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MA Modules

UCL Philosophy Department information about MA Modules.

Below is a provisional list of modules due to be running in the 2018/19 academic year. Click on the titles below to see more information including a module description and sample / provisional syllabus. Module leader email addresses can be found via the staff pages:

For locations and exact times please use the UCL common timetable which will be updated early September.

PHIL0044 Aristotle's Moral Psychology

Module Leader: Fiona Leigh

Term: 2

Area: C

Level: 7

Shared: BA / MPhil

Assessment: Essay 4000 words

Proposed Day / Time: Tuesdays 2-4pm

Description: The course focuses on Aristotle's philosophy of mind and moral psychology. After an brief introduction in the first week to the central tenets of his metaphysics and epistemology, the course 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. 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

Term:  2

Area:  A

Level: 7

Shared: BA / MPhil 

Assessment: Essay 4000 words

Proposed Day / Time: Tuesdays 12-2pm

Description: 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 Class in the Philosophy of Mind

Module Leader: Lucy O'Brien

Term: 2

Area: A

Level: 7

Shared: BA / MPhil

Assessment: Essay 4000 words

Proposed Day / Time: Mondays 11-1pm

Description: This module is concerned to explore the ways in which subjects are conscious of themselves. The first six weeks will be concerned to consider and critically evaluate a number of distinct approaches to the ways in which we come to know our own psychological lives. The first three weeks (Section I) will focus on knowledge of belief, and the next three weeks (Section II) will focus on knowledge of action. In both subsections of the course a perceptual account of our knowledge of our beliefs and actions will be contrasted with what we might called practical account of self-knowledge. An inferential model as an alternative to both will also be considered. In the last week of Section II (on Libet) students will be presented with arguments from the neuroscience literature that aim to suggest that actions are not in fact brought about by the decisions or intentions of agents - but are automatically produced. The conclusiveness of these arguments will be evaluated and more recent work in neuroscience suggesting hat Libet's original conclusions will be reviewed. The final section of the course (Section III) will be concerned to explore the nature and significance of a different kind of consciousness we have of ourselves, that is a consciousness mediated by the consciousness of other people. Interpersonal self-consciousness is a consciousness of ourselves as the object of consciousness of another. The course will consider the nature of such consciousness and will argue that it should be play an important role in our theory of the self-conscious emotions. The emotion of shame will be a case study. The course will end by considering the ways in which human beings can induce and escape such interpersonal self-consciousness. Reduced Syllabus:

Section I

Week 1. Self-Knowledge and Belief - Introduction and Perceptual Models

Key Readings:

David Armstrong, A Materialist Theory of Mind pp.323-7, 333-8. Chapter VI, 'Introspection' of Self-Knowledge, Cassam (ed).

Sydney Shoemaker, The Royce Lectures: 'Self-Knowledge and "Inner Sense"' (I and II) his First Person Perspective and Other Essays.

Week 2. Self-Knowledge and Belief - Transparency Models

Moran, R. Authority and Estrangement, Chapters 3 and 4.

O'Brien, L. 'Moran on Agency and Self-Knowledge', European Journal of Philosophy, 11: 375-390.

Byrne, A (2011) 'Transparency and Self-Knowledge - I' Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volume, Vol 85.1

Week 3. Self-Knowledge and Belief - Inferential Models

Ryle, G. The Concept of Mind, p.160-73, 177-89, Chapter 1. 'Self-Knowledge' of Self-Knowledge, Cassam (ed).

Cassam, Q. (2010-11) 'Knowing What You Believe' Aristotelian Society, Proceedings, Vol 111.1

Cassam, Q. Self-Knowledge for Humans, Chapter 11.

Section II

Week 4. Self-knowledge and Action - Retrospective Models: Observation and Proprioception

O'Brien, L. 'On Knowing One's Own Actions' in Agency and Self-Awareness (eds) Eilan and Roessler.

Danto, A.C. (1963), 'What We Can Do', Journal of Philosophy LX

Donnellan, K. (1963) 'Knowing What I am Doing' Journal of Philosophy LX

O'Shaughnessy, B. (1963), 'Observation and the Will', Journal of Philosophy LX

Marcel, A. "The Sense of Agency: Awareness and Ownership of Action", in J. Roessler and N. Eilan (eds.) Agency and Self-Awareness (2003) (Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp. 48-93.

