MA Public Opinion and Political Behaviour
Integrated Master in Philosophy: Philosophy options

Final Year, Component 03

Philosophy option(s)
AR959-7-SP
Heritage and Human Rights
(20 CREDITS)

This module will explore how conflicts over 'heritage' rights are, today more than ever, influencing critical debates over the definition of world, national, and local heritage, as well as universal, community, and individual rights. It will also examine the impact that tensions between communities and universal versus local values have on the management of heritage, and how these tensions might be resolved to allow sustainable growth. We will ask: What is heritage? Who defines it? Who should control its management and preservation? How is the notion of 'heritage' used to unite or otherwise divide communities? What are some of the consequences of the ways different groups appropriate and utilise heritage? Is there a universal right to free access, expression, and preservation of heritage, and if so, how is it expressed? What are the impacts of globalisation on heritage issues?

CS315-7-AU
Global Challenges in Interdisciplinary Perspective: Water Conflicts, Water Cultures
(20 CREDITS)

Access to water is one of the most urgent global challenges facing us today. Vital for health and well-being, as well as integral to indigenous cultures and industrial processes, water is a threatened commons and contested commodity. In this module, we will explore global and local case studies that highlight challenges of scarcity, contamination, privatization, and climate change, and the cultural importance of bodies of water for diverse communities. We will examine water-related problems, such as economic and urban development, grassroots activism, political conflict, community relations, heritage and public health.

PA941-7-AU
Reading Freud
(15 CREDITS)

Much of the clinical and theoretical work you will study in the MA derives from, reworks, or reacts to Freud’s writing. This module is designed to introduce you to Freud’s thinking, looking at a variety of his texts; some classics you may have encountered before, and some that are likely to be new to you. Topics will include the theory of dreams; infantile sexuality; Freud's first and second 'topography of psychical systems; narcissism and the internalisation of the object in mourning.

PA976-7-SP
Psychoanalysis: Controversies and Contexts
(15 CREDITS)

This module explores intellectual, cultural, social and interdisciplinary contexts of the development of psychoanalysis and its theoretical and clinical ideas. The aim is firstly to provide a better understanding of how certain concepts and issues arose in a particular historical and cultural climate, and secondly to foster a critical approach to the history and theory of psychoanalysis.

PY500-7-AU
Kant's Revolution in Philosophy
(20 CREDITS)

Kant's Critique of Pure Reason initiates a new 'critical' method in philosophy which has been highly influential in both continental and analytic philosophy. His critical method establishes a new way of thinking about the relation in which we stand to the world, and the role played by knowledge and judgement within that world.

PY911-7-AU
Environmental Philosophy
(20 CREDITS)

This module introduces students to key debates within environmental ethics, looking at the history of environmental ethics as well as at contemporary debates within animal ethics, environmental injustice and racism, environmental activism, the rights of future generations and apocalyptic ethics. Throughout the course, we will actively engage with recent news stories and developments in environmental science, finding and discussing the ethical dilemmas these give rise to. We will consider the strengths and weaknesses of applying traditional ethical frameworks like deontology, virtue ethics and utilitarianism to these problems, and look at more recent attempts at attributing value and agency to our non-human environment.

PY948-7-SP
Contemporary Critical Theory
(20 CREDITS)

What is ‘critical theory’? At one level, it is a tradition that can be traced back to ‘Frankfurt School’ thinkers such as Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer. But the term has also come to be used more broadly, to encompass independent traditions of thought such as (certain strands within) feminism, anti-racism, post-colonialism and queer theory. This course aims to give a ‘critical’ introduction to critical theory, paying attention both to some of its canonical thinkers as well as to wider currents of radical thought and politics.

