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BA Modules

UCL Philosophy Department undergraduate modules running 2019/20

Below is a list of modules running in the 2019/20 academic year. Click on the title to see more information including a brief module description, sample / provisional syllabus and suggested readings. Module leader email addresses can be found via the staff pages

First Year Modules (Level 4)

PHIL0001 Introduction to Ancient Philosophy

Module Leader: Merrick Anderson

Level: 4

Term: 1

Area: C

Assessment: Essay 1 (200 words = 10%)

Essay 2 (300 words = 10%)

Essay 3 (2000 words = 80%)

Day / Time: Lecture Tuesday 3-4pm then various seminars

This course introduces students to some of the central areas of philosophical enquiry in the Western philosophical tradition by way of reading classical Greek philosophy. The course will focus on Plato and then Aristotle, reading works in ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, psychology and political theory. A sample syllabus, with the relevant primary texts, is as follows:

Week 1: Introduction, Courage, and universals

            Primary text: Plato, Laches

Week 2: What is the virtue of courage?

            Primary text: Plato, Laches

Week 3: Recollection in Plato

            Primary text: Plato, Meno, 70a-86d

Week 4: From belief to knowledge

            Primary text: Plato, Meno (the rest), 86d-100b

Week 5: Plato’s Forms and ‘Heracliteanism’

            Primary texts: Plato, Phaedo 74a-75b; 100a-e, Republic 476a-480a

Week 6: Plato on Love and Desire

            Primary texts: Plato, Symposium 201d-212c, Phaedrus 247a-248e; 252d-256e, Lysis 218d-222a

Week 7: Aristotle’s Metaphysics - Hylomorphism

            Primary text: Aristotle, Metaphysics, VII.1-4; Physics, II.1-3

Week 8: Ethics and the function argument

            Primary text: Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, book I (all of book I)

Week 9: The rational and irrational parts of the soul

            Primary text: Aristotle, Nicomachean EthicsI.13, de Anima I.1, III.1-3

Week 10: Slavery

            Primary text: Aristotle, Politics I.1-6 & I.13

PHIL0002 Early Modern Philosophy

Module Leader: Rory Madden

Level: 4

Term: 2

Area: C

Assessment: Unseen two-hour written examination

Day / Time: Lecture Monday 2-3pm then various seminars

This module is an introduction to Early Modern (17th and 18th Century) philosophy, concentrating on two celebrated but contrasting philosophers of this period: René Descartes (1596 - 1650) the first of the great Continental Rationalists, and David Hume (1711 - 1776) the last of the great British Empiricists. In the first half of term we will be thinking through Descartes' Meditations (1641), and in the second half of term Book 1 of Hume's Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40), the respective masterpieces of these two philosophers.  Each week's lecture and class concerns the author's treatment of some aspect of metaphysics, mind, and knowledge.

Provisional Syllabus:

Weeks 1-5: Descartes

•             Introduction and Doubt

•             Cogito

•             God and Clear & Distinct Ideas

•             God and Clear & Distinct Ideas continued

•             Mind & Body

Weeks 6-10: Hume

•             Introduction

•             Ideas and Impressions

•             Causation

•             External Objects

•             Personal Identity

Example exam questions:

•             How, if at all, can the meditator be certain of her own existence?

•             Is Descartes' argument for a real distinction between mind and body a sound argument?

•             Explain and assess Hume's views about our belief in external objects.

•             Does Hume show that causation is all in the mind?

PHIL0003 Knowledge and Reality

Module Leader: Nilanjan Das

Level: 4

Term: 2

Area: A

Assessment: Weekly reading responses (approx. 100 words each = 15%) Essay 1 (1,000 words = 35%) Essay 2 (2,000 words =  50%)

Day / Time: Lecture Friday 10-11am then various seminars

The course provides an introduction to epistemology and metaphysics. Topics to be discussed include: the nature of knowledge, scepticism, the existence of God, whether theism is rational, why the universe exists, free will, personal identity, and the metaphysics of race.

PHIL0004 Introduction to Logic 2

Module Leader: Lavinia Picollo

Level: 4

Term: 2

Area: A

Assessment: 40% Coursework; 60% Exam (2 hour exam in Term 3)

Day / Time: Lecture Tuesday 4-5pm then various seminars

This module aims to introduce the student to the main ideas, concepts and  techniques of contemporary first-order logic, including syntax, semantics and natural deduction. Extensions of first-order logic with identity and function symbols are also considered, focusing on definite descriptions and non-denoting terms. Most of the course is based on Halbach's The Logic Manual (2010, OUP). Other mandatory readings are Russell (1905) "On Denoting" and Quine (1948) "On what there is". NB PHIL0005 Introduction to Logic 1 is a pre-requisite for this module.

PHIL0005 Introduction to Logic 1

Module Leader: Lavinia Picollo

Level: 4

Term: 1

Area: A

Assessment: 40% Coursework; 60% Exam (1 hour)

Day / Time: Lecture Monday 11-12noon then various seminars

This module aims to introduce the student to the main ideas, concepts and techniques of contemporary propositional logic, including syntax, semantics and natural deduction. For most of the course, we will work with Halbach's Logic Manual (2010, OUP).

PHIL0006 Introduction to Moral Philosophy

Module Leader: Mark Kalderon

Level: 4

Term: 2

Area: B

Assessment: Exam (2 hours)

Day / Time: Lecture Tuesday 2-3pm then various seminars

An introduction to moral philosophy through a close examination of two key historical texts, including selections from Hume’s Treatise and Kant’s Groundwork. The aim is to introduce the student to themes in moral philosophy and prepare them for further study in moral philosophy as well as further study of Hume and Kant.

The student might consult the optional reading for the course, two books based on similar courses, namely, David Wiggins’ Ethics, Harvard University Press, 2009, and John Rawls' Lectures on the History of Moral Philosophy, Harvard University Press, 2000.

PHIL0007 Introduction to Political Philosophy

Module Leader: Janis Schaab

Level: 4

Term: 1

Area: B

Assessment: Essay (2,000 words)

Day / Time: Lecture Thursday 2-3pm then various seminars

For the first week, you should read: Daniel McDermott. 2008. “Analytical Political Philosophy,” in David Leopold & Marc Stears (eds.), Political Theory: Methods and Approaches. Oxford: Oxford University Press (available on Moodle).

We will not follow a particular textbook in this class. If you want to have a look at one nonetheless, I recommend Adam Swift’s Political Philosophy: A Beginner’s Guide for Students and Politicians (Polity Press, 3rd Edition, 2013). This book gives a nice introduction to the topic by giving an overview of some of the central issues discussed in current political philosophy. If you really want to, you can also have a look at Will Kymlicka’s Contemorary Political Philosophy: An Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2nd Edition 2002). This book is more advanced and focuses on theoretical approaches, rather than issues.

PHIL0008 Philosophical Study Skills: Reading, Understanding and Essay Writing

Module Leader: Various

Level: 4

Term: 1

Area: A, B, or C

Assessment: Essay (2,000 words)

Day / Time: Various

Each tutorial group (maximum 4 students) is allocated to a tutor, usually an advanced PhD student, who meets weekly for an hour to discuss set texts; to improve the students’ understanding of them; to debate; and to instruct the students in essay-writing skills. Each student in the group will write some formative essays in the course of the term and may in addition be required to prepare presentations. The tutor is responsible for deciding – according to their expertise - the selection of texts to be studied, although this is done in consultation with the course convenor. See below for examples. In general, there will be a spread of different philosophical texts, possibly on a common theme, and frequently including both ‘historical’ and more contemporary texts. Assessment method 2,000-word submitted essay, due in on the first day of the following Term. It is possible to work up and submit one of the essays presented earlier in the term, in the light of feedback from the tutor.

Second Year Modules (Level 5)

PHIL0010 Morality and Literature

Module Leader: Sarah Richmond

Level: 5

Term: 1

Area: B

Assessment: One essay (2,500 words)

Day / Time: Lecture Tuesday 11-12noon then various seminars

The aim of this course is to examine the relationship between morality and literature from a number of angles. It falls within area B (normative) of the Department’s classification. Some topics will be more historical, while others will be more thematic. Historical authors whose ideas are discussed may include: Plato, Kierkegaard, and Sartre. We will look at several works of literature, including works by some or all of the following authors: Coetzee, Graham Greene, Wordsworth, Sophocles (Oedipus Rex), Shakespeare (Othello). Questions and problems to be discussed may include: is a literary work subject to moral evaluation? If so, how? How might its moral evaluation contribute to its overall evaluation as a literary artwork? I Can literary works be regarded as morally instructive? What is the difference between literature and the discourse of  (traditional) moral philosophy? What if anything is wrong with sentimentality?

The module is summatively assessed by an essay of 2,500 words, and students will be offered the opportunity for formative assessment (on a different topic from the summative assessment).

A number of relevant papers can be found in the following collections:

(Eds) Berys Gaut and Dominic McIver Lopes (2005), The Routledge Companion to Aesthetics (2nd edition) (London: Routledge)

(Ed) Jerrold Levinson (1998), Aesthetics and Ethics: Essays at the Intersection, (Cambridge; CUP)

(Ed) Jerrold Levinson (2003), The Oxford Handbook of Aesthetics, (Oxford: OUP)

(Eds) A. Neill and A. Ridley (2008), Arguing about Art, (3rd  Edition) (London: Routledge)

(Eds) J.L. Bermudez and Sebastian Gardner (2003), Art and Morality (London: Routledge)

For historical texts, the following will give students an idea of important contributions to this area:

Plato’s discussion of poetry in The Republic Book X

Oscar Wilde, ‘Preface’ to Portrait of Dorian Gray; 'The Soul of Man under Socialism'; 'The Critic as Artist’.