Haggard, P. 'Conscious Awareness of Intention and Action' in J. Roessler and N. Eilan (eds.) Agency and Self-Awareness (2003) (Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp. 48-93.

Week 5. Self-knowledge and Action - Prospective Models: Intentions and Tryings

Velleman, J.D. Practical Reflection, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press

Dunn, R. (1998) 'Knowing What I'm About To Do Without Evidence', International Journal of Philosophical Studies Vo. 6 (2) 231-252

K Setiya (2008) 'Practical Knowledge', Ethics, Vol 118:3, p..

Week 6. Self-Knowledge and Action, Inferential Models and Acting on Reason

Paul, S. "How we know what we're doing" Philosophers' Imprint vol. 9, no. 11, October 2009

Anscombe, G.E.M. Intention

Anscombe, G. E.M. (1963), 'Two Kinds of Error in Action', Journal of Philosophy LX

Week 7. Actions without agency? Libet

Libet, Benjamin W. (1999). Do we have free will? Journal of Consciousness Studies 6:47-57.

Wegner, Daniel M. (2003). The mind's best trick: how we experience conscious will. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 65-69.

Bayne, T. 'Libet and the Case for Free Will Scepticism' in Swinburne, Richard, editor(s). Free Will and Modern Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 25-46. . Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2011. p. 25-46. Link: www.philosophy.ox.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/.../free_will_web.pdf

Section III:

Week 8: Interpersonal Self-Consciousness

L. O'Brien, 'Ordinary Self-Consciousness' in Liu and Perry (eds) Consciousness and the Self.

U. Neisser, (1988) 'Five kinds of self-knowledge'. Philosophical Psychology, 1, 35-59.(

C. Peacocke, 'Interpersonal Self-Consciousness', Philosophical Studies (2014) 170: 25-38

M. Lewis, (1991) Ways of Knowing: Objective self-awareness or consciousness, Developmental Review, 11.3: 231-243.

B. Fredrickson and T. Roberts, 'Objectification Theory: Towards Understanding Women's Lived Experiences and Mental Health'. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 21.2:173-206

Week 9: Self-Conscious Emotions: Shame and Embarrassment

C. Darwin, The expression of the emotions in man and animals: Chap. X. (Hatred And Anger); Chap. XI (Disdain-Contempt-Disgust-Guilt-Pride, Etc.-Helplessness-Patience-Affirmation And Negation.)

M. Lewis, (1995) 'Embarrassment: The Emotion of Self-Exposure and Self-Evaluation' in J.P. Tangney, J.P. and Fischer, K.W. (eds.) Self-conscious Emotions: the Psychology of Shame, Guilt, Embarrassment and Pride. (pp.192-218) New York: Guildford Press.

L. Purshouse, 'Embarrassment: A Philosophical Analysis', Philosophy (2001) 76: 515-540.

G. Taylor, Pride, Shame and Guilt, Chapter 3

J.D. Velleman, 'The Genesis of Shame' Philosophy and Public Affairs (2001) 30.1: 27-52.

B. Williams, Shame and Necessity, Chapter IV, 'Shame and Autonomy'.

Week10: Self-Consciousness: Inducing and Avoiding

Morgan, D. and O'Brien, L. (2016) "Getting Out of Your Head: Addiction and the Motive of Self-escape', Mind and Language.

J.G. Hull, 'A self-awareness model of the causes and effects of alcohol consumption.'

W. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk, Chapter 1.

J. Stuewig & J. Price Tangney, 'Shame and Guilt in Antisocial and Risky Behaviours, in J.L. Tracy, R.W. Robins & J. Price Tangney (eds.) The Self-Conscious Emotions: Theory and Research.

PHIL0050 Ancient Philosophy

Module Leader: Fiona Leigh

Term:  2

Area:  C

Level: 7

Shared: MPhil 

Assessment: Essay 4000 words

Proposed Day / Time: Thursdays 11-1pm

Description: The course will focus on Plato's later dialogue, the Sophist, and Fiona Leigh's draft manuscript of a new reading of this dialogue, from start to finish. Issues and topics to be addressed include what is involved in giving a philosophical definition of a kind, the ontological status of mimetic representations, modes of being, the comparative status of Forms and participants, and the nature of falsehood. Some of the central claims to be defended will be that the method of collection and division and the more analytic method of dialectic are compatible, Forms are treated as causes, not universals, in the dialogue, and not-being is analysed as equivalent to difference.

