MA Public Opinion and Political Behaviour
BA Philosophy and Law options

Year 2, Component 06

Recommend PY437-5-SP or Philosophy option
CS200-5-AU
Social Entrepreneurs, Sustainability and Community Action
(15 CREDITS)

Did you know that the not-for-profit sector is expanding fast in the UK, and offers meaningful jobs that can contribute to positive social change and ecological sustainability? This module introduces you to this sector and the concept and practice of social entrepreneurship using case studies of initiatives that have helped local communities, disadvantaged people and the environment. It also gives you the opportunity to develop your skills and use your creativity and imagination to design your own project or enterprise.

CS201-5-FY
The World in Question: The Social, Cultural, Political & Environmental Legacies of the Enlightenment
(30 CREDITS)

How have contemporary societies been shaped by the legacies of the Enlightenment, colonialism, and the different phases of capitalism? This interdisciplinary module helps you to critically understand some of the key forces and processes that have shaped the challenges we face in the 20th and 21st century. It is divided into three broad themes; Empire, The Self, and Nature. We’ll be examining processes of ‘othering’ that were intrinsic to colonialism; changing conceptions of the self; as well as both the causes of and potential solutions to the ecological crisis we are confronting today. The module is co-taught by academics from Art History, ISC, LiFTs, Philosophy, Psychoanalytic Studies and Sociology.

PY400-5-SP
Knowledge and Reality
(15 CREDITS)

What is the nature and limit of human knowledge? What are the relations between faith and reason? What is the relation between the body and the mind? Study the philosophical texts of the modern era that helped lay the conceptual foundations for these questions and others. We will begin with a close reading of Descartes' Meditations before exploring both rationalist (Spinoza and Leibniz) and empiricist (Locke and Hume) responses.

PY404-5-AU
Narrativity, Truth and Flourishing
(15 CREDITS)

This module examines what it means to be a self, focusing on the fundamental role that some philosophers think narratives have to play in this. Topics covered include: subjectivity, self-control, self-expression and the relational self.

PY407-5-SP
Philosophy and Religion
(15 CREDITS)

Have you ever tried to discredit a belief by pointing out its backstory? “You only believe that because you grew up in X!” or “You only believe that because you have traits X, Y, or Z!” Philosophers call this a Genealogical Debunking Argument (GDA), because it aims to undermine some belief by describing its origin. GDAs exert significant influence in the philosophy of religion. Historically, figures like Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud wielded these arguments to great effect; and today one regularly encounters naturalistic GDAs, e.g., “You only believe in God because have a ‘god-shaped hole’ in your brain!” But are these arguments any good? That’s the question we will explore in this module.

PY408-5-SP
Ethics
(15 CREDITS)

This is a module in ethical theory rather than applied ethics - that is, it takes up theoretical questions about the status and justification of morality rather than addressing directly practical moral problems. The exact focus will vary from year-to-year. In 2021, we will investigate one of the most influential modern theories of ethics, Kant’s moral philosophy. While students might have had a chance to study some aspects of Kant’s view before, this term will be devoted to really wrestle with its details and consider the most important criticisms lodged against it. We will look at the philosophy of action and view of freedom that underpins the Kant’s ethical outlook; at how he conceives of moral requirements; and at his strategies of justification as well as at the key objections to the Kantian ethical project from different critics. The main text will be the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals [1785], but other texts by Kant will also be discussed. We will also use his work as a springboard to discuss wider issues in ethics, like moral luck and feminist ethics of care

PY429-5-AU
Capitalism and its Critics
(15 CREDITS)

Since the financial crisis of 2008, the social consequences, moral status, and even long-term viability of capitalism have come under renewed scrutiny. Does it foster economic growth and protect individual freedom, as its proponents claim? Or is it a destructive system out of control, as its detractors argue? Should the market be given even freer rein? Or should capitalism be reformed and restricted? Or should it be abolished and replaced altogether? And, if so, what would replace it?

PY430-5-AU
Topics in Analytic Philosophy
(15 CREDITS)

“Analytic Philosophy” is a (sometimes controversial) term commonly used to describe the dominant philosophical tradition in the English-speaking world from the early 20th century to present day. We will explore prominent themes and authors within this tradition. The focus will vary year-on-year; examples include topics from analytic philosophy of mind and metaphysics (the mind-body problem; personal identity; consciousness and “qualia”…) and topics from analytic philosophy of language (what is meaning? How do names and descriptions refer to objects? Does context make a difference to the meaning of what we say, and does what we say shape the context in return?...)

PY431-5-AU
Ancient Philosophy
(15 CREDITS)

Discover Ancient Greek philosophy and read some of the most influential works in the history of Western Philosophy. In this module we focus on Plato and Aristotle, exploring how ethics, political philosophy, epistemology, metaphysics and psychology are all intertwined. The course begins with an overview of philosophy before Socrates and ends with a short exploration of the philosophical schools that flourished in the Roman empire.

PY437-5-SP
Modern Social and Political Thought
(15 CREDITS)

How and why are women oppressed? How might oppression be resisted or overcome? This module will look at some of the main strands in modern feminist theory, and explore the different ways in which they understand the nature, role and objectives of feminism. Along the way, we will discuss the intersection between gender and other axes of oppression, such as race and class.

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