Here are a couple of sample topics and associated reading suggestions:

Jean-Paul Sartre's What is Literature? (1948)

There is a useful overview of Sartre's philosophy in the IEP (web link below): for this topic, sections 4 and 5 will be the most relevant.

J-P Sartre (2001), What is Literature?, trans. B. Frechtman, (Abingdon: Routledge), chs 1 and 2

Nikolaj Lubecker, (2008) ‘Sartre’s Silence: Limits of Recognition in Why Write?’, Sartre Studies International, vol 14, issue 1, pp. 42-57

Theodor Adorno (1974), ‘Commitment’, New Left Review I/87-88, Sep-Dec, pp. 75-89

* J-P Sartre, 'The Childhood of a Leader'; first published in French in 1939, this short story is worth reading as a putative example of what Sartre might mean by 'committed literature'. In English translation it's been published as part of a collection titled Intimacy.

Sentimentality

Michael Tanner (1976), ‘Sentimentality’, reprinted in (Eds) J. Bermudez and S. Gardner (2003), Art and Morality, (London: Routledge): 95-110

Anthony Savile, ‘Sentimentality’, in (Eds) A. Neill and A. Ridley (2008), Arguing about Art, (3rd Edition), (London: Routledge): 315-319

Ira Newman, ‘The Alleged Unwholesomeness of Sentimentality’, in (Eds) A. Neill and A. Ridley (2008), Arguing about Art, (3rd Edition), (London: Routledge): 320-332

Mark Jefferson (1983), ‘What is Wrong with Sentimentality?’, Mind, vol XCII: 519-529

Maria Callas singing 'Un Bel Di' by Puccini (can be found with youtube link)

Sample questions

How does Sartre support his claim that no good literary work could be written in praise of anti-Semitism? How compelling is his argument?

What, if anything, is wrong with a work of narrative literature that encourages the reader to identify herself sympathetically with an immoral character or perspective? Give an example to illustrate your view.

The judgement that something is ‘sentimental’ is sometimes best understood in aesthetic terms, but in other contexts the same term can express moral criticism. Is there some common element in these two uses, or are they quite unrelated?

PHIL0011 Applied Ethics

Module Leader: John Vorhaus

Level: 5

Term: 1

Area: B

Assessment: Unseen two-hour written examination

Day / Time: Lecture Monday 11-12noon then various seminars

This course will examine some selected topics in applied ethics.

The following topics will be covered: abortion, rape, euthanasia, non-human animals, future people, affirmative action, disability, privacy and the ethics of immigration.

Students will be expected to read at least two papers for most topics, and to participate actively in the back-up seminar. Assessment will be by an two-hour examination, in which students will be expected to answer two questions.  This final paper will offer a wide range of questions to choose from, but a question on each topic is not guaranteed.

PHIL0012 Metaphysics

Module Leader: Luke Fenton-Glynn

Level: 5

Term: 1

Area: A

Assessment: Essay 2500 words

Day / Time: Lecture Tuesday 3-4pm then various seminars

During this course, we will cover a range of subjects in metaphysics, including: time and space, change and identity; necessity and possibility; and causation and counterfactuals.

Recommended general background reading:

• Lowe, E.J. (2002): A Survey of Metaphysics (Oxford: OUP)

Provisional syllabus

Topic 1. Identity Through Time

• Lowe, E.J. (2002): A Survey of Metaphysics (Oxford: OUP), Ch. 2

Topic 2. Temporal Parts

• Lewis, D. (1986): On the Plurality of Worlds (Oxford: Blackwell), pp. 202-204 & 210.

• Sider, T. (1997): 'Four-Dimensionalism', Philosophical Review, Vol. 106, pp. 197-231. Sections 1 & 2 (i.e. to p. 213).

• Lowe, E.J. (2002): A Survey of Metaphysics, Chapter 3

• Wassermann, R. (2003): 'The Argument from Temporary Intrinsics', Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 81, pp. 413-419

Topic 3. Possible Worlds

• Lewis, D. (1973): Counterfactuals (Oxford: Blackwell), Ch. 4, Section 1.

• Lewis, D. (1986): On the Plurality of Worlds, esp. Ch. 1.1

• Lowe, E.J. (2002): A Survey of Metaphysics, Chapter 7

Topic 4. Necessity and Identity

• Krikpe, S. (1980): Naming and Necessity (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press)

• Lowe, E.J. (2002): A Survey of Metaphysics, Chapter 5.

Topic 5. Causes and Conditions

• Mackie, J. L. (1965): ‘Causes and Conditions’, American Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 2, pp. 245-264.

• Lowe, E. J. (2002): A Survey of Metaphysics, Ch. 9.

Topic 6. Causation and Counterfactuals

• Lewis, D. (1986): ‘Causation’ with Postscripts, in his Philosophical Papers, Vol. 2.

• Lowe, E.J. (2002): A Survey of Metaphysics (Oxford: OUP), Ch. 10.

Topic 7: Space

• Dasgupta, S. (2015): 'Substantivalism vs Relationalism About Space in Classical Physics', Philosophy Compass, Vol. 10, pp. 601-624.

Topic 8: Time and Tense

• McTaggart, J. E. (1908): ‘The Unreality of Time’, Mind, Vol. 17, pp. 457-474.

• Dummett, M. (1960): ‘A Defense of McTaggart’s Proof of the Unreality of Time’, Philosophical Review, Vol. 69, pp. 497-504.

• Lowe, E.J. (2002): A Survey of Metaphysics (Oxford: OUP), Ch. 17.

Topic 9: Presentism and Eternalism

• Sider, T. (2001): Four-Dimensionalism: An Ontology of Persistence and Time (Oxford: OUP), Ch. 2.

• Markosian, N. (2004): ‘A Defense of Presentism’, Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, Vol. 1, pp. 47-81.

Topic 10. The Direction of Time

• Lewis, D. (1976): ‘The Paradoxes of Time Travel’, American Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 13, pp. 145-152.

• Sider, T. (2005): ‘Traveling in A- and B-Time’, The Monist, Vol. 88, pp. 329-335.

• Lowe, E.J. (2002): A Survey of Metaphysics, Chapter 18.

Sample questions:

•  Do ordinary objects have temporal parts, just as they have spatial parts?

• “The actual world is just one world among others; non-actual possible worlds are as real as our own.” Discuss.

• Are there necessary truths that are knowable only a posteriori? Are there contingent truths that can be known a priori?

• What is causation?

• Does only the present exist?

• Is there absolute space or only spatial relations?

• Is time travel possible?

PHIL0013 Philosophy of Mind

Module Leader: Rory Madden

Level: 5

Term: 1

Area: A

Assessment: Essay (2,500 words)

Day / Time: Lecture Monday 1-2pm then various seminars

This is an intermediate-level module introducing a range of problems, positions, and arguments in the philosophy of mind, the philosophical study of mental phenomena and their relation to the rest of reality. We will cover topics in the metaphysics of mind before reading week, and topics in the epistemology of mind after reading week.

Some recommended general background reading:

• Chalmers, David 2002 Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings (this anthology contains many of the core readings below)

• Crane, Tim. 2001 Elements of Mind

• Kim, Jaegwon 1996 Philosophy of Mind

Provisional Syllabus & Core Readings

Week 1. What is the mind?

• Rorty, Richard 1979 Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature ch 1

Week 2. Mind-brain identity

• Smart, J.J.C. 1959 'Sensations and brain processes' Philosophical Review

Week 3. Functionalism

• Putnam, Hilary 1967 'The Nature of Mental States' in David Chalmers ed. Readings

Week 4. Mental Causation

• Bennett, Karen 2007 'Mental Causation' Philosophical Compass

Week 5. Consciousness I

• Nagel, Thomas 1974 'What is it like to be a bat?' Philosophical Review

Week 6. Consciousness II

• Rosenthal, David 2002 'Explaining Consciousness' in Chalmers (ed.) Readings

Week 7. Intentionality

• Dretske, Fred 1994 'A Recipe for Thought'. Reprinted in Chalmers (ed.) Readings

Week 8. Knowledge of One's Own Mind

• Armstrong, David 1968 A Materialist Theory of Mind ch 15. Reprinted as 'Introspection' in Cassam (ed.) 1995 Self-Knowledge

Week 9. Knowledge of Other Minds I

• Ayer, A.J. 1953 'One's Knowledge of Other Minds' Theoria

Week 10. Knowledge of Other Minds II

• Kripke, Saul 1982 Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language Postscript 'Wittgenstein and Other Minds'

Sample Essay Titles:

• Is intentionality the mark of the mental?

• Are considerations of simplicity enough to show that mental states are identical to brain states?

• Is there a naturalistic recipe for mental representation?

• What, if anything, is the obstacle to our understanding phenomenal consciousness in physical terms?

• Can higher-order thoughts explain why some mental states are conscious?

• 'Our knowledge of other minds always inferential knowledge'. Is it?

• What are the prospects for a perceptual model of introspection?

PHIL0014 Knowledge

Module Leader: James Hutton

Level: 5

Term: 2

Area: A

Assessment: Unseen two-hour written examination

Day / Time: Lecture Tuesday 11-12noon then various seminars 

 

This module is designed to deal with a variety of topics in epistemology – the philosophical study of knowledge. The curriculum will vary from year to year. Topics include: theories of knowledge; theories of justification or warrant; scepticism; contextualism; sources of knowledge: perception, memory, introspection, testimony.