PHIL0059 Philosophy, Politics and Economics of Health

Module Leader: James Wilson

Term: 1

Area: B

Level: 7

Shared: MPhil

Assessment: Essay 4000 words

Proposed Day / Time: Mondays 2-4pm

Description: This module examines some central ethical ethical, economic and political problems facing health policy in the UK and abroad, especially in relation to social justice. Topics covered include: how to allocate healthcare resources (e.g. should the NHS cover all new drug treatments, regardless of how expensive they are? Who should decide?); the appropriate role of the state in protecting and promoting health (e.g. should smoking be banned?); when inequalities in health and life expectancy are unfair; and special challenges posed by infectious diseases.

Reading list:

http://readinglists.ucl.ac.uk/lists/61838DC6-8AAC-8CC6-EB87-03AD836153E4.html

PHIL0061 Metaphysics of Science

Module Leader: Luke Fenton-Glynn

Term: 1 

Area: A 

Level: 7

Shared: BA / MPhil  

Assessment: Essay 4000 words

Proposed Day / Time: Tuesdays 12-2pm

Description: 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:

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

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

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

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

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

• Woodward, J. (2005): Making Things Happen (Oxford: OUP)

Provisional syllabus

Topic 1. Causation, Regularities, and Counterfactuals

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

• 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 the world?

• 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?

PHIL0067 Free Speech and Theories of Autonomy

Module Leader: Robert Simpson

Term: 1

Area: B

Level: 7

Shared: BA / MPhil

Assessment: Essay 4000 words

Proposed Day / Time: Wednesdays 10-12pm

Description: In this module we will examine the various conceptions of 'autonomy' that have been appealed to by philosophers and legal theorists as part of a defense of free speech principles. We will also survey some influential conceptions of autonomy that have been espoused by moral philosophers. Our overarching aim will be to consider how successful an autonomy-based defense of free speech is, or could be, and what the most persuasive or promising form of such a defense might involve.

PHIL0068 Metaethics

Module Leader: Matthew Simpson

Term: 2

Area: B

Level: 7

Shared: BA / MPhil

Assessment: Essay 4000 words

Proposed Day / Time: Fridays 2-4pm

Description: 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-Landu, ed. Oxford Studies in Metaethics (several volumes available, all contain relevant material.)

 

PHIL0070 Representation and Reality

Module Leader: Matthew Simpson

Term: 1

Area: A

Level: 7

Shared: BA / MPhil 

Assessment: Essay 4000 words

Proposed Day / Time: Friday 2-4pm

*** 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.***

Description: 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 centre 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

• Modality and representing modal truths Amie Thomasson, 'Modal normativism and the methods of metaphysics' Philosophical Topics 35 (2007) 135-160

• 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)

PHIL0078 Formal Epistemology

Module Leader: Luke Fenton-Glynn

Term: 2

Area: A

Level: 7

Shared: BA / MPhil

Assessment: 2 Sets of exercises (15% each) and 1 essay (2500 wds - 70%)

Proposed Day / Time: Wednesdays 11-1pm

Description: 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 Texts

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

Topic 1: Overview & Introduction to Probability

Bradley, D. (2015): A Critical Introduction to Formal Epistemology (Bloomsbury), Introduction & Chapters 1-2.

Topic 2: The Probabilistic Representation of Degrees of Belief

Bradley, D. (2015): A Critical Introduction to Formal Epistemology (Bloomsbury), Chapter 3. (At this stage you can skip the Appendix, which is part of the key reading for Week 11.)

Topic 3: Conditionalization

Bradley, D. (2015): Formal Epistemology: A Critical Introduction (Bloomsbury), Chapter 4

Topic 4: Prior Probabilities

Bradley, D. (2015): A Critical Introduction to Formal Epistemology (Bloomsbury), Chapter 5.

Topic 5: Chance and Credence

Bradley, D. (2015): Formal Epistemology (Bloomsbury), Chapter 9.

Topic 6: Reflection & Disagreement

Bradley, D. (2015): Formal Epistemology (Bloomsbury), Chapter 10.

