PHIL1120 Great Philosophical Thinkers

Reading List
  • Taught: Semester 1 View timetable
  • Credits: 20
  • Class Size: 300
  • Module Manager: Nick Jones
  • Email: n.o.jones@leeds.ac.uk
  • This Module is approved as a Discovery Module
  • This module replaces PHIL1040 PHIL1140 PHIL1060

Discovery module overview

Module Summary

Module Summary

This module provides students with an introduction to some important philosophical questions considered by some of the most influential figures in the History of Philosophy. Can we know anything for certain, and if so, how can we know it? What is the external world like in-and-of-itself, and how closely does it resemble the world-as-we-experience-it? Might it just be ‘all a dream’? Is it possible to prove the existence of God by rational argument? What is the essence of the self, and how do ‘I’ relate to my body? These are all important issues in Theoretical Philosophy. The initial focus of the module will be the answers given to these questions by approximately four or five philosophers drawn from the likes of Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume and Kant. The module will place these philosophers’ thought in historical context, and will provide students with a sense of the unfurling of the history of Western Philosophy. The module will also involve the close reading of some of the primary texts written by these philosophers, and, most importantly, will involve students personally engaging with the philosophical debates under consideration.

Objectives

On completion of this module, students should have a basic ability to:
• discuss philosophical issues with others of opposing views;
• construct an argument for a point of view, and express it in clear, concise prose;
• read philosophical texts critically and with attention to detail;
• explain and respond to central ideas in the work of the philosophers studied.

Syllabus

The module will study approximately four or five philosophers typically (but not necessarily) drawn from the following list: Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant. The precise philosophers studied will depend on the interests and expertise of the academic staff members teaching the module in a given year.
The module will study a range of philosophical issues typically (but not necessarily) drawn from the following list: Can we know anything for certain, and if so, how can we know it? What is the external world like in-and-of-itself, and how closely does it resemble the world-as-we-experience-it? Might it just be ‘all a dream’? Is it possible to prove the existence of God by rational argument? What is the essence of the self, and how do ‘I’ relate to my body? The precise issues studied will depend on the interests and expertise of the academic staff members teaching the module in a given year.
The module will place these philosophers and these issues in historical context, and in doing so will elucidate the unfurling of the history of Western philosophy.
As well as introducing the philosophers and the issues in question, students will get to personally engage with the issues under consideration, and will get to carry out a close study of portions of the primary texts written by these philosophers.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module, students will be able to:
• display an understanding of the views of the philosophers studied;
• demonstrate a sense of the historical context in which these views developed;
• construct an argument for a point of view, and express it in clear, concise prose;
• read philosophical texts critically and with attention to detail;
• explain and respond to central ideas in the work of the philosophers studied.

Assessment and teaching

Assessment and teaching

Coursework

Assesment type Notes % of formal assesment
Essay Essay 1 - 1500 words 40
Total percentages (Assessment Coursework) 40

Exams

Exam type Exam duration % of formal assessment
Unseen exam 2 hr 0 mins 60
Total Percentage (Assesment Exams) 60

Progress Monitoring

Via proctorial/tutorial participation and performance in essays.

Teaching methods

Delivery type Number Length hours Student hours
Proctorial 5 1 5
Lecture 18 1 18
Tutorial 8 1 8
Private Study Hours 169
Total Contact Hours 31
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits) 200

Reading List

Reading List
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