Typical Year One Modules
This module provides an introduction to modern logic including technical vocabulary required to aide your understanding of modern philosophical work. You’ll discuss the symbolism of modern logic, the theory of the structure of thought and practice translation between symbolism and English. You’ll have two hours per week of lectures studying this module.
Appearance and Reality
In this module you’ll examine some of the central themes surrounding the work of John Locke, one of the first philosophers who sought to integrate philosophy with our modern scientific worldview. Topics covered include: empiricism and science, perception, justification and scepticism and the nature of objects among others. You’ll have two hours of lectures and on some weeks an hour-long lecture with an hour-long seminar on other weeks throughout the semester.
Introduction to Ethics
This module introduces you to some of the main ethical questions studied by philosophers. The first part focuses on some contemporary moral problems (for example, the justification of punishment). The second part of the course looks at some normative ethical theories and concepts that provide ways of approaching such moral problems. The third part of the course considers some challenges to the idea of systematic moral inquiry (such as relativism, egoism and emotivism). You’ll spend four hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Reasoning and Argument: An Introduction to Philosophical Method
In this module you’ll learn a series of key skills needed to follow critical methods of philosophical inquiry. The aim is to help you understand the structure and nature of arguments of others and improve your reasoning ability to assist you in your further studies during your course. You’ll have two hours of lectures some weeks and an hour-long lecture with an hour-long seminar on other weeks throughout the semester.
Self, Mind and Body
In this module you’ll be introduced to the important central issues in philosophy of self, mind and body which continue to be debated to present day. You’ll examine Descarte’s Meditations focusing on his thoughts on dualism and mind-body interaction, comparing these with other related topics. You’ll have two hours of lectures some weeks and a hour-long lecture with an hour-long seminar on others throughout the semester.
You must choose three out of these four modules
Language and Context
This module is concerned with main forms and functions of English vocabulary, grammar and discourse and exploring how they are used in real social and cultural contexts. You’ll look at how language is used for different purposes and how people use language to reveal and conceal social realities as well other topics surrounding language and context. For this module you’ll have a one 1-hour lecture, seminar and workshop per week.
Beginnings of English
You’ll be introduced to the language, literature and culture of medieval England and study texts from the Old and Middle English. In this module you’ll familiarise yourself with philological knowledge needed for the reading and understanding of medieval texts. In addition you will be introduced to the basics of grammar and spelling conventions. For this module you’ll have two 1-hour lectures and one 1-hour seminar per week.
In this module you’ll be introduced to some of the core skills necessary for studying literary studies such as reading, writing, researching and presentation. You’ll also address topics including: close reading, constructing an argument as well as other related topics. For this mod ule you’ll have a combination of lectures and seminars.
Introduction to Drama
For this module you’ll explore the variety of drama in the western dramatic tradition. You’ll consider some of the following: theatre of ancient Greece, medieval mystery and morality plays, the drama of Shakespeare and the restoration, 19th century tradition to name a select amount. For this module you’ll study selected plays but also explore 20th century interpretations of the texts through use of video extracts. For this module you’ll have a combination of seminars and lectures.
What is the moral status of animals? What are the limits of free speech? What are the moral issues when discussing abortion? Is affirmative action unjust? In this module you will be looking at these and other issues that arise when we try to put ethics into practice. You’ll have two hours of lectures some weeks and a hour-long lecture with an hour-long seminar on others throughout the semester.
The Existence of God
This module will examine the basic philosophical issues that concern the existence of God. The lectures will cover such topics including: Cosmological Argument, the Ontological Argument, the Design Argument, and the Problem of Evil. You’ll spend four hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.
This module will discuss a number of problems tackled by Plato. Attention will be given to the development of the theory of the forms, but we will be working towards an understanding of the motivations for the development of this theory which may be found in his moral/political philosophy. You’ll have two hours of lectures for some weeks and an hour-long lecture in others with an hour-long seminar throughout the semester.
Issues in Feminist Philosophy
This module will provide an introduction to some of the issues discussed in contemporary feminist philosophy, considering a range of sometimes opposing feminist views on topics including: pornography, feminine appearance, and gender roles within the family and in the workplace. You’ll also examine the ways in which feminist writers have shown that matters not traditionally considered political do in fact have political significance. You’ll have two hours of lectures some weeks and a hour-long lecture with an hour-long seminar on others throughout the semester.