PY949-7-SP
Phenomenology and Existentialism
(20 CREDITS)

This module focuses on works of the phenomenological movement, both as a historical tradition (Brentano, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Levinas, Lögstrup, etc.) and as an ongoing area of philosophical and multi-disciplinary research. The specific focus varies from year to year. In some years the focus may be a major text from the tradition (e.g., Being and Time, The Phenomenology of Perception; Being and Nothingness); in other instances the focus may be thematic (intentionality, temporality, alterity, death …), drawing on works from a variety of sources. In Academic Year 2022-23, the module will combine an advanced introduction to the phenomenological tradition (with particular focus on Husserl’s contributions in inaugurating the movement), followed by an intensive study of the phenomenology of time and space. We will undertake a close study of Husserl’s Phenomenology of Internal Time-Consciousness (a work which draws heavily on Brentano and was prepared for publication by Heidegger); we will examine Heidegger’s account of existential temporality and existential spatiality; and we will consider recent empirical work that uses phenomenological methods to shed light on pathological disturbances of temporal and spatial experience.

PY950-7-SP
Topics in Contemporary Philosophy
(20 CREDITS)

You undertake the in-depth study of a given topic in Contemporary Philosophy which allows you to benefit from the research-led, cutting-edge discussion of important themes and authors, taught by an expert in the field. The topic varies year-on-year. Examples include “The Politics of Language Use”, “Consciousness and Subjectivity”, 'Transcendence and Metaphysics', 'Medio-Passivity and Agency', 'Perception and Reflection', or Kant's Critique of Judgement., but you can expect to address a theme such as “the politics of language use”, “meaning in context”, “consciousness and subjectivity”, “self-knowledge” or “personal identity”.

PY951-7-AU
MA Writing Workshop
(0 CREDITS)

This module provides intensive training in postgraduate-level writing and research. The Workshop is primarily designed for MA philosophy students. First-year PhD students can request permission from the Course Instructor to attend classes. Please note that while this module delivers very effective training, it is also very demanding, both in time and effort. The module is non-credit bearing so that students have the freedom to experiment and learn from their mistakes without penalty: marks are for formative purposes only. For each of the first six weeks, students write a circa 1500 words essay based on a reading assignment and present their work in class. They are also required each week to read and provide peer feedback on the work of the students in their tutorial group. Students and instructor meet weekly to discuss both the philosophical issues and the micro-skills of writing. In addition, participants meet with their instructor every week for small group tutorial sessions to get peer-feedback on their submissions and discuss the instructor’s feedback. During the last three weeks there is no essay writing nor tutorials: participants work on grant application writing, in particular CHASE applications for those who want to be considered for a CHASE scholarship. If time allows, the instructor presents a piece of work in progress. Each year a different topic is chosen for the workshop.

PY952-7-AU
The Frankfurt School
(20 CREDITS)

Discover what is probably the most influential and significant tradition of critical social philosophy to have emerged within twentieth-century European philosophy: The Frankfurt School. The module takes either the form of concentrating on some of the leading figures (such as Adorno and Horkheimer, or Habermas, or Honneth), or focusing on specific themes such as alienation, reification, social pathology, progress, capitalism or social freedom. The exact focus will vary from year to year.

PY954-7-SP
Philosophy and Aesthetics
(20 CREDITS)

This module is dedicated to the theoretical reflection on aesthetic practices and objects and their history (from artworks to the aesthetic strategies of protest movements). We will also consider what is distinctive about relating aesthetically to one's life, social world, or art. The module examines why aesthetic practices and experiences play such a central role in continental thought from Kant and Hegel to Adorno and Rancière. This Autumn term, among the questions to be discussed will be the following: What is modern aesthetics? How to conceive of the relationship between art/aesthetics and politics? How can one tell apart progressive/emancipatory aesthetic-political strategies from regressive ones (such as Nazi and Stalinist aesthetics)? What are the aesthetic-political strategies deployed by political activists and how do they work? In what sense can aesthetic practices and experiences (and the theoretical reflection on them) be critical? Are aesthetic practices part and parcel of freedom? What is the role and place of aesthetics in democratic life?

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