,500 Words    40% 
Exam  180 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main) 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%

Reassessment

Coursework Exam
50% 50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Kalina Stamenova, email: knstam@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Kalina Stamenova
Becky Humphreys (becky.humphreys@essex.ac.uk or 01206 872217)

 

Availability
No
No
No

External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Resources
Available via Moodle
Of 713 hours, 220 (30.9%) hours available to students:
491 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
2 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).

 

Further information
Essex Pathways

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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