Topic 7: The Problem of Old Evidence

Bradley, D. (2015): Formal Epistemology (Bloomsbury), Chapter 11.

Topic 8: Knowledge & Probability

Bradley, D. (2015): Formal Epistemology (Bloomsbury), Chapter 13.

Topic 9: Epistemic & Causal Decision Theory

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). PDF Below.

Lewis, D. (1981): 'Causal Decision Theory', Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 59, No. 1, pp. 5-30.

Topic 10: Imprecise Probabilities

Bradley, D. (2015): Formal Epistemology (Bloomsbury), pp. 45-49.

Joyce, J. (2005): 'How Probabilities Reflect Evidence', Philosophical Perspectives, Vol. 19, pp. 153-178.

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

Module Leader: Ulrike Heuer

Term: 1

Area: B

Level: 7

Shared: BA / MPhil 

Assessment: Essay 4000 words

Proposed Day / Time: Mondays 10-12pm

Description: 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

Term: 2

Area: B

Level: 7

Shared: BA / MPhil

Assessment: Essay 4000 words

Proposed Day / Time: Thursdays 4-6pm

Description: 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

PHIL0086 Research Seminar: Practical reasons and agency

Module Leader: Ulrike Heuer

Term: 2

Area: B

Level: 7

Shared: MPhil

Assessment: Essay 4000 words

Proposed Day / Time: Tuesday 10-12pm

Description: We will read papers and chapters of books published in recent years. The topics may include questions regarding the nature of practical reasons and their relation to values, what it is to act for a reason, and how doing so relates to acting intentionally, as well as questions about the nature and the normativity of practical rationality.

PHIL0087 Research Seminar in Legal Philosophy

Module Leader: Robert Simpson

Terms: 2 and 3

Area: B 

Level: 7

Shared: MPhil  

Assessment: Essay 4000 words (76%) Written commentary and oral presentation on readings (500 words: 12%) and peer review of commentary (12%)

Proposed Day / Time: Tuesdays 3-6pm

Description: This module focuses on key topics in legal philosophy. It is intended for postgraduate students who have had prior experience in moral or political philosophy. Topics will vary by year, but may include obligation to obey the law, legal interpretation, constitutional theory, punishment, authority, etc.

PHIL0093 Research Seminar: 19th Century Philosophy

Module Leader: Tom Stern

Term: 2

Area: C

Level: 7

Shared: MPhil

Assessment: Essay 4000 words

Proposed Day / Time:

Description: This module is a research seminar in 19th Century Philosophy. Subject matter can vary year by year, but might include: the philosophy of Nietzsche, Hegel, Schopenhauer and related figures in the history of philosophy. In 2017/18, the focus of the class will be on Hegel's account of 'self-consciousness' in his Phenomenology of Spirit. This includes his account of recognition and the famous 'master-slave dialectic'.

PHIL0109 The Self in Early Analytic Philosophy 

Module Leader: Rory Madden

Term: 2 

Area: C 

Level: 7

Shared: MPhil  

Assessment: Essay 4000 words

Proposed Day / Time: Fridays 12-2pm

Description: Questions about the existence and nature of the ego, the possibility of self-acquaintance, and the meaning of 'I' occupied many influential figures in analytic philosophy in the first half of the twentieth century.  The aim of this module is to reach a critical understanding of some of the key texts and philosophical issues.The core readings range from Russell 1910-11 to Strawson 1959. More recent secondary readings will also be identified, as well as earlier empiricist influences such as Hume, Mach, and James

Reading for Week 1: Russell, B. 'Knowledge by Acquaintance and Knowledge by Description' *Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society* 1910-11

Further reading: 

* McTaggart, J. M. E. 1927 *The Nature of Existence Volume 2* ch. 36

* Broad, C.D. 1925 *Mind and Its Place in Nature* chs. 6 and 13.

