PY111-4-FY-CO:
Introduction to Philosophy

The details
2019/20
Philosophy
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 4
Current
Thursday 03 October 2019
Friday 26 June 2020
30
10 July 2019

 

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

 

(none)

Key module for

LLB MV15 Law and Philosophy,
BA V500 Philosophy,
BA V501 Philosophy (Including Year Abroad),
BA V502 Philosophy (Including Foundation Year),
BA V502JS Philosophy (Including Foundation Year),
BA V503 Philosophy (including Placement Year),
BA V508 Philosophy (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA V508JS Philosophy (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA VV53 Philosophy and Art History,
BA VV54 Philosophy and Art History (Including Foundation Year),
BA VV54JS 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 VVHPJS 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 VV51JS 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 VV5XJS 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 MVC8JS 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 VM58JS 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 VQ52JS Philosophy and Literature (Including Foundation Year),
BA VQ58 Philosophy and Literature (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA VQ58JS 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 LV2HJS 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 LV8MJS 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 LV83JS 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 VL58JS Philosophy and Sociology (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA V5M8 Philosophy with Human Rights (Including Foundation Year),
BA V5M8JS 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 VLM8JS Philosophy with Human Rights (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA V590 Philosophy with Modern Languages (5 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA V590JS Philosophy with Modern Languages (5 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA V5R9 Philosophy with Modern Languages,
BA L0V0 Philosophy, Politics and Economics,
BA L0V1 Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Including Placement Year),
BA L0VA Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Including 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 VV58JS Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (Including Foundation Year),
BA VV59 Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA VV59JS Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
BA VV5P Philosophy, Religion and Ethics (Including Year Abroad),
LLB MV16 Law with Philosophy,
LLB MV18 Law with Philosophy (Including Year Abroad),
LLB MV19 Law with Philosophy (Including Placement Year),
BA P515 Journalism and Philosophy,
BA P516 Journalism and Philosophy (Including Placement Year),
BA P517 Journalism and Philosophy (Including Year Abroad)

Module description

Students taking this module will follow the topics described below. Each lecture will be followed by a one-hour discussion class, at which issues covered in the lecture will be discussed in smaller class groups. There will be two revision sessions in the summer term, one for each term.

Autumn Term (Lecturer: Irene McMullin)
In this part of the module, students will explore the nature of knowledge, agency and selfhood. What does it mean to say that we 'know' something? How do our modes of practical interaction with the world and each other shape our ability to know different kinds of object? What does it mean to say that we know ourselves? How should we address questions about selfhood and identity? Is there even a self at all? Students will read both classical and contemporary texts to think through these core philosophical questions.

Spring Term (Lecturer: Matt Burch)

This part of the module introduces students to virtue epistemology and the study of the so-called vices and virtues of the mind. Many aspects of today's media culture seem to undermine our ability to think clearly and to engage in a transparent, productive evaluation of evidence and exchange of reasons. We will study some of the vices of the mind – e.g., close-mindedness, dogmatism, and epistemic insouciance – that make us more vulnerable to forces that cloud our thinking and subvert rational discourse. And we will also discuss some important intellectual virtues – e.g., open-mindedness, intellectual humility, and intellectual perseverance – that can help us flourish as reasoners.

Module aims

By the end of the module students should be able to: explain some of the major approaches to theories of practical knowledge, personhood, virtue epistemology, and the vices and virtues of the mind; analyse critically the debates surrounding them.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students should be able to: articulate certain philosophical problems in the areas studied; expound and critically evaluate some responses to these problems; employ their powers of philosophical argument and analysis in written work.

Module information

There will be two revision sessions in the summer term.

Weeks 8 and 21 are Reading Weeks.

Learning and teaching methods

1 x one-hour lecture each week. Each lecture will be followed by a one-hour discussion class, at which issues covered in the lecture will be discussed in smaller class groups.