Provisional Syllabus & Core Readings

Week 1. Knowledge by Testimony
- Hume (1748) Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Section X
- Fricker (1995) ‘Telling and Trusting: Reductionism and Anti-Reductionism of Testimony’, Mind, 104: 393-411

Week 2. A Priori Knowledge
- Giaquinto (1996) ‘Non-Analytic Conceptual Knowledge’, Mind, 105: 249-68.

Week 3. What is a Justified Belief? I
- Greco (2013) ‘Justification is Not Internal’ in Steup et al (eds.) Contemporary Debates in Epistemology

Week 4. What is a Justified Belief? II
- Feldman (2013) ‘Justification is Internal’ in Steup et al (eds.) Contemporary Debates in Epistemology

Week 5. Knowledge as Justified True Belief
- Ayer (1956) The Problem of Knowledge, Chapter 1, pp.7-35.
- Gettier (1963) ‘Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?’, Analysis, 23: 121-3.

Week 6. Knowledge as JTB+truth-tracking
- Nozick (1983) Philosophical Explanations, Chapter 3, Section 1 ‘Knowledge’ pp.172-96

Week 7. Can Knowledge Even Be Analyzed?
- Zagzebski (1994) ‘The Inescapability of Gettier Problems’, The Philosophical Quarterly, 44: 65-73
- Williamson (1995) ‘Is Knowing a State of Mind?’, Mind, 104:533-65, Sections 1-3 & 5

Week 8. Virtue Epistemology
- Sosa (2017) Epistemology, Chapter 8 ‘Mind-World Relations’

Week 9. Scepticism
- Pryor (2000) ‘The Skeptic and the Dogmatist’, Noûs, 34: 517-49

Week 10. Contextualism
- Lewis (1996) ‘Elusive Knowledge’, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, 74(4): 549-67

PHIL0017 Topics in Greek Philosophy: Plato

Module Leader: Fiona Leigh

Level: 5

Term: 1

Area: C

Assessment: Essay (2,500 words)

Day / Time: Lecture Tuesday 12-1pm then various seminars

The course takes students through the central tenants of Plato’s thought by way of a survey of some of his most important works. The main text will be the Republic, with topics to be examined including epistemology, the theory of Forms, Plato's moral psychology, feminism and aesthetics. The course will also examine the challenge to the theory of Forms in the Parmenides and the Sophist.

PHIL0022 Philosophy of Language

Module Leader: Matthew Simpson

Level: 5

Term: 1

Area: A

Assessment: Unseen Written Examination (2 Hours) 70% and Essay (1500 Words) 30%

Day / Time: Lecture Monday 2-3pm then various seminars

This course will examine some selected topics in the philosophy of language. Although the contents may vary slightly from year to year, potential topics include: meaning, reference, definite descriptions, proper names, metaphor, the distinction between pragmatics and semantics, and speech act theory.

PHIL0024 Ethics

Module Leader: Douglas Lavin

Level: 5

Term: 2

Area: B

Assessment: One essay (2,500 words)

Day / Time: Lecture Tuesday 2-3pm then various seminars

This module is a survey of central questions and concepts of recent ethical theory. Precise contents may vary slightly by year. Some topics include: the nature of the good, egoism, utilitarian accounts of right and wrong action, virtue (esp. justice and benevolence), partiality and impartiality, moral luck. Recommended general background reading: • Williams, Morality an Introduction to Ethics • Scheffler, Consequentialism and Its Critics

Recommended general background reading:

• Williams, Morality an Introduction to Ethics

• Scheffler, Consequentialism and Its Critics

Provisional syllabus

Week 1. Death

• Nagel, “Death”, Epicurus, Letter to Menoeceus

• Williams, "The Makropulos Case: Reflections on the Tedium of Immortality"

Questions: Does death harm the one who dies? Even if death is a harm in some circumstances, must it always be? Other things equal, would it be good to be immortal?

Week 2. Well-Being

• Parfit, "What Makes Someone's Life Go Best?"

• Robert Nozick, "The Experience Machine”

Questions: What makes a person’s life go better? Is pleasure the only ultimate source of value? Are a person's desires the only measure of how well his or her life is going?

Week 3. Egoism

• Williams, “Egoism and Altruism”

• Butler, “Upon the Love of Our Neighbour,” Feinberg, “Psychological Egoism,” Raz, “The Amoralist”

Questions: What is self-interest? Is it the source of all reasons for action? Is it possible to act for the sake of another’s good or must motivation always bottom out in a purely selfish element?

Week 4. Utilitarianism

• Bentham, Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, Ch. I, Mill, Utilitarianism, Chs. I, II, and V

• Mill, “Remarks on Bentham’s Philosophy,” Williams and Smart, Utilitarianism for and against

Questions: What is the utilitarian account of the principles upon which we ought to act? Where does it locate the philosophical basis of our ideas of right and wrong? What is the source of attraction of the utilitarian conception of morality?

Week 5. Beneficience

• Singer, “Famine, Affluence and Morality”

• Murphy, “The Demands of Beneficence,” Miller, “Beneficence, Duty and Distance”

Questions: How much, if at all, must we help others?

Week 6. Beneficience

• Taurek, “Should the Numbers Count?”

• Parfit, “Innumerate Ethics,” Kamm, “Equal Treatment and Equal Chances,” Anscombe,

“Who is Wronged?”

Questions: Do the numbers count morally speaking? Is the fact that one group has more people require us to aid its members in preference to another, smaller group?

Week 7. Justice

• Foot, “The Problem of Abortion and the Doctrine of Double Effect”

• Feinberg, “The Nature and Value of Rights,” Anscombe, “Mr Truman’s Degree,”

Thomson, “The Trolley Problem”

Questions: Is it harder to justify actively harming someone, intentionally or not, than it is to justify merely allowing someone to be harmed? Is it harder to justify intentionally harming someone, than it it is to justify merely knowingly harming someone?

Week 8. Justice

• Foot, “Utilitarianism and the Virtues,” Nozick, Anarchy, State and Utopia, ch. 3

• Geach, “Good and Evil,” Scheffler, “Agent-Centered Restrictions, Rationality and the Virtues”

Questions: Foot says that the deep pull of utilitariaism comes from the thought that it can’t be right to ‘prefer the worse to the better.’ How does she argue that the attractiveness of the thought is only an illusion? How can it be rational to abide by a constraint on action even when flouting it would prevent more extensive violations of that very constraint? How can it be wrong to, say, lie even when doing so will prevent more and worse lies from being told?

Week 9. Love and Morality

• Wolf, “Moral Saints”

• Wolf, “Morality and Partiality,” Williams, “Persons, Character, Morality”

Questions: If love and friendship are not part of impartial morality, how are we to reconcile their potentially conflicting demands? A moral saint is someone “whose every action is as morally good as possible, a person, that is, who is as morally worthy as can be.” Why does Wolf think that a moral saint is not a good kind of person to be or a good kind of life tolead? Is she correct?

Week 10. Moral Luck

• Nagel, “Moral Luck”

• Williams, “Moral Luck”

Questions: For there to be moral luck is for one’s moral status to depend on facts outside one’s control. Can there be moral luck? Is it legitimate for luck to play a role in how blame and praise are distirbuted?

PHIL0025 Intermediate Logic

Module Leader: Lavinia Picollo

Level: 5

Term: 2

Area: A

Assessment: Unseen two-hour written examination (60%) and Homework exercises (40%)

Day / Time: Lecture Thursday 2-3pm then various seminars

The purpose of this module is to present the basic methods and results of contemporary logic. The emphasis is on the practical skill of formulating and proving results about logical systems. Students are introduced to basic set theory, enumerability and non-enumerability, isomorphisms and cardinality of models, the Compactness and Löwenheim-Skolem Theorems, inexpressibility results, sequent calculi, soundness and completeness results, and, time permitting, incompleteness and non-standard models of arithmetic. Most of the course is based on Jeffrey & Boolos' Computability and Logic (2007, CUP, 5th edition).

PHIL0027 Decision and Game Theory

Module Leader: Nilanjan Das

Level: 5

Term: 1

Area: A

Assessment: Unseen two-hour written examination (60%) and Homework exercises (40%)

Day / Time: Lecture Friday 1-2pm then various seminars

This module presents the foundations of decision theory and game theory.  The module will present the basic framework of expected utility theory with an eye towards its philosophical foundations and applications.  In addition it will cover the basic foundations of game theory and introduce some of the major equilibrium concepts.

PHIL0028 Topics in Political Philosophy

Module Leader: Joe Horton

Level: 5

Term: 1

Area: B

Assessment: Essay (2,500 words)

Day / Time: Lecture Friday 10-11am then various seminars

This module investigates questions that are both central to political philosophy and of current political importance. They include: What does it take for a political system to be just? Can we support equality of opportunity without also supporting equality of outcome? How can we come to own natural resources? Does global inequality matter as much as national inequality? Are we obligated to obey the law? Is it wrong to contribute to climate change? Should we retain the institution of marriage? What do we owe to future generations?

Sample Reading

• G. A. Cohen, Self-Ownership, Freedom, and Equality (Cambridge University Press, 1995): Chapter 3

• Andrea Sangiovanni, ‘Global Justice, Reciprocity, and the State’, Philosophy & Public Affairs 35 (2007): 3–39

• Julia Nefsky, ‘Consumer Choice and Collective Impact’, in Anne Barnhill, Mark Budolfson, and Tyler Doggett (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Food Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2018): 267–286

Module Assessment

The module is assessed by a summative essay. The maximum length is strictly 2500 words.

