Philosophy Capstone Module

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Monday 25 April 2022
Friday 01 July 2022
29 September 2021


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA V500 Philosophy,
BA V501 Philosophy (Including Year Abroad),
BA V502 Philosophy (Including Foundation Year),
BA V503 Philosophy (including Placement Year),
BA V508 Philosophy (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
MPHIV599 Philosophy,
MPHIVA98 Philosophy (Including Placement Year),
MPHIVA99 Philosophy (Including Year Abroad),
BA VV53 Philosophy and Art History,
BA VV54 Philosophy and Art History (Including Foundation Year),
BA VV55 Philosophy and Art History (Including Placement Year),
BA VV5H Philosophy and Art History (Including Year Abroad),
BA VVHP Philosophy and Art History (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA VV15 Philosophy and History,
BA VV16 Philosophy and History (Including Placement Year),
BA VV51 Philosophy and History (Including Foundation Year),
BA VV5C Philosophy and History (Including Year Abroad),
BA VV5X Philosophy and History (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
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 VM58 Philosophy and Law (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA QV25 Philosophy and Literature,
BA QV26 Philosophy and Literature (Including Placement Year),
BA VQ52 Philosophy and Literature (Including Foundation Year),
BA VQ58 Philosophy and Literature (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA VQ5F Philosophy and Literature (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 LV35 Philosophy and Sociology,
BA LV36 Philosophy and Sociology (Including Placement Year),
BA LV83 Philosophy and Sociology (Including Foundation Year),
BA VL53 Philosophy and Sociology (Including Year Abroad),
BA VL58 Philosophy and Sociology (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
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),
BA VLM8 Philosophy with Human Rights (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA VV56 Philosophy, Religion and Ethics,
BA VV57 Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (Including Placement Year),
BA VV58 Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (Including Foundation Year),
BA VV59 Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA VV5P Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (Including Year Abroad),
BA VV20 Philosophy with Business Management,
BA VV21 Philosophy with Business Management (Including Foundation Year),
BA VV22 Philosophy with Business Management (Including Placement Year),
BA VV23 Philosophy with Business Management (Including Year Abroad)

Module description

This is an intensive final-year module running over five weeks during the summer term. It is the default capstone project for all Philosophy students and involves a guided and structured approach to support students in completing a research project of their own. It will be co-taught on a particular theme that will vary from year to year.

The theme for Summer Term 2022 will be Challenges to Human Flourishing. Students will be introduced to two major research traditions in Philosophy that bear on this theme: (1) Critical Theory and (2) Phenomenology and Existentialism. They will be split into two groups, which will be taught about these two respective traditions in alternating weeks.
For Critical Theory, the focus will be on the Frankfurt School and its account of the obstacles we face to human flourishing due to living in a particular kind of society – "late capitalism". The starting point will be Horkheimer's seminal text 'Traditional and Critical Theory' and students will then investigate and apply some of this research tradition's key concepts (such as the notion of social pathology) and methodologies (such as normative reconstruction or disclosing critique).
For Phenomenology and Existentialism, the focus will be on how classic existential phenomenological texts by Heidegger, Levinas, Husserl, and Beauvoir can contribute to expanding our understanding of what flourishing is. We will consider in particular the different normative criteria offered by diverse practical perspectives on the relationship between self and world: the first person, second-person, and third-person practical stances through which we assess questions of better and worse. We will put this tripartite view of agency in dialogue with contemporary virtue-ethical contributions to debates about the good life, and examine tendencies that complicate our ability to flourish. We will conclude by analysing a particular virtue as an example of how to cope with such challenges to flourishing.

Module aims

The aim of the module is to provide students with a guided and structured approach to support them in completing a research project of their own.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students will have:

1. developed relevant research skills, such as independence of thought, the capacity to organise and structure a project report, the ability to explore the secondary literature on a particular topic in a more autonomous way, and to develop their own ideas and arguments in pursuing a self-defined project;
2. deepened their knowledge in the area relevant to the topic they have selected;
3. developed transferable skills such as time management and communication skills.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

This is an intensively taught module held over the first five weeks of the summer term. The teaching and guided learning hours will be as follows: Week 30 3x2h of seminars in two different groups. 5h of guided learning. Week 31 3x2h of seminars in two different groups. 5h of guided learning. Week 32 3x2h of seminars in two different groups. 2h seminar in the whole group. 5h of guided learning. Week 33 3x2h of seminars in two different groups. 2h seminar in the whole group. 5h of guided learning. Week 34 2x3h workshops.


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 Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Reading quizzes TOTAL (4 counted of 6)     20% 
Coursework   Plan for Research Project (700 words)  17/05/2022  20% 
Coursework   Peer review of research project plan (300 words)   20/05/2022  10% 
Coursework   Final Research Project Report (2500 words)  27/05/2022  50% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Matthew Burch, email:
Prof Fabian Freyenhagen, email:



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 228 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
228 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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