* Wittgenstein, L. 1958 *The Blue and Brown Books* pp. 44-74

* Schlick, M. 1936 'Meaning and Verification' in *Philosophical Review*

* Grice, H.P. 1941 'Personal Identity' in *Mind*

* Strawson, P.F. 1959 *Individuals* ch. 3

PHIL0116 Research Seminar in Moral Philosophy: Profound Impairment

Module Leaders: Sarah Richmond & John Vorhaus

Term: 3

Area: B

Level: 7

Shared: MPhil

Assessment: Essay 4000 words

Proposed Day / Time: Tuesdays 11-1pm and more TBC

Description: This course will explore a series of questions in moral and political philosophy that apply to persons characterized by profound impairments, including people suffering from advanced dementia and people with profound and multiple learning difficulties and disabilities. Profound impairment raises a series of questions about the content and application of a set of moral and political concepts, including human dignity, respect for persons, personhood, capabilities, dependency, citizenship, rights, caring relationships and moral status. This last includes questions about the status of persons whose capacities and levels of functioning are broadly equivalent to or less extensive than those of other higher primates. Topics to be covered include some (but not necessarily all) of the following: Human dignity; Personhood; Respect for persons; Dependency; Capability and functioning; Citizenship; Rights; Caring relationships; Moral status; Autonomy; Disability (the social and medical models); Wittgensteinian ethics.

 

The following readings will give students an idea of the sort of literature we will be discussing on the course.

 

The online Stanford entry on "Cognitive Disability and Moral Status" .

These anthologies:

 

(Eds) Brownlee and Cureton (2009), Disability & Disadvantage (OUP: Oxford)

(Eds) Kittay and Carlson (2010), Cognitive Disability and Its Challenge to Philosophy (Wiley-Blackwell: Oxford)

(Eds) Francis and Silvers (2000), Americans with Disabilities (Routledge: New York)

PHIL0129 Worlds, Sentences and Measures

Module Leader: Daniel Rothschild

Term: 1

Area: A

Level: 7

Shared: BA / MPhil

Assessment: Problem Sets

Proposed Day / Time: Thursdays 10-12pm

Description: This module gives an introduction to set theory, the use of possible worlds in philosophy, probability theory, and modal logic.

PHIL0139 Research Seminar: Aggregation in Ethics

Module Leader: Joe Horton

Term: 2

Area: B

Level: 7

Shared: MPhil

Assessment: Essay 4000 words

Proposed Day / Time: Thursdays 2-4pm

Description: Is there any number of people you should save from a moderately large burden, such as paralysis, rather than saving one person from a very large burden, such as death? Is there any number of people you should save from a very small burden, such as a headache, rather than saving one person from a very large burden, such as death? If we answer 'no' and 'no', we accept a non-aggregative moral view-a view on which benefits and burdens cannot be interpersonally aggregated. If we answer 'yes' and 'no', we accept a partially aggregative moral view-a view on which benefits and burdens can sometimes be interpersonally aggregated. If we answer 'yes' and 'yes', we accept a fully aggregative moral view-a view on which benefits and burdens can always be interpersonally aggregated. In this course, we will consider which of these views we should accept.

 

- John M. Taurek, 'Should the Numbers Count?', Philosophy & Public Affairs 6 (1977): 293-316

- Frances Kamm, 'Nonconsequentialism', in Hugh LaFollette (ed.), The Blackwell Guide to Ethical Theory (Blackwell, 2000): 278-286

- Michael Otsuka, 'Saving Lives, Moral Theory, and the Claims of Individuals', Philosophy & Public Affairs 34 (2006): 109-135

- Alex Voorhoeve, 'How Should We Aggregate Competing Claims?', Ethics 125 (2014): 64-87

PHIL0142 Research Preparation in Philosophy 1

Module Leader: Ethan Nowak

Term: 1

Area: N/A

Level: 7

Shared: No

Assessment: Essay 4000 words

Proposed Day / Time: Wednesdays, time TBC

Description: This course will introduce UCL Philosophy Masters students to graduate study in philosophy and to philosophical discussion. Each week all students will have read in advance a classic piece of analytic philosophy, and one student will give an oral presentation to initiate a discussion of the reading, which is moderated by the convenor.

PHIL0143 Research Preparation in Philosophy 2

Module Leader: Ethan Nowak

Term: 2

Area: N/A

Level: 7

Shared: No

Assessment: 2hr Examination in term 3

Proposed Day / Time: Wednesdays, time TBC

Description: This course builds on Research Preparation in Philosophy 1 and continues to train UCL Philosophy MA students in the critical interpretation and analysis of philosophical texts, and in the practice of philosophical discussion. Each week is devoted to a different topic or problem, drawn from a variety of areas. Students are expected to complete the reading - usually two items, which may be classic papers or short historical texts - and to prepare their thoughts in advance. Two students give an oral presentation to initiate the discussion, which is moderated by the convenor, and to which all are expected to contribute.