Students are strongly encouraged to write a formative essay, which is due around the end of week 8. The formative essay is intended to serve as a draft of the summative and should therefore answer the same question. The maximum length is strictly 1500 words.

PHIL0030 Topics in Aristotle

Module Leader: Saloni de Souza

Level: 5

Term: 2

Area: C

Assessment: Essay one (1,500 words = 35%) Essay two (2,200 words = 65%)

Day / Time: Lecture Thursday 10-11am then various seminars

This course offers an advanced introduction to central parts of Aristotle’s work. We will have a problem-based approach, and try to assess how Aristotle addresses his own philosophical questions. In particular, we’ll focus on connections between his Metaphysics and Physics, and also look at how these connections have implications on other branches of Aristotle’s philosophical system.

PHIL0149 Kant

Module Leader: Rory Phillips

Level: 5

Term: 1

Area: C

Assessment: One Essay (2,500 words)

Day / Time: Lecture Thursday 10-11am then various seminars

The course provides an introduction to Kant's theoretical philosophy. The course will study the main ideas and arguments in Kant's Critique of Pure Reason and Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics. It will consider both questions of interpretation and issues of critical assessment. Typical topics include but are not limited to: the question of synthetic a priori judgements, Kant's views on space and time, the self, the critique of traditional metaphysics, and the distinction between appearances and things in themselves.

PHIL0176 Meaning and Interpretation

Module Leader: José Zalabardo

Level: 5

Term: 2

Area: A

Assessment: 2 hr exam

Day / Time: Lecture Monday 2-3pm then various seminars

This module will examine the ideas of 20th-century philosophers who have postulated an intrinsic link between linguistic meaning and mental content, on the one hand, and our practices of interpreting linguistic expressions and ascribing propositional attitudes, on the other. We will study the work of W.V.O. Quine, Donald Davidson and Daniel Dennett, among others. We will study these proposals in detail and assess their plausibility. We will also consider the consequences of these ideas for related philosophical issues.

Recommended Reading:

W.V.O. Quine, Word and Object, Chapter 2

D. Davidson, “Radical Interpretation”, in Inquiries into Truth and Interpretation

D. Dennett, “True Believers”, in The Intentional Stance

PHIL0184 Philosophy of Arithmetic

Module Leader: Tim Button

Level: 5

Term: 2

Area: A

Assessment: 2000 word essay (50%) and 2hr examination (term 3 - 50%)

Day / Time: Lecture Wednesday 10-11am then various seminars

This course considers the philosophy of arithmetic. Our starting question is: Do numbers exist? This question leads to Benacerraf’s dilemma. If numbers exist, they are presumably abstract entities, but then how can we know anything about them? If numbers do not exist, then how are we to understand claims like “there are infinitely many prime numbers”?

We will consider several reactions to these questions, including constructivism, formalism, logicism, structuralism, nominalism and fictionalism.

(The course presupposes no particular knowledge of mathematics, but introductory logic would be helpful.)

PHIL0181 Epistemology and Contemporary Society

Module Leader: James Hutton

Level: 5

Term: 1

Area: A

Assessment: Essay (2,500 words)

Day / Time: Lecture Tuesday 10-11am then various seminars

This is an intermediate-level module designed to introduce students to the burgeoning field of Applied Epistemology. We will use philosophical theories about knowledge, justification and belief-formation to explore pressing societal issues. Topics will vary from year to year, but may include:

• When other well-informed people disagree with us, should this make us less confident in our beliefs?

• What can epistemology tell us about online ‘echo chambers’?

• What, if anything, makes conspiracy theories epistemically worse than official theories?

• How should feminism affect the way we think about knowledge and belief?

Background Reading: David Coady (2012) What to Believe Now: Applying Epistemology to Contemporary Issues

Final Year (Level 6)

PHIL0041 Early Wittgenstein

Module Leader: José Zalabardo

Level: 6

Term: 2

Area: C

Assessment: Unseen 2hr Exam

Day / Time: Wednesday 10-12noon (N.B. Shared with Graduate Students)

The purpose of this course is to present some of the central doctrines of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus-: the Tractarian Account of Representation and Reality (TARR). We can characterise TARR as involving three main components.

The first component of TARR is the view that everyday propositions don’t represent the world directly: they represent the world through the mediation of a class of postulated propositions, known as elementary propositions (Elementarsätze). Everyday propositions represent the world by being truth functions of elementary propositions.

The second component of TARR is an account of the nature of elementary propositions and of how they represent the world. On this account, an elementary proposition is a combination of items known as names. Names are referential expressions. An elementary proposition represents the referents of its names as combined with one another in the same way in which the names are combined in the proposition. The proposition is true if the referents are so combined; false if they are not. The referents of names are simple items known as objects. The combinations of objects that elementary propositions represent as obtaining are known as states of affairs (Sachverhalte).

The third component of TARR is an account of the structure of reality, according to which a possible state of the world is constituted by the states of affairs that obtain in it. Two states of the world differ from one another only if there are states of affairs that obtain in one and not in the other. And for every set of states of affairs there is a possible state of the world in which the states of affairs that obtain are precisely the elements of the set.

Thus, according to TARR, elementary propositions and states of affairs provide the interface between language and the world. Propositions represent the world by their truth-functional dependence on elementary propositions. These, in turn, represent states of affairs. This enables propositions to represent the whole of reality, since everything that is the case, and everything that can be the case, consists in the obtaining and non-obtaining of states of affairs—what truth functions of elementary propositions represent.

Taken as an intuitive model, TARR is fairly easy to understand—we can form a conception of what things would have to be like in order for TARR to be correct. A precise, literal understanding of the view is much harder to achieve. And it is even harder to grasp why anyone would think that this is how things are in actuality—that language and reality have the structure that TARR attributes to them and that the former represents the latter as TARR says it does. Specifically, it is hard to understand why Wittgenstein thought this. Addressing these questions is the main goal of this course.

Recommended Reading:

L. Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

J. Zalabardo, Representation and Reality in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus

TOPICS

1. Russell’s dual-relation theory of judgment

2. Russell’s multiple-relation theory of judgment

3. Russell and Wittgenstein on forms

4. Wittgenstein’s picture theory

5. Frege on unity and unsaturatedness

6. Wittgenstein on the unity of the proposition

7. Wittgenstein on the unity of facts

8. Objects and expressions as common structural features

9. Substance and simplicity

READINGS

Primary sources

Wittgenstein

There are two main English translations of the Tractatus, one by by C. K. Ogden (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1922), and one by David Pears and Brian McGuinness (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 2nd ed.1974). I tend to use the Pears and McGuinness, but although they differ in important respects, either would be fine.

I have prepared a hypertext version of the Pears and McGuinness translation. It doesn't work on some browsers.

If you know any German, there is a very useful edition by Joachim Schulte and Brian McGuinness (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1989), collating sections of the Tractatus with relevant passages from preliminary manuscripts.

Another important primary source is Wittgenstein's Notebooks, 1914-1916 (Oxford: Blackwell, 2nd ed.1979). This volume contains the main extant manuscripts from the period when Wittgenstein was working on the Tractatus.

Frege and Russell

We will be paying close attention to the origin of Wittgenstein's ideas in the work of Russell and Frege. We will be looking mainly at the following texts:

For Frege, "Function and Concept" and "On Concept and Object", both translated in Translations from the Philosophical Writings of Gottlob Frege, edited by Max Black and P. T. Geach, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1980.

And for Russell:

Chapter 4 of The Principles of Mathematics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1903.

"On the Nature of Truth and Falsehood." In Philosophical Essays, 147-59. London: Longmans, Green, 1910.

Chapter 12 of The Problems of Philosophy . London: Williams & Norgate, 1912.

"Theory of Knowledge: The 1913 Manuscript." In The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell. Vol 7, edited by Elizabeth Ramsden Eames and Kenneth Blackwell. London: Allen & Unwin, 1984. (Part I, Chapters VII and IX, and Part II, Chapters I and V)

The fourth lecture of The Philosophy of Logical Atomism. LaSalle, Ill.: Open Court, 1985.

Secondary sources

Books

There are many book-length expositions and commentaries of the Tractatus. Many of them make some good points but they all differ in important respects from the interpretation that I'll be presenting. The following might be particularly useful:

Max Black. A Companion to Wittgenstein's Tractatus. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1964.

James Griffin. Wittgenstein's Logical Atomism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1964.

David Pears. The False Prison: A Study of the Development of Wittgenstein's Philosophy. Volume I. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987.

Articles and book chapters

I will recommend readings on particular topics in the lectures, but here is an unsystematic selection of interesting articles on the issues that we will be discussing:

Candlish, Stewart. "The Unity of the Proposition and Russell's Theories of Judgment." In Bertrand Russell and the Origins of Analytical Philosophy, edited by Ray Monk and Anthony Palmer, 103-35. Bristol: Thoemmes Press, 1996.

Conant, James. "Elucidation and Nonsense in Frege and Early Wittgenstein." In The New Wittgenstein, edited by Alice Crary and Rupert Read, 174-217. London: Routledge, 2000.

----. "The Search for Logically Alien Thought: Descartes, Kant, Frege, and the Tractatus." Philosophical Topics 20 (1992): 115-80.

---. "Two Conceptions of Die Überwindung der Metaphysik. Carnap and Early Wittgenstein." In Wittgenstein in America, edited by Timothy McCarthy and Sean C. Stidd, 13-61. Oxford: Clarendon, 2001.

