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Introduction to Postgraduate Courses

In any given year the Department of Philosophy offers a number of courses, although the precise content and range depend on student interest and uptake. The details are finalised in a meeting with graduate students held at the beginning of the academic year. Please note that many of the courses aim to build upon undergraduate work in the area and admittance to the course at the discretion of course convenor. Below are the potential course offerings for 2017, depending on staff and student preferences. Whilst provisional, they should give a good indication of what is on offer.

NOTE: Apart from PHI4004H Philosophical Texts and PHI4024F PPE Texts, all the courses below have the following requirements: oral presentations and participation in weekly seminars, and three essays of approximately 3000 words each.

 


 

PHI4004H / PHI5006W: PHILOSOPHICAL TEXTS
HEQF credits: 24
Course convenor: Dr D Chapman. 
Course outline: This course involves a guided reading of certain key philosophical texts over a period of year. Students are required to select two of the texts offered during the given year. The course is jointly offered by the members of the Philosophy Department and teaching takes the form of tutorials that structure and guide the student's own close reading of the texts. The emphasis is firmly on self-study and first-hand engagement with the set text itself.

The course will be assessed by two, 3,000-word essays on each of the set texts. Note that although the course continues over the year, it has the weighting of a one semester course.
 


PHI4010S / PHI5005S: FORMAL LOGIC (not offered if PHI5004S is offered)
HEQF credits: 24
Course convenor: Professor B. Weiss. 
Course outline: Introduction to formal symbolic logic. The course presupposes an understanding of sentential and predicate logic, as taught in the undergraduate programme. Topics may include: relational predicate logic; proofs of soundness and consistency of sentential and predicate logic; a sketch of Gödel’s incompleteness theorems; modal and intuitionistic logics.


PHI4012S: PHILOSOPHY OF PSYCHOLOGY (not offered in 2017)
HEQF credits: 24
Course convenor: Dr E. Galgut.
Course outline: Topics may vary from year to year, but will almost always include some discussion concerning the nature of folk psychological explanation.  Does folk psychology present the best theory of the mind?  Is another kind of theory even possible?  Topics to be examined may include:  personal identity; personhood; personal-sub-personal distinction; psychoanalysis and the theory of mind; the picture of the mind as rational; repression; self-deception; the dynamic unconscious.  If there is sufficient interest, the relation between art and the mind may be examined. 
 


PHI4022S / PHI5008S: MORAL PHILOSOPHY 
HEQF credits: 24
Course convenor: Prof D Benatar.
Course outline: This course will explore a connected set of topics in the area of moral philosophy. In some years the subject matter will be theoretical and will examine one or more ethical theories or general questions in moral philosophy. In other years, the course will have a more applied orientation and will be devoted to a range of practical moral problems in some or other area of applied ethics. 
 


PHI4015F / PHI5010F: CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHY OF THOUGHT
HEQF credits: 24
Course convenors: Dr D. Chapman and Dr G Hull.
Course outline: This course will explore a number of concerns lying at the intersection of issues in philosophy of language, epistemology and the philosophy of mind. Topics vary from year to year, and may include some of the following: the nature of concepts, the distinction between sentience and sapience, rule-following, the normativity of the mental and the relationship between perspectivity, objectivity and knowledge. 
 


PHI5004S: TRUTH (not offered if PHI5005S is offered)
HEQF credits: 24
Course convenor: Professor B. Weiss.
Course outline:  We take it that our thought and talk describes a world independent of our thought and talk. Thoughts and statements are true just when they ‘match’ the way things are in that thought- and talk-independent world. So it seems that truth encapsulates an important element of that conception of an objective world. How best can we make sense of this idea? Is it completely deceptive? Does truth really have a substantial nature or is it just a logical device, used as a way of endorsing statements? Is it right to think of truth as a relation to something non-mental, non-linguistic or is it just a relation between thoughts or linguistic items?


PHI4017S: AESTHETICS
HEQF credits: 24
Course convenor: Dr E. Galgut.
Course outline: This course will examine various issues in contemporary analytic aesthetics, which may include a sub-set of the following: expression, formalism, metaphor, the ontological status of art, narrative, the relationship between art and morality, the relationship between art and truth, the beautiful and the sublime, the pathetic fallacy, aesthetic emotions, emotional responses to works of fiction, the imagination, and art and psychoanalysis.
 


PHI5007F: PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE
HEQF credits: 24
Course convenor: Dr J. Ritchie.
Course outline: This course will explore some core issues in contemporary philosophy of science. Topics covered will include some of the following: contemporary theories of confirmation; the realism-anti-realism controversy; models, theories and representation in science; naturalised philosophy of science; reductionism, physicalism and the unity of the sciences; and issues in the philosophy of physics including the interpretation of quantum theory.
 


PHI4021F / PHI5009F: TOPICS IN RATIONAL DECISION MAKING (not offered in 2017)
HEQF credits: 24
Course convenor: Dr G. Fried.
Course outline: How should we make decisions? This problem confronts groups of people who must find a procedure that allows for dissent while still reaching some fair and definite choice. It also challenges agents who need to consider the motives and possible actions of their competitors. Various theories offer formal and informal accounts of rational choice in a range of contexts. We will consider and evaluate some of these theories, and apply them to cases of social, political, and individual decision-making.
 


PHI4023F: HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY
HEQF credits: 24
Course convenor: Dr G. Hull.
Course outline: This course critically examines a cluster of topics from the history of philosophy. Topics will vary from year to year. If the course focuses on the work of one philosopher (e.g. Plato, St. Augustine, Descartes, Spinoza, Kant, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Sartre), competing interpretations of several key writings by this figure will be studied as well as those writings themselves. The course might alternatively focus on a particular school of thought or tradition rather than just one past philosopher: e.g. Ancient Greek approaches to Teleology; Scholastic Metaphysics; Early Modern theories of Legitimacy and the State; the Idealism of Kant, Fichte, Schelling and Hegel; French Existentialist theories of Freedom; Critical Theory and the development of Western Marxism. In this case, as well as assessing the different arguments and views studied, the course will examine how philosophers from different times and places have (mis)interpreted and reacted to one another's work.
 


PHI4024F/S: PPE TEXTS
HEQF credits: 12
Course convenor: Dr G. Hull.
Course outline: This course involves a guided reading of a key text from the fields (often overlapping) of Politics, Philosophy and Economics. The course is jointly offered by the members of the Philosophy Department and teaching takes the form of tutorials that structure and guide the student's own close reading of the text. The emphasis is firmly on self-study and first-hand engagement with the set text itself.

 


PHI5003F: CONTEMPORARY METAPHYSICS (not offered in 2017)
HEQF credits: 24
Course convenor: Dr J. Ritchie.
Course outline: This course will explore a range of issues in contemporary metaphysics. Topics covered will include some of the following: the nature of space and time; problems of identity and substance; physicalism, consciousness and supervenience; and modality, laws and dispositions. The course will also include some reflection on the possibility and possible limits of obtaining substantial knowledge from armchair reflection.