Kant's Revolution in Philosophy

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 03 October 2019
Saturday 14 December 2019
02 September 2019


Requisites for this module



Key module for

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)

Module description

This module covers Kant`s epistemology as developed in his Critique of Pure Reason. This is a pivotal text in philosophy. Kant`s epistemological position was a response to the problems of both rationalism and empiricism, and resulted in a radical and lasting change to the shape of our philosophical map. An understanding of Kant`s position and of this text is foundational for any student of modern philosophy (in both the continental and the analytical traditions).
The module concentrates primarily on the Transcendental Aesthetic and the Transcendental Analytic. Particular attention will be given to the formal status of Kant`s epistemology and the assessment of whether this counts as a weakness or a strength.

Students will develop an understanding of the details of Kant`s position in the Critique; a critical grasp of the central arguments of Kant`s position; and an appreciation of the central significance that position has in the history of philosophy. This will be achieved through developing a close familiarity with the text and with relevant secondary literature.

Module aims

At the end of the module students should have:

1. a good understanding of the major arguments of Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, especially those concerning the nature of space and time, the status and function of the basic categories of our thought and experience, and the contradictions into which reasoning falls when it is divorced from experience;
2. a good understanding of Kant’s innovations in method, and in particular the procedure of ‘transcendental deduction’;
3. a good understanding of the thrust of Kant’s critique of traditional metaphysics.

Module learning outcomes

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; think critically and constructively.

Module information

Erasmus/IP students must have already taken two philosophy modules at their home institutions.

Learning and teaching methods

Weekly two hour-long lecture and a one hour seminar. Week 8 is a Reading Week.


  • Kant, Immanuel; Banham, Gary; Smith, Norman Kemp. (2007) Critique of pure reason, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Allison, Henry E. (c1983) Kant's transcendental idealism: an interpretation and defense, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
  • Fiona Hughes. (2006) 'Kant's Phenomenological Reduction?', in Études Phénoménologiques. vol. 22 (43/44) , pp.163-192

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 Presentation 20%
Coursework Research Paper (2500 words) 15/11/2019 40%
Coursework 2500 Word Essay 13/01/2020 40%

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Fiona Hughes



External examiner

Dr Thomas Joseph Stern
University College London
Senior Lecturer
Available via Moodle
Of 24 hours, 24 (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).


Further information

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