Geach, Peter T. "Saying and Showing in Frege and Wittgenstein." Acta Philosophica Fennica 28 (1976): 54-70.

Griffin, Nicholas. "Russell's Multiple Relation Theory of Judgement." Philosophical Studies 47 (1985): 213-48.

---. "Wittgenstein's Criticism of Russell's Theory of Judgment." Russell 5 (1986): 132-45.

Hylton, Peter. "The Nature of the Proposition and the Revolt against Idealism." In Philosophy in History, edited by Richard Rorty, J. B. Schneewind and Quentin Skinner, 375-97. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984.

---. Russell, Idealism, and the Emergence of Analytic Philosophy. Oxford: Clarendon, 1990.

Ishiguro, Hidé. "Use and Reference of Names." In Studies in the Philosophy of Wittgenstein, edited by Peter Guy Winch, 20-50. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1969.

Kremer, Michael. "Contextualism and Holism in the Early Wittgenstein: From Prototractatus to Tractatus ." Philosophical Topics 25 (1997): 87-120.

Linsky, Leonard. "The Unity of the Proposition." Journal of the History of Philosophy 30 (1992): 243-73.

Palmer, Anthony. Concept and Object: The Unity of the Proposition in Logic and Psychology . London: Routledge, 1988. (Chapter 4)

Pears, David. "The Relation between Wittgenstein's Picture Theory of Propositions and Russell's Theory of Judgment." Philosophical Review 86 (1977): 177-96.

Proops, Ian. "Wittgenstein on the Substance of the World." European Journal of Philosophy 12 (2004): 106-26.

Sluga, Hans. "Frege against the Booleans." Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 28 (1987): 80-98.

Sommerville, Stephen. "Wittgenstein to Russell (July, 1913). 'I am very sorry to hear ... my objection paralyses you'." In Language, Logic, and Philosophy: Proceedings of the 4th International Wittgenstein Symposium , edited by Rudolf Haller and Wolfgang Grassl, 182-87. Vienna: Holder-Pichler-Tempsky, 1980.

PHIL0044 Aristotle’s Moral Psychology

Module Leader: Fiona Leigh

Level: 6

Term: 2

Area: C

Assessment: Essay 3500 words

Day / Time: Tuesday 2-4pm (N.B. Shared with Graduate Students)

The module focuses on Aristotle's philosophy of mind and moral psychology. After a brief introduction in the first week to the central tenets of his metaphysics and epistemology, the module will cover topics including Aristotle's views human nature and human flourishing, the kinds of cognitive capacities attributable to humans and non-human animals, the emotions, virtue ethics, the doctrine of the mean and learning to be good, weakness of the will, and the role of contemplation in the good life. The central primary texts will be de Anima and the Nicomachean Ethics, although other texts will be consulted.  It is intended that students will learn to read passages from Aristotle’s works in ethics and psychology. They will develop the ability to evaluate the arguments proposed in the sources and to propose and assess different possible interpretations. They will be encouraged to reflect critically on the significance of the material. A sample syllabi, with the relevant primary texts, is as follows:

Week 1

Introduction – overview of life and works, relation to Plato – and Aristotle’s metaphysics: hylomorphism, substance, the four causes, body and soul

Primary Text: Metaphysics, VII.1-4, 6, 10-11, 13, 15, 17; Physics II.1-9; III.1-3, VIII.6; de Anima, book 1

Week 2

Eudaimonia & Function

Primary Text: Nicomachean Ethics, book I (especially chapters 1-5, 7-9, 13)

Week 3

The Soul & Cognition

Primary Text: de Anima, books I-III (especially I.1, I.4, II.1-6, II.11-12, III.1-3), and de Motu Animalium, 6-11

Week 4

Phantasia & Emotion

Primary Text: Rhetoric book II; de Anima, III.3

Week 5

Habituation, Pleasure & Cognition

Primary Text: Nicomachean Ethics, I.13, II.1-3, (II.4-9: optional), X.9

Week 6

Habituation & Action

Primary Text: Nicomachean Ethics, II.4 (in detail)

Week 7

The Doctrine of the Mean

Primary Text: Nicomachean Ethics, books II-III (especially II.1-9, III.5-12)

Week 8

The Mean Relative to Us

Primary Text: (as for last week:) Nicomachean Ethics, books II-III (esp. II.1-9, III.5-12), and VI.1-2, 5-6 (optional)

Week 9

Virtue and Akrasia (weakness of the will)

Primary Text: Nicomachean Ethics, VII.1-10

Week 10

Two kinds of flourishing?

Primary Text: Nicomachean Ethics, book X (especially X.6-8)

PHIL0045 Making Sense of the Senses

Module Leader: Mark Kalderon

Level: 6

Term: 2

Area: A

Assessment: One essay (3,500 words)

Day / Time: Thursday 1-3pm

C.D. Broad offers a comparative phenomenology of vision, audition, and touch highlighting the important differences between them. We will assess Broad’s comparative phenomenology  drawing upon analytic, continental, historical and psychological literature. The aim is to introduce the student to advance themes in philosophy of perception through this assessment of Broad’s comparative phenomenology. The class will be conducted as a seminar with student presentations

For relatively recent analytic discussion of these issues, the student might consult the optional reading Perception and Its Modalities edited by Dustin Stokes, Mohan Matthen, and Stephen Biggs. Oxford University Press, 2014.

PHIL0046 Advanced Philosophy of Mind

Module Leader: James Hutton

Level: 6

Term: 2

Area: A

Assessment: Assessed essay (3,500 words)

Day / Time: Monday 11-1pm (N.B. Shared with Graduate Students)

This module will focus on philosophy of emotion. We will critically examine the leading theories of emotion found in contemporary philosophy of mind. According to "feeling" theories, emotions are a distinctive kind of felt sensation. According to "judgment" theories, they are a kind of evaluative belief. According "perceptualist" theories, emotions are a kind of perception, akin to visual experience. According to "non-reductivist" theories, the emotions cannot fruitfully be understood in terms of other pre-existing categories in the philosophy of mind, but must be understood in their own right. To what extent can each of these the capture the nature of emotions and the role they play in our mental lives? We will also discuss further issues: do the emotions form a natural kind? What representational content do emotions have? How do emotions relate to values? How do they relate to the body?

Background reading: Deonna & Teroni (2012) The Emotions: A Philosophical Introduction"

PHIL0052 Regulation of Intimacy

Module Leader: Véronique Munoz-Dardé

Level: 6

Term: 2

Area: B

Assessment: Unseen two-hour written examination

Day / Time: Tuesday 9-11am (N.B. Shared with Graduate Students)

This optional course will be taught in seminar format, with one weekly two-hour meeting. It is designed to introduce students to some central questions in political and moral philosophy. The topic of the course is the politics of sex. It focuses on general ethical concerns raised by state regulation of intimate relations e.g. in marriage or prostitution. Should some things not be for sale? Is consent the key to legitimate interaction? What is involved in one person ‘objectifying’ another? Are there circumstances in which paternalism is permissible or even required?

Readings include Anderson, Herman, Langton, Nussbaum, Pallikkathayil, Parfit, O’Neill, Satz, Saul, Scanlon, Scruton, Shiffrin, Thomson, Wedgwood.

This course is intended for students with a range of specializations, but some background knowledge in philosophy (normally a minimum of two philosophy courses passed before taking this module). The course is not suitable for conversion students.

PHIL0053 Philosophy of Religion

Module Leader: Rory Madden

Level: 6

Term: 1

Area: A

Assessment: One essay (3,500 words)

Day / Time: Monday 3-5pm

This is an advanced undergraduate course covering topics in analytic philosophy of religion. We will be focusing on three topics

• The philosophy of mind and epistemology of religious experience

• Some questions of theological interest related to the metaphysics of persons: disembodiment, resurrection, and immortality.

• Non-realism: expressivist, fictionalist, and Wittgensteinian approaches to religious language and practice.

Recommended general background reading

• James, William 1902 The Varieties of Religious Experience

• Davies, Brian 1993 An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion

• Swinburne, Richard 2004 The Existence of God 2nd Edition

Provisional Syllabus & Core Readings

Week 1. Introduction

• James, William 1902 The Varieties of Religious Experience Lectures XVI & XVII

Week 2. The epistemology of religious experience

• Swinburne, Richard 2004 The Existence of God ch 13

Week 3. Religious experience continued

• Zangwill, Nick 2004 ‘The myth of religious experience’ Religious Studies

Week 4. Materialism and life after death I

 • Olson, Eric 2010 ‘Immanent Causation and Life After Death’ in G. Gasser (ed) Personal Identity and Resurrection

Week 5.Materialism and life after death II

• Baker, Lynne 2007 ‘Persons and the metaphysics of the resurrection’ Religious Studies

Week 6. Immortality I

• Williams, Bernard 1973 ‘The Makropulos case: reflections on the tedium of immortality’ in his Problems of the Self

Week 7. Immortality II

• Gorman, A.G. 2016 ‘Williams and the Desirability of Body-Bound Immortality Revisited’ European Journal of Philosophy

Week 8.Expressivism

• Braithwaite, R.B. 1955 ‘The Nature of Religious Belief’

Week 9. Fictionalism

• Le Poidevin, Robin Arguing for Atheism ch 8

Week 10. Wittgenstein

• Wittgenstein, L. 1967 ‘Lectures on Religious Belief’ in C. Barrett (ed) Lectures and Conversations on Aesthetics, Psychology, and Religious Belief

Sample Essay Questions:

• 'Scepticism about religious experience leads to scepticism about ordinary sensory experience.' Discuss.

