Contemporary Political Philosophy
Undergraduate: Level 6
Sunday 17 January 2021
Friday 26 March 2021
16 May 2020
Requisites for this module
BA MVC5 Philosophy and Law,
BA MVC6 Philosophy and Law (Including Placement Year),
BA MVC8 Philosophy and Law (Including Foundation Year),
BA VM51 Philosophy and Law (Including Year Abroad),
BA LV25 Philosophy and Politics,
BA LV26 Philosophy and Politics (Including Placement Year),
BA LV2H Philosophy and Politics (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA LV2M Philosophy and Politics (Including Year Abroad),
BA LV8M Philosophy and Politics (Including Foundation Year),
BA V5M8 Philosophy with Human Rights (Including Foundation Year),
BA V5M9 Philosophy with Human Rights,
BA V5MX Philosophy with Human Rights (Including Year Abroad),
BA V6M9 Philosophy with Human Rights (Including Placement Year),
LLB MV16 Law with Philosophy,
LLB MV18 Law with Philosophy (Including Year Abroad),
LLB MV19 Law with Philosophy (Including Placement Year)
We will investigate the main competing approaches in contemporary political philosophy and discuss how they conceive of their object – the political – and how they understand philosophy's task vis-à-vis this object: What is the role of political philosophy? How should theory and theorists relate to real politics? What are the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches? How do these approaches relate to each other? In this term, the focus will be on a reflective and critical analysis of the very nature of political philosophy. Far too often, the assumption in mainstream contemporary debates is that there is only one way to do political philosophy – the liberal, ideal theoretical approach shaped by the work of John Rawls – but, in fact, the mainstream approach is built on controversial methodological and political assumptions.
to learn about key approaches to contemporary political philosophy
to develop a better grasp of what politics is
to be able to critically examine the presuppositions and assumptions we often make when talking about politics
appreciate the different ways in which political philosophy bears on politics
By the end of the module students should be able in their written work:
* to summarise in their own words and critically assess the principal theories and philosophical perspectives examined in this course;
* to compare and evaluate conflicting accounts of the political, its values and principles;
* to offer detailed philosophical analysis and critique of journal articles published in the field;
* to demonstrate an understanding of the relation between political theory and practice by relating, for example, particular theories to their own experience of political life.
By the end of the module, students should also have acquired a set of transferable skills, and in particular be able to:
* define the task in which they are engaged and exclude what is irrelevant;
* seek and organise the most relevant discussions and sources of information;
* process a large volume of diverse and sometimes conflicting arguments;
* compare and evaluate different arguments and assess the limitations of their own position or procedure;
* write and present verbally a succinct and precise account of positions, arguments, and their presuppositions and implications;
* be sensitive to the positions of others and communicate their own views in ways that are accessible to them;
* think 'laterally' and creatively - see interesting connections and possibilities and present these clearly rather than as vague hunches;
* maintain intellectual flexibility and revise their own position if shown wrong;
* think critically and constructively.
Incoming Study Abroad students must have already taken two Philosophy modules at their home institution.
There will be a two-hour combined lecture and seminar each week and a separate one-hour class. All teaching events will be accessible to students on and off campus either face-to-face or remotely through online teaching. Week 21 is Reading Week.
This module does not appear to have any essential texts. To see non-essential items, please refer to the module's reading list.
Assessment items, weightings and deadlines
|Coursework / exam
||Essay (2500 words)
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Lorna Finlayson, email: email@example.com.
Dr Lorna Finlayson
No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 36 hours, 36 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).
* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.
Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can
be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements,
industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist
of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules.
The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.
The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.