PY413-6-SP-CO:
Contemporary Political Philosophy

The details
2024/25
Philosophical, Historical, and Interdisciplinary Studies (School of)
Colchester Campus
Spring
Undergraduate: Level 6
Current
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
15
18 March 2024

 

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

 

(none)

Key module for

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 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),
BA VLM8 Philosophy with Human Rights (Including Foundation Year and Year Abroad),
LLB MV06 Law with Philosophy (Including Foundation Year),
LLB MV16 Law with Philosophy,
LLB MV18 Law with Philosophy (Including Year Abroad),
LLB MV19 Law with Philosophy (Including Placement Year)

Module description

This module examines some of the central issues in contemporary political philosophy. What is political philosophy, and how do we argue philosophically about politics? We will study some of the foundational concepts of political philosophy, such justice, equality and freedom and apply them to discussions in contemporary politics.


The topic will be equality of opportunity. We will study some of the conceptions of equality of opportunity that are prevalent in contemporary political philosophy, examine their normative underpinnings in different theories of justice, and ask whether equality of opportunity can ever be fully realised. We will also look at some concepts that are closely related to equality of opportunity, such as social competition, meritocracy, and parental rights.

Module aims

The aims of this module are to:



  • Learn about some of the key concepts of contemporary political philosophy.

  • Develop a better grasp of at least one current debate in political philosophy.

  • Critically examine the presuppositions and assumptions we often make when talking about politics.

  • Appreciate the different ways in which political philosophy bears on politics.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students will be expected to be able to:



  1. Summarise in their own words, and critically assess, the principal theories and philosophical perspectives examined in this course.

  2. Compare and evaluate conflicting accounts of basic concepts of political philosophy.

  3. Offer detailed philosophical analysis and critique of journal articles published in the field.

  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the relation between political theory and practice by relating, for example, particular theories to their own experience of political life.


Skills for your Professional Life (Transferable Skills)


By the end of the module, students should also have acquired a set of transferable skills, and in particular, be able to:



  1. Define the task in which they are engaged and exclude what is irrelevant.

  2. Seek and organise the most relevant discussions and sources of information.

  3. Process a large volume of diverse and sometimes conflicting arguments.

  4. Compare and evaluate different arguments and assess the limitations of their own position or procedure.

  5. Write and present verbally a succinct and precise account of positions, arguments, and their presuppositions and implications.

  6. Be sensitive to the positions of others and communicate their own views in ways that are accessible to them.

  7. Think 'laterally' and creatively - see interesting connections and possibilities and present these clearly rather than as vague hunches.

  8. Maintain intellectual flexibility and revise their own position if shown wrong.

  9. Think critically and constructively.

Module information

Incoming Study Abroad students must have already taken two Philosophy modules at their home institution.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be delivered via:

  • One 2-hour combined lecture and seminar per week.
  • One 1-hour class per week.

There will also be Reading Week when no teaching will take place, exact week to be confirmed

Bibliography*

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 Coursework weighting
Coursework   Essay (2500 words)     75% 
Coursework   Essay Plan     25% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%

Reassessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Timo Juetten, email: tjuetten@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Joerg Schaub
PHAIS General Office - 6.130; pyugadmin@essex.ac.uk.

 

Availability
Yes
Yes
Yes

External examiner

Dr Josiah Saunders
Durham University
Associate Professor
Resources
Available via Moodle
Of 5 hours, 5 (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), module, or event type.

 


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

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