• Does the diversity of religious experience undermine its evidential force?

• Is it a good thing that we are not immortal?

• How, if at all, can a materialist about human persons make sense of the possibility of life after death?

• To what extent is fictionalism about religious discourse an improvement upon expressivism about religious discourse?

• Do Wittgenstein’s later writings contain a convincing account of religious belief?

Assessment: one essay (3,500 words)

PHIL0057 Topics in German Idealism

Module Leader: Rory Phillips

Level: 6

Term: 1

Area: C

Assessment: Unseen two-hour written examination

Day / Time: Friday 10-12noon (N.B. Shared with Graduate Students)

The course focuses on central issues in the writings of the German Idealists – Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel – with special attention to the ways in which they develop and transform Kant's philosophy. Topics covered include the theory of the self, transcendental and absolute idealism, philosophy of nature, the Hegelian dialectic.

PHIL0061 Metaphysics of Science

Module Leader: Luke Fenton-Glynn

Level: 6

Term: 1

Area: A

Assessment: Essay (3,500 words)

Day / Time: Tuesday 12-2pm (N.B. Shared with Graduate Students)

In this course, we will cover three central topics in the metaphysics of science: causation, chance and the laws of nature. Questions to be addressed include: What are laws of nature? Are there laws in sciences such as biology, ecology, or economics? If so, how do they relate to the laws of physics? What is objective chance? Do only fundamental physical laws (for example, those of quantum mechanics) generate chances, or do the laws or generalizations of biology, etc. yield chances? What is causation? How does causation relate to chance?

No background in science or probability theory is needed for this course.

Recommended general background reading:

• Paul, L. A. and Hall, N. (2013): Causation: A User’s Guide (Oxford: OUP)

• Psillos, S. (2002): Causation and Explanation (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press).

• Fenton-Glynn, L. (2015): ‘A Simple Introduction to Probability’ < https://www.academia.edu/12094718/A_Simple_Introduction_to_Probability>.

Provisional syllabus

Topic 1. Causation and Counterfactuals

• Lewis, D. ‘Causation’, Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 70, pp. 556-557.

• Lewis, David (1986): 'Postscripts to "Causation"'. In his Philosophical Papers, Vol. II (New York: OUP), pp. 172-213. Postscript E: 'Redundant Causation'.

• Lewis, D. ‘Causation as Influence’, in J. Collins, N. Hall, and L. A. Paul (eds.): Causation and Counterfactuals (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press), pp. 76-106.

Topic 2. Causation and Structural Equations

• Hitchcock, C. (2001): ‘The Intransitivity of Causation Revealed in Equations and Graphs’, Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 98, pp. 273-299.

Topic 3. Causation and Probability

• Hitchcock, C. (2004): ‘Do All and Only Causes Raise the Probability of Effects?’, in J. Collins, N. Hall, and L.A. Paul (eds): Causation and Counterfactuals (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press).

Topic 4. Causation, Probability, and Causal Models

• Hitchcock, C. (2001): ‘A Tale of Two Effects’, Philosophical Review, Vol. 110, pp. 361-396.

Topic 5. Interpretations of Probability

• Hájek, Alan (2012): "Interpretations of Probability", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Topic 6. Problems with the Naïve Regularity Theory of Laws

• Armstrong, D. (1983): What is a Law of Nature? (Cambridge: CUP), pp. 11-59.

Topic 7. The Best System Analysis of Laws and Chance

• Lewis, D. (1994): ‘Humean Supervenience Debugged’, Mind, Vol. 103, Sections 2-4 only.

Topic 8. Special Sciences

• Oppenheim, P. and Putnam, H. (1958): 'Unity of Science as a Working Hypothesis', , in H. Feigl et al., eds., Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, vol. 2 (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press), pp. 3-36.

• Fodor, J. (1974): ‘Special Sciences (Or: The Disunity of Science as a Working Hypothesis)’, Synthese, Vol. 28, pp. 97-115.

Topic 9. Invariant Generalisations

• Woodward, J. and Hitchcock, C. (2003): ‘Explanatory Generalizations, Part I: A Counterfactual Account’, Noûs, Vol. 37, pp. 1-24.

Topic 10. Special Sciences, Statistical Mechanics, & The Direction of Time

• Loewer, B. (2012): 'Two Accounts of Laws and Time', Philosophical Studies, Vol. 160, pp. 115-137.

• Loewer, B. (2012): 'The Emergence of Time's Arrows and Special Science Laws From Physics', Interface Focus, Vol. 2, pp. 13-19.

Sample questions:

• Are laws of nature mere regularities?

• Are the generalisations of the special sciences (e.g. biology, chemistry, economics) genuine laws of nature?

• Are the special sciences reducible to physics?

• Are there objective probabilities in sciences other than physics?

• Can causation be understood in terms of probabilistic relations between events?

• Can structural equations approaches to causation help us overcome the difficulties facing more traditional philosophical accounts of causation?

• Can the direction of causation and the direction of time be reduced to the direction of entropy increase?

PHIL0065 Philosophy of Art

Module Leader: Rory Phillips

Level: 6

Term: 2

Area: C

Assessment: One essay (3,500 words)

Day / Time: Thursday 10-12noon (N.B. Shared with Graduate Students)

The course examines issues in aesthetics and the philosophy of art in classical German philosophy. Topics covered include: Kant's account of judgements of taste and his theory of art; Schiller's aesthetic solution to the problem of Freedom and Nature in his Letters on Aesthetic Education; aesthetic absolutism in Schelling and the early German Romantics; Hegel's system of art and thesis of the 'end' of art. The two-hour class combines a lecture with discussion of the set text.

PHIL0067 Free Speech and Theories of Autonomy

Module Leader: Robert Simpson

Level: 6

Term: 1

Area: B

Assessment: Essay (3,500 words)

Day / Time: Thursday 10-12noon (N.B. Shared with Graduate Students)

This module investigates two complementary topics: (1) theories of autonomy, as they have been developed by philosophers writing about ethics and the self, and (2) defences of free speech, as they have been developed (and criticised) by legal and political theorists. With respect to (1), we’re interested in what it means to be autonomous, how and why the process of desire-formation has a bearing on a person’s autonomy, and whether it is possible for someone to autonomous desire their own subordination. With respect to (2), we’re interested in what kind of conception of autonomy – and of the individual, as such – different theorists have invoked in seeking to defend free speech, and what kinds of theoretical justifications for free speech can be developed in light of different conceptions of autonomy. The insights into the nature of autonomy that we gain from thinking about the topics in part (1), will inform the critical inquiry that we carry out in part (2). Assessment is via a major essay, and there will usually be some kind of minor, reading-related tasks that you’re required to complete during the term. Classes are a mixture of lectures, small-group discussion, and whole group discussion. Representative examples of readings that we look at during the course are John Christman, “Autonomy and personal history” (Canadian Journal of Philosophy 21/1, 1991, pp. 1-24), and Susan Brison, “The autonomy defense of free speech” (Ethics 108/2, 1998, pp./ 312-39).

PHIL0068 Metaethics

Module Leader: Matthew Simpson

Level: 6

Term: 2

Area: B

Assessment:

Day / Time: Friday 2-4pm (N.B. Shared with Graduate Students)

Metaethics involves questions about the nature of value and of our thought and language about it. In this course students will learn about prominent metaethical theories, and important arguments for and against them. Exact content will change from year to year, but typical topics include: the nature of moral properties, the objectivity of moral truth, how ethical language and thought works, and how we can know about what's right and wrong.

The International Encyclopedia for Ethics, ed. Hugh LaFollette, is a great resource for short introductory articles to topics. You could start by reading the article on metaethics, written by Jonas Olson. Other good articles include those on moral naturalism, non-naturalism, non-cognitivism, quasi-realism, and error theory.

Other good texts include the following collections of essays which cover many topics including those relevant to our course, such as naturalism, non-naturalism, error-theory, expressivism, and moral epistemology. Any handful of the suggested chapters will be useful:

Geoffrey Sayre-McCord, ed. Essays on Moral Realism Cornell University Press 1988 (chs 5, 6, 9, 10)

Copp, David, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory. Oxford University Press, 2007. (chs 1, 3, 4, 5)

LaFollette, Hugh, ed. The Blackwell Guide to Ethical Theory. Oxford: Blackwell, 2000. (chs 1, 3, 6).

LaFollette, Hugh, ed. The Blackwell Guide to Ethical Theory. Oxford: Blackwell, 2000.

Simon Blackburn, Ruling Passions (Oxford University Press 1998)

Russ Shafer-Landau, ed. Oxford Studies in Metaethics (several volumes available, all contain relevant material.)

PHIL0070 Representation and Reality

Module Leader: Matthew Simpson

Level: 6

Term: 1

Area: A

Assessment: Essay (3,500 words)

Day / Time: Friday 2-4pm (N.B. Shared with Graduate Students)

***This course involves advanced material in philosophy of language and metaphysics. You are strongly recommended to take this course only if you have previously studied philosophy of language, metaphysics, or logic. If you're not sure whether you have the appropriate background please feel free to contact the module leader.***

In this module we will investigate the relationship between the world and our representation of it by our language and thoughts. We will study a number of philosophical debates from the last century, which all center on the idea that our theories about human language and thought will in some way affect what we think about reality. Topics studied will vary from year to year, but typical topics include how we can think and talk about the non-existent, the role of reference and representation in deciding what the world is like, whether we can dissolve metaphysical problems by thinking about ordinary language, and whether any kind of language can mirror reality.

