BA Philosophy and History options
Year 2, Component 04
Recommend PY437-5-AU and/or Philosophy option(s) from list
Art and Ideas II: More Art, More Ideas - Critique and Historiography in the History of Art
How did our society decide what counts as ‘art’ and what is ‘culture’? Is there really such a thing as high vs low culture? What are the political stakes of these divisions? This module looks at the shift in ideas from ‘art history’ to visual and material cultural studies.
This module will engage with these debates and teach you new methods for seeing, interpreting and understanding art, design, craft, performance, film and games.
These new ways of seeing are often driven by a critical impetus, and allow us to look at culture to draw out new perspectives on social and political issues of activism and social change, sex, technology, memes, police violence, migration, austerity and crisis, state surveillance, and our relation to animals and the environment.
Social Entrepreneurs, Sustainability and Community Action
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.
The World in Question: The Social, Cultural, Political & Environmental Legacies of the Enlightenment
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.
What is the nature and limits of human knowledge? What role, if any, does God play in knowledge? Does our common-sense view of the world have a philosophical foundation? Does sensory experience provide the only path to knowledge of the world or can we gain knowledge through the exercise of pure 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.
his module introduces the work of the 19thcentury Danish thinker, Søren Kierkegaard, against the background of debates around ‘the crisis of modernity’. Topics covered include: melancholy, boredom, the limits of reason, subjectivity and truth.
This module explores the relations between philosophy and literature, and specifically the question of how literature might help us discover truth and live a flourishing life. Alongside the philosophical work of Plato, Iris Murdoch, Martha Nussbaum, Richard Rorty and Stanley Cavell, we will read the novel The Black Prince and Nineteen Eighty-Four, and the plays Antigone and Othello.
In this module, we’ll take up a close study of the so-called problem of evil. Roughly, the 'problem of evil' is the objection to belief in a supremely wise, powerful and good God on the grounds of the existence of evil in our world. For how can there be such a God, given the appalling evils we suffer, both natural and human?
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. This year, 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 a focused critical reading of Kant’s ethical theory. We will investigate Kant’s conception of morality, his attempt to derive morality from his conception of freedom, and his attempt to derive a system of property-based political rights from his conception of morality. Our texts will be Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals and portions of Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals.
What is the mind? In this module, we consider different ways of understanding the mind, mental states, mental processes, and mental abilities. We will begin with a survey of different positions that have been taken on the so-called mind-body problem, considering various forms of dualism, behaviourism, mind-body identity theory, functionalism, anomalous monism and eliminative materialism. We will consider accounts of the role of the mind in (a) judgment and (b) action. We will use philosophical resources to examine some classic disturbances of the mind such as hallucinations and delusions. We will consider the phenomenon of mind-reading (which is not confined to magic shows and carnivals!), and conclude with a consideration of the laws distinctive interest in the mental – whether in considering a person’s intent to commit a crime, the presence or absence of mental disorder, or what is known in law as mental capacity.
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?
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.
How and why are women oppressed? What is a “woman”, and should we even use the term? 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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