Bibliography*

  • J. David Velleman. (1999) 'A Right of Self-Termination?', in Ethics. vol. 109 (3) , pp.606-628
  • Peels, Rik; Blaauw, Martijn. (2016) The epistemic dimensions of ignorance, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Virginia Held. (2014) 'Feminist Ethics Are Different', in Classic philosophical questions, Harlow: Pearson., pp.177-187
  • Jennifer Lackey. (2011) 'Testimony: Acquiring Knowledge from Others', in Social epistemology: essential readings, Oxford: Oxford University Press., pp.71-92
  • DeRose, Keith; Warfield, Ted A. (1999) Skepticism: a contemporary reader, New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Alison Bailey. (2007) 'Strategic Ignorance', in Race and epistemologies of ignorance, Albany: State University of New York Press., pp.77-94
  • (2014) Ethics in practice: an anthology, Chichester: Wiley Blackwell. vol. 38
  • William H. Shaw. (2014) 'Consequentialism', in Ethics in practice: an anthology, Chichester: Wiley Blackwell. vol. 38, pp.43-49
  • C. A. J. Coady. (1973) 'Testimony and Observation', in American Philosophical Quarterly. vol. 10 (2) , pp.149-155
  • Mary Anne Warren. (2014) 'On the Moral and Legal Status of Abortion', in Ethics in practice: an anthology, Chichester: Wiley Blackwell. vol. Blackwell philosophy anthologies, pp.122-128
  • Rosalind Hursthouse. (2014) 'Virtue Theory and Abortion', in Ethics in practice: an anthology, Chichester: Wiley Blackwell. vol. Blackwell philosophy anthologies, pp.144-149
  • Judith Jarvis Thomson. (2014) 'A Defence of Abortion', in Ethics in practice: an anthology, Chichester: Wiley Blackwell. vol. Blackwell philosophy anthologies, pp.116-121
  • Louis P. Pojman. (2014) 'In Defense of the Death Penalty', in Ethics in practice: an anthology, Chichester: Wiley Blackwell. vol. Blackwell philosophy anthologies, pp.403-409
  • Duncan Pritchard. (2018) What is this thing called knowledge?, Abingdon: Routledge.
  • George Edward Moore. (2014) 'Proof of an External World', in Philosophical Papers, London: Routledge., pp.127-150
  • René Descartes. (2013) Meditations on first philosophy: with selections from the objections and replies: a Latin-English edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Hume, David; Norton, David Fate; Norton, Mary J. (2007) A treatise of human nature: a critical edition, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Henry Shue. (1978) 'Torture', in Philosophy & Public Affairs. vol. 7 (2) , pp.124-143
  • Klein, Peter D. (2011) 'Contemporary Responses to Agrippa's Trilemma', in The Oxford handbook of skepticism, New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Sosa, Ernest. (2008) Epistemology: an anthology, Malden, MA: Blackwell. vol. 11
  • (2014) Ethics in practice: an anthology, Chichester: Wiley Blackwell. vol. Blackwell philosophy anthologies
  • Jonathan Glover. (1977) 'Not Striving to Keep Alive', in Causing death and saving lives, Harmondsworth: Penguin. vol. Pelican books, pp.92-113
  • Rosalind Hursthouse. (2014) 'Virtue Theory', in Ethics in practice: an anthology, Chichester: Wiley Blackwell. vol. 38, pp.68-74
  • . Hume, D. (2000) 'Of Suicide', in Four dissertations : and, Essays on suicide and the immortality of the soul, South Bend, Ind: St. Augustine's Press.
  • Bernecker, Sven; Dretske, Fred I. (2000) Knowledge: readings in contemporary epistemology, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Robert Nozick. (1981) 'Knowledge and Skepticism', in Philosophical explanations, Oxford: Clarendon Press., pp.167-185
  • David Fate Norton. (2009) 'An Introduction to Hume's Thought', in The Cambridge companion to Hume, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. vol. Cambridge companions to philosophy, pp.1-39
  • Fricker, Miranda. (2007) Epistemic injustice: power and the ethics of knowing, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Jeffrey Reiman. (2014) 'Against the Death Penalty', in Ethics in practice: an anthology, Chichester: Wiley Blackwell. vol. Blackwell philosophy anthologies, pp.410-414
  • Catherine Wilson. (2003) Descartes's Meditations: an introduction, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. vol. Cambridge introductions to key philosophical texts
  • Dancy, Jonathan. (1988) Perceptual knowledge, Oxford: Oxford University Press. vol. Oxford readings in philosophy
  • Moore, G.E. (2008) 'Proof of an external world', in Epistemology: an anthology, Malden, MA: Blackwell. vol. 11
  • Annas, Julia; Barnes, Jonathan; Sextus. (2000) Outlines of scepticism, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. vol. Cambridge texts in the history of philosophy
  • David McNaughton; Piers Rawling. (2014) 'Deontology', in Ethics in practice: an anthology, Chichester: Wiley Blackwell. vol. 38, pp.50-59
  • Philippa Foot. (1977) 'Euthanasia', in Philosophy & Public Affairs. vol. 6 (2) , pp.85-112
  • Don Marquis. (2014) 'An Argument that Abortion is Wrong', in Ethics in practice: an anthology, Chichester: Wiley Blackwell. vol. 38, pp.129-136
  • Scruton, Roger. (2001) Kant: a very short introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press. vol. Very short introductions
  • David Sussman. (2005) 'What's Wrong with Torture?', in Philosophy & Public Affairs. vol. 33 (1) , pp.1-33
  • George Edward Moore. (1959) 'Proof of an External World', in Philosophical papers, London: Allen and Unwin. vol. The Muirhead libary of philosophy, pp.127-150

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 Autumn Term Essay One (1000 Words) 25%
Coursework Autumn Term Essay Two (1000 Words) 25%
Coursework Spring Term Essay (2000 Words) 50%
Exam 180 minutes during Summer (Main Period) (Main)
Overall assessment
Coursework:
50%
Exam:
50%
Reassessment
Coursework:
50%
Exam:
50%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Autumn Term: Irene McMullin. Spring Term: Matt Burch,
spahinfo@essex.ac.uk

 

Availability
Yes
Yes
No

External examiner

Dr Thomas Joseph Stern
University College London
Senior Lecturer
Resources
Available via Moodle
Of 157 hours, 112 (71.3%) hours available to students:
3 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
42 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).

 

Further information
Philosophy

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

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