Some texts to give students a flavour of some potential topics: (All are available online)

• Non-Existence: Tim Crane, 'What is the problem of non-existence?' 2012, Philosophia: Philosophical Quarterly of Israel, 40: 417–434.

• Language as a mirror of reality: Elisabeth Barnes & Ross Cameron '‘A Critical Study of John Heil’s From an Ontological Point of View’, in ed. Romano, ‘Symposium on From an Ontological Point of View by John Heil’, SWIF Philosophy of Mind Review 6, 2007.

• Dissolving metaphysics by thinking about ordinary language: Amie Thomasson, ‘Easy Ontology and its Consequences’ in Gary Ostertag (ed.) Meanings and Other Things: Essays on the work of Stephen Schifferm (OUP 2016), 34-53.

• Truth and its relationship with reality: Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra 'Why truthmakers?' in Beebee & Dodd (eds) Truthmakers: The Contemporary Debate, 2005, OUP.

• The role of representation in thought and language: Simon Blackburn, 'The Steps from Doing to Saying’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 110, 2010, 1-13

• Deflationary theories of truth and their impact on metaphysics: Paul Horwich, ‘Being and Truth’, Midwest Studies in Philosophy 32 (2008), 258-273

• Representation and its relationship to metaphysics: Huw Price, 2011, Naturalism Without Mirrors, introduction (OUP)

PHIL0075 20th Century Philosophy

Module Leader: Mark Kalderon

Level: 6

Term: 1

Area: C

Assessment: One essay (3,500 words)

Day / Time: Wednesday 10-12noon (N.B. Shared with Graduate Students)

20th Century Philosophy is dedicated to reading great if neglected texts of the twentieth century. The text varies year by year. This year we shall be reading Iris Murdoch's Sovereignty of the Good. This work was inspired by Someone Weil’s reflections on the ethical significance of attention and in turn inspired aspects of John McDowell’s ethics.

PHIL0076 Philosophy and Public Policy

Module Leader: Sarah Richmond

Level: 6

Term: 2

Area: B

Assessment: Group report (10,000 words=50%), Essay one (1,500 word=25%s), Essay two (500 words=25%)

Day / Time: Tuesday 10-12noon

This is a relatively new module in the Department, designed to be innovative in terms of the learning tasks and assessment. Essentially, students will be required to work in teams to produce a joint report on a pressing moral or political issue.  In effect each group will act as a mini think-tank, and will experience the pleasures and frustrations of group work, in contrast to the normal individual work of Philosophy.

Students will collectively decide on their research topic, and will have some level of autonomy over the team in, and topic on, which they work, although it is essential that everyone is assigned to a team.

The required report will be up to 10,000 words, to be delivered at the end of term, and could be on topics such as climate change, regulation of social media, single sex marriage, regulations of drugs, funding of reproductive medicine, freedoms of the press etc looking at empirical and policy literature as well as at philosophical arguments.

In addition to the collective report, students will, individually, be asked to produce an individual discussion of one philosophical idea related to the report (1500 words) and to write a short essay reflecting on the process of producing the report and their own place in it (1500 words).

The first week or two will discuss general methodology, topics and procedure, assigning people to teams and topics. Subsequent sessions will discuss progress on the report and next steps for each group, but the precise form they take will be dependent on the level of progress achieved and what the groups would find most helpful.

Background reading:

Jonathan Wolff, Ethics and Public Policy: A Philosophical Inquiry (London: Routledge, 2011).

There are many publically available reports that students can consult including:

Nuffield Council: Ethics of Research in Developing Countries

http://nuffieldbioethics.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Ethics-of-resear...

Royal Society of Arts: Drugs - Facing Facts

https://www.thersa.org/discover/publications-and-articles/reports/illega...

The Leveson enquiry

PHIL0078 Formal Epistemology

Module Leader: Luke Fenton-Glynn

Level: 6

Term: 2

Area: A

Assessment: Essay (2,500 words), Exercise Set 1 (Approx 6 hours work), Exercise Set 2 (Approx 6 hours work)

Day / Time: Tuesday 11-1pm (N.B. Shared with Graduate Students)

Our strength of beliefs influence our decision making. But how should we measure strength of belief, and what rational constraints are there on one's strength of belief? How should one's strengths of belief change in response to evidence? And how exactly ought one's strength of beliefs feed through into rational decision making?

These are the central questions that will be tackled in this module, where students will be introduced to the probabilistic representation of strength of belief, arguments for the rationality of probabilistic degrees of belief, arguments for various rational constraints on those beliefs - including constraints concerning belief updates in response to evidence - and to decision theory.

Formal epistemology is an increasingly important area of philosophy, and its influence on other areas of philosophy (traditional epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of action, metaphysics, ethics, and political philosophy) has been profound. The field is also strongly interdisciplinary, with cross-overs into economics, statistics, computer science, and political science.

Key Text

Bradley, D. (2015): A Critical Introduction to Formal Epistemology (Bloomsbury).

Background Reading

Bradley, D. (2015): A Critical Introduction to Formal Epistemology (Bloomsbury).

Fenton-Glynn, L. (2015): ‘A Simple Introduction to Probability’ < https://www.academia.edu/12094718/A_Simple_Introduction_to_Probability>.

Nozick, R. (1970): 'Newcomb's Problem and Two Principles of Choice', in N. Rescher et al. (eds.) Essays in Honor of Carl G. Hempel (Dordrecht: Reidel).

Topic 1: Overview & Introduction to Probability

Topic 2: The Probabilistic Representation of Degrees of Belief

Topic 3: Conditionalization

Topic 4: Prior Probabilities

Topic 5: Chance and Credence

Topic 6: Reflection & Disagreement

Topic 7: The Problem of Old Evidence

Topic 8: Knowledge & Probability

Topic 9: Epistemic & Causal Decision Theory

Topic 10: Imprecise Probabilities

PHIL0079 Advanced Topics on Moral Philosophy: Responsibility, Luck and Excuses

Module Leader: Ulrike Heuer

Level: 6

Term: 1

Area: B

Assessment: Essay (3,500 words)

Day / Time: Monday 10-12noon (N.B. Shared with Graduate Students)

We will explore theories of responsibility, in particular their explanations of its grounds, its scope and its limits. We will also discuss some fundamental skeptical challenges to the practice of holding ourselves and others responsible. In light of these general considerations, we will then examine more specific topics, such as responsibility for attitudes, moral luck, blameworthiness, excuses and collective responsibility. The aim of the module is to develop an understanding of the nature of responsibility, and the resources and problems of contemporary approaches.

 Introductory readings:

• R. Jay Wallace, Responsibility and the Moral Sentiments, Cambridge (Mass.): Harvard University Press 1996.

• Susan Wolf, Freedom Within Reason, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1990.

• Daniel Statman (ed), Moral Luck, SUNY Press 1993.

PHIL0081 Topics in Moral Psychology

Module Leader: Douglas Lavin

Level: 6

Term: 2

Area: B

Assessment: Essay (3,500 words)

Day / Time: Thursday 3-5pm (N.B. Shared with Graduate Students)

Investigation of a familiar and puzzling elements of moral life, e.g., promising, forgiveness, authority, pride/shame, pleasure, respect/humiliation, self-control, love and friendship, competitiveness. Topics and texts may differ year to year.

For more information please email d.lavin@ucl.ac.uk

PHIL0083 Dissertation

Module Leader: Various

Level: 6

Term: 1 and 2

Area: A, B, or C

Assessment: 8,000-word essay

Day / Time: N/A

The dissertation module is an optional module that can only be taken in your final year of study. Enrolment requires approval by the Departmental Tutor. The dissertation is a 8,000-word essay on a philosophical topic of your choosing, subject to the availability of a member of staff with appropriate expertise to supervise it, and approval by the Departmental Tutor. Tuition involves four one-hour sessions of one-on-one supervision by a member of staff. The module is taken over the course of Term 1 & Term 2. The research will be self-directed, though with the guidance of your supervisor. The dissertation submission deadline is 1st day of 3rd term by 4.00 pm.

PHIL0084 Guided Research Module

Module Leader: Various

Level: 6

Term: 0

Area: A, B, or C

Assessment: Essay (4,500 words)

Day / Time: N/A

Module Aims: To provide students with an understanding of an area of current philosophical research and to offer them the opportunity of engaging in the methodology of philosophical research practiced in leading research universities in the world. The student should gain experience of the method of study and instruction expected of a graduate student in the first years of a research degree. Intended Learning Outcomes: The student will produce a significant piece of writing in the relevant research area. The student will gain an understanding of the key issues in that area of the discipline, and will encounter some of the core classical readings and/or some of the most important recent literature on the topic. They will gain an understanding of research methods in philosophy. Module Structure: Students who meet the eligibility criteria outlined below can, subject to space and with approval of the Departmental Tutor and the module leader, select a graduate-level module from among the options on the department website: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/philosophy/current-students/research-programmes/mp...

Tuition: Students will attend all seminars for the module that they select. In recognition of the fact that graduate-level courses are more demanding than undergraduate courses, undergraduates taking the Guided Research Module (GRM) will receive additional support in the form of three tutorials (i.e. small group meetings) with the leader of the graduate module. Assessment: Students will complete a summative essay of the same length as the graduate students (4,500 words) due for submission on the first day of the term following the term in which the module is taken. Eligibility and Selection: To be eligible for the GRM students must have a weighted average of at least 65 in the modules they have taken in their first and second year (modules taken in the second year are weighted three times as heavily as first year modules). A maximum of two undergraduate students may take each of the modules listed above (this may be fewer if the module is oversubscribed, since graduate students will be given priority). In the event that more than two undergraduates with a weighted average of 65 or above apply to take the same graduate module (or more than one if there’s only space for one undergraduate on the module), then the students with the highest weighted averages will be selected.

