Philosophy Capstone Module

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Monday 20 April 2020
Friday 26 June 2020
02 September 2019


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),
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 V590 Philosophy with Modern Languages (5 Years Including Foundation Year),
BA V5R9 Philosophy with Modern Languages,
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)

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 2020 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. Students will be split into two groups (A and B), 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 the Existentialist injunction to 'become who you are' and the obstacles to acting on this injunction. Students will examine classic and secondary texts on what such a project of self-becoming will entail and what a successful manifestation of it would look like. We will examine in particular the different ways in which criteria unique to the individual and criteria characteristic of human existence as such – especially in dialogue with contemporary virtue-ethical contributions to this discussion - must govern this project.

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:

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;

deepened their knowledge in the area relevant to the topic they have selected;

developed transferable skills such as the ability to pitch a project, time management skills, and communication and presentation skills.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

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 - 3*2h of seminars in two different groups. - 5h of guided learning. Week 31 - 3*2h of seminars in two different groups. - 5h of guided learning. Week 32 - 3*2h of seminars in two different groups. - 2h seminar in the whole group. - 5h of guided learning. Week 33 - 3*2h of seminars in two different groups. - 2h seminar in the whole group. - 5h of guided learning. Week 34 - 2*3h workshops.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework In-class Reading Quizzes TOTAL (5 best out of 6) 20%
Coursework Essay Plan (800 words) 08/05/2020 20%
Coursework Peer Review (300 words) 14/05/2020 10%
Coursework Final Project Report (3000 words) 22/05/2020 50%

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Fabian Freyenhagen, Dr Irene McMullin



External examiner

Dr Thomas Joseph Stern
University College London
Senior Lecturer
Available via Moodle
Of 83 hours, 77 (92.8%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
6 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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