PHIL0164 Consequentialism and Contractualism

Module Leader: Joe Horton

Term: 1

Area: B

Level: 7

Shared: BA / MPhil

Assessment: Essay 4000 words

Proposed Day / Time: Thursdays 1-3pm

Description: Consequentialism and Contractualism might be the two most influential theories of morality. In this course, we will consider the relative advantages of these theories, their various formulations, and the main problems that they face.

 

- Derek Parfit, Reasons and Persons (Oxford University Press, 1987): Chapter 1

- T. M. Scanlon, 'Contractualism and Utilitarianism', in Amartya Sen and Bernard Williams (eds.), Utilitarianism and Beyond (Cambridge University Press, 1982): 103-128

- Brad Hooker, 'Rule-Consequentialism', Mind 99 (1990), 67-77

PHIL0160 Philosophy of Space and Time

Module Leader: Luke Fenton-Glynn

Term: 2

Area: A

Level: 7

Shared: BA / MPhil 

Assessment: Essay 4000 words

Proposed Day / Time: Thursday 2-4pm

Description: 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 relativists about space considering the key arguments on both sides of what has been a key philosophical debate ever since Early Modern times. The module will then examine how the modern theory of Special Relativity suggests that time and space might be more similar than they first appear. When it comes to time, the module will address key questions concerning whether there are reasons to doubt the reality of time, the debate between the so-called A-theorists and B-theorists about time, as well as the debate between presentists, eternalists, and 'growing universe' theorists. The questions of what accounts for the direction of time and of how things persist through time will also be addressed.

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

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)

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

PHIL0165 The Philosophy of Climate Change

Module Leader: James Wilson

Term: 2

Area: B

Level: 7

Shared: BA / MPhil

Assessment: Essay 4000 words

Proposed Day / Time: Thursdays AM (time TBC)

Description: Climate change not only raises extremely important practical challenges, but a host of deep epistemic and ethical questions. We begin the module (weeks 1-2) by examining epistemological questions: looking at the state of the evidence, the epistemic status of climate change models, and whether climate change scepticism could (still) be reasonable. Week 3 aims to unpack what is distinctive about climate change as an ethical problem, and whether it presents in the words of Stephen Gardiner, a "perfect moral storm". Weeks 4-7 will be spent examining justice in carbon emissions, and individual responsibilities to mitigate climate change. The final three weeks will examine time discounting, the non-identity problem, and geoengineering.

Gardiner, Stephen, Simon Caney, Dale Jamieson and Henry Shue (eds.) Climate Ethics: Essential Readings (Oxford 2010). (Many of the course readings will be from this book)

Broome, John. Climate matters: Ethics in a warming world (Norton global ethics series). WW Norton & Company, 2012.

Gardiner, Stephen. "A Perfect Moral Storm: Climate Change, Intergenerational Ethics, and the Problem of Moral Corruption", Climate Ethics (above) pp. 87-100. Also in Environmental Values (2006): 397-413. <http://ww.hettingern.people.cofc.edu/Environmental_Philosophy_Sp_09/Gard...

Jamieson, Dale. Reason in a dark time: why the struggle against climate change failed--and what it means for our future. Oxford University Press, 2014.

Mulgan, Tim. Ethics for a Broken World: Imagining Philosophy After Catastrophe, Acumen Press, 2011

HHUMG003 Illness

Module Leader: James Wilson

Term: 1

Assessment: Essay 4000

This interdisciplinary module explores the experience of illness. It focuses in particular on tensions between subjective and objective, examining how rich and socially embedded interpretive responses to the experience of illness, can and should be brought into dialogue with biomedical, philosophical, and sociological understandings of the same phenomena.

The first half of the course focuses on the role of narrative in constituting selves and illness experiences. We examine some ways in which those living with illness construct narratives to give expression to their experiences, and what a focus experience and narratives adds to a more biomedical conception of illness. The second half focuses on the intersection between biology, power and culture in constructing responses to illness, examining ideas of care and suffering, disability, stigma, illness experiences that struggle to receive recognition from biomedical science, and living under genetic risk.