PHIL0085 Advanced Tutorials

Module Leader: Various

Level: 6

Term: 2

Area: A, B, or C

Assessment: Participation in class (10%)

Presentations (15%)

Essay (3000 words = 75%)

Day / Time: N/A

This module is designed to allow students to build on their introductory tutorial module. Students will discuss a variety of central philosophical texts on fundamental topics in a broad area of their choice. The module will allow them to enhance their skills in philosophical discussion, oral presentation and essay writing. Students will be placed in tutorial groups of two to four students, ensuring that everyone has a chance to participate in debate, and to receive feedback on their oral presentations and written work during the course. The texts studied will be selected by the course tutor in consultation with the module convenor.

Students enrolled in the 3rd Year Tutorial Module, are asked to nominate their top two preferences for the kind of philosophy to be studied in the module, either Theoretical Philosophy (A), Practical Philosophy (B), or Historical Philosophy (C). The Department will endeavour to allocate students to one of their top two preferences, wherever possible. Students will be allocated to an instructor (a Postgraduate Teaching Assistant), and in the first week of class (or possibly in the week before), will be given a syllabus and reading list. During the semester students will in alternate weeks present or read aloud draft essays (of about 2000 words) to the small group, in response to the overarching topic and in light of the reading list. The group will then discuss the work critically and offer suggestions for improvement, or indicate further questions or lines of inquiry. The assessment will be a 3,000 word essay produced as a result of the draft essays discussed during the semester.

PHIL0129 Worlds, Sentences and Measures

Module Leader: Daniel Rothschild

Level: 6

Term: 1

Area: A

Assessment: 2Hr Exam (60%) and Problem sets (40%)

Day / Time: Thursday 10-12noon (N.B. Shared with Graduate Students)

This module gives an introduction to set theory, the use of possible worlds in philosophy, probability theory, non-classical logics, and modal logic. Our main text for the logic side of the module is Sider, Logic for Philosophy (2010).  A basic knowledge of first-order (predicate) logic is presupposed and some familiarity with basic metalogical results (e.g. soundness and completeness) will also be helpful.  A main component of the module is weekly problem sets on which collaboration is encouraged.

PHIL0160 Philosophy of Space and Time

Module Leader: Luke Fenton-Glynn

Level: 6

Term: 2

Area: A

Assessment: Essay (3500 Words) (A6U)

Day / Time: Tuesday 2-4pm (N.B. Shared with Graduate Students)

Students will study the key philosophical issues relating to space and time. When it comes to the philosophy of space, the module will focus upon the longstanding debate between absolutists and relationalists about space, considering the key arguments on both sides of what has been a key philosophical debate ever since Early Modern times. We'll look at various conceptions of the nature of space, from the Euclidean conception of space to the Galilean, Special Relativistic, and finally General Relativistic conceptions of spacetime. Next, we'll move on to discuss how contemporary physics bears upon philosophical questions about the nature of time (e.g. Does only the present exist?). Finally, we'll examine the direction of time and the possibility of time travel.

Key Reading

Maudlin, T. (2012): Philosophy of Physics: Space and Time (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press)

Further Readings

Dainton, B. (2014): Space and Time, 2nd Ed. (Abingdon: Routledge)

Sider, T. (2001): Four-Dimensionalism (Oxford: OUP)

Norton, J. (2007): Einstein for Everyone (Pittsburgh: Nullarbor Press)

Albert, D. (2000): Time and Chance (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press)

Alexander, H. (1977): The Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence (Manchester: Manchester University Press)

Topic 1: Absolute Space and the Bucket Experiment

Topic 2: The Leibniz-Clarke Debate

Topic 3: Galilean Relativity

Topic 4: Special Relativity I

Topic 5: Special Relativity II

Topic 6: General Relativity & the Hole Argument

Topic 7: The Metaphysics of Time

Topic 8: Special Relativity & The Metaphysics of Time

Topic 9: Time Travel

Topic 10: The Direction of Time

Sample Questions: Could there be space without anything in it? Could there be time without change? Is it possible that the whole material universe should have been located 1 mile away from where it actually is? Does Special Relativity imply that spacetime is not absolute? Is the possibility of time travel a matter for physics or for philosophy? What accounts for the direction of time?

PHIL0162 The Self in Classical Indian Philosophy

Module Leader: Nilanjan Das

Level: 6

Term: 1

Area: C

Assessment: (i) attendance and participation (10%), (ii) 5 short fortnightly writing assignments (10%), and (iii) a summative essay (3500 words for undergraduate students)

Day / Time: Tuesday 10-12noon (N.B. Shared with Graduate Students)

In this course, we will consider debates about the nature of the self in classical Indian philosophy. We will look at two Buddhist theories of the self: reductionism and anti-realism. We will then examine some arguments that the non-Buddhists---especially, the Nyāya philosophers---gave against these theories. Along the way, we will also discuss some of the questions that these debates raise in epistemology and ethics: for example, whether our memories give us any reason to believe in an enduring self, and whether denying the existence of the self can help us justify altruism.

PHIL0164 Consequentialism, Kantianism, and the Ideal World

Module Leader: Joe Horton

Level: 6

Term: 1

Area: B

Assessment: Essay (3500 Words)

Day / Time: Thursday 2-4pm (N.B. Shared with Graduate Students)

Consequentialism and Kantianism are two of the most influential theories of morality. In this module, we consider their various formulations, their strengths and weaknesses, and the distance between them. We pay particular attention to a recent argument from Derek Parfit, which holds that the best versions of these theories are extensionally equivalent.

Sample Reading

• Peter Railton, ‘Alienation, Consequentialism, and the Demands of Morality’, Philosophy & Public Affairs 13 (1984): 134–171

• Onora O’Neill, Constructions of Reason (Cambridge University Press, 1989): Chapter 5

• Derek Parfit, On What Matters (Oxford University Press, 2011): Chapter 12

Module Assessment

The module is assessed by a summative essay. For BA students, the maximum length is strictly 3500 words. For MA students, the maximum length is strictly 4000 words. For MPhil students, the maximum length is strictly 4500 words.

Essay questions are provided, but students may also formulate their own questions.

Students are strongly encouraged to write a formative essay, which is due around the end of week 8. The formative essay is intended to serve as a draft of the summative and should therefore answer the same question. The maximum length is strictly 2000 words.

PHIL0175 Gödel's Incompleteness Theorems

Module Leader: Lavinia Picollo

Level: 6

Term: 1

Area: A

Assessment: 5 problem sets in total worth 20% each

Day / Time: Thursday 2-4pm (N.B. Shared with Graduate Students)

The course consists in a detailed exposition of Gödel's First Incompleteness Theorem and its proof. Students will be introduced to first-order axiomatic theories, first-order arithmetic, enumerability, recursivity, definability and representability, models of arithmetic and arithmetical truth, the arithmetical hierarchy, Gödel's coding technique, the Diagonal Lemma, and Gödel sentences.

PHIL0182 Metametaphysics

Module Leader: Tim Button

Level: 6

Term: 1

Area: A

Assessment: 2000 word essay (50%) and 2hr examination (term 3 - 50%)

Day / Time: Tuesday 3-5pm

Our central question is Kant’s: Is metaphysics possible at all, and if so, how? We will focus on the post-Quinean answer: Metaphysics is possible, because it is continuous with science.

We will consider how the orthodoxy came about, looking at Quine and Lewis. We will then explore some criticisms of the orthodoxy, due to Carnap, Putnam, Thomasson, and Hirsch. We will end the course by exploring some contemporary reactions to those criticisms which invoke notions like “structure”, “ground” and “fundamentality”.


In addition BA Philosophy students can take the following modules in ESPS (European Social and Political Studies) as Philosophy modules (i.e. do not count as a module from another department): 

Module codeTitleLevel AreaStaff Term
ESPS0020NietzscheLevel 5 CTom Stern
ESPS0022Why Democracy?Level 5BJanis Schaab2

For more information about the ESPS modules above please see the ESPS website.

In their second and third year, students can also take one or more of the following modules from the Science and Technology Studies (STS) Department as philosophy modules (i.e. not counting as modules from another department).
HPSC0004 Philosophy of Science 1 (Level 4; Area A; Term 2; available to second years only)
HPSC0014 Philosophy of Science 2 (Level 5; Area A; Term 1) 
HPSC0109 Philosophy of Medicine (Level 6; Area A; Term 2)
HPSC0050 Philosophy of Natural Sciences (Level 6; Area A; Term 1) 

For further details about these modules, see the STS Undergraduate Module Catalogue.

In their second and third year students can also take MATH0050 Logic as a philosophy module (i.e. not counting as a module from another department).

Information for UCL students from other departments:

The following modules can only be taken by students studying Philosophy degrees (Single and Combined Honours): PHIL0008: Philosophy Tutorials / PHIL0083 Dissertation/ PHIL0084 Guided Research Module and PHIL0085 Advanced Tutorials.

Registration for all modules is via Portico. Once Philosophy students have registered their modules spare places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

All modules are 15 credits except for the PHIL0083 Dissertation which is 30 credits. If the module has seminars these are automatically allocated via the common timetable to fit with your module choices once the module selection has been approved by both departments.