History of Western Philosophy
Through considering some of the greatest thinkers who have ever lived, you will become familiar with some of the main philosophical ideas which have shaped western analytical philosophy. You will understand how and why these ideas arose and the context in which they were developed. The thinkers which could be covered include: Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, St Augustine, St Aquinas, Hume, among others. You’ll spend four hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Typical Year Two Modules
The Nature of Meaning
The module begins with an exploration of various theories of naming, paying particular attention to the works of Frege, Russell, and Kripke. We then turn our attention to various puzzles concerning the nature of meaning, including the distinction between analytic and synthetic sentences. In the final part of the module, we move on to a discussion of some of the mainstream theories of meaning; particularly, a truth-conditional semantics, and we explore how this might be developed to take into account indexical terms such as `I', `now', and `here'. You’ll have a weekly two hour lecture and one hour seminar.
Freedom and Obligation
This module combines consideration of the political philosophy of Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and J.S. Mill with related themes in contemporary debates. The module is designed to introduce you to each of the thinkers and then to consider how related issues are treated by contemporary writers. You’ll have a weekly two hour lecture and one hour seminar.
Mind and Consciousness
This module aims to introduce you to some of the major issues within contemporary philosophy of mind. We will examine four topics and the interactions between them: intentionality, consciousness, mental causation and the status of physicalism. You’ll have a weekly two hour lecture and one hour seminar.
Knowledge and Justification
This module explores contemporary treatments of issues pertaining to knowledge and the justification of belief. It addresses issues such as the following: the structure of justification and its relation to one's mental states and evidence; the justification of induction; the notion of a priori justification and the relation between your evidence and what you know, among others. You’ll have two hours of lectures some weeks and a hour-long lecture with an hour-long seminar on others throughout the semester.
You’ll gain an in-depth understanding of the main positions in contemporary normative ethics; their variations, strengths, weaknesses and historical precedents. You’ll have a weekly two hour lecture and one hour seminar.
Being, Becoming and Reality
In this module you’ll discuss several advance topics in metaphysics. The module will cover a broad range of topics including existence, nothingness and truthmaking, and truthmakers. Theories of substance, identity, constitution and composition will be explored, among others to enhance the skills required to carry out research in philosophy. The teaching will be delivered through a mixture of lectures and seminars.
You must choose three modules in English covering at least two of the following areas:
Literature 1500 to the present
Each of the modules offered will provide a comprehensive introduction to the changes in the genres of prose, poetry and drama across the period studied, placing the works encountered in the context of key aesthetic, social and political/historical contexts.
English language and applied linguistics
Building on the study of English language undertaken in year one, your second year language modules provide the exciting opportunity for you to explore aspects of language use in the mind, in society and in literature.
Medieval languages and literatures
You can choose to pursue one or more of the medieval areas introduced in year one, or you can opt to study a new but related area. In all cases you will develop your understanding of language change and variety, registers, styles, modes and genres, as they appear in medieval texts, and become more expert in reading with reference to wider medieval cultures.
Drama and performance
Year two modules provide the opportunity to develop approaches from the first year by studying 20th and 21st-century theatre; by exploring key critical approaches to drama in theory and practice, and by focusing on a key period in the development of our nation’s theatre.
For a sample of typical modules from each area please see our single honours BA English listing.
Typical Year Three Modules
Free Will and Action
This module aims to examine some of the main philosophical issues concerning the nature and explanation of action and the requirements for free action and free will. You’ll conduct a study of some formative works and some recent contributions to the debates on these topics. Through a critical study of these topics, your skills in the analysis, evaluation, and presentation of arguments will also be enhanced. You’ll have two hours of lectures plus an hour-long seminar weekly.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty is associated with the philosophical movements of existentialism and phenomenology. Almost all of his work is concerned with one central question: how should we conceive of consciousness and the world? He holds that our current conceptions are flawed; his aim is to show us this and provide new ones. You will focus on Merleau-Ponty’s Phenomenology of Perception, where much of his discussion revolves around his notion of the body as subject, and consciousness as essentially embodied. The teaching will be delivered through a mixture of lectures and seminars.
An Introduction to Contemporary Meta-Ethics
This module will take a detailed look at the main arguments and themes in contemporary metaethics. It will trace the development of contemporary debates in metaethics from their beginnnings in the work of G. E. Moore up to the most recent arguments between naturalism and non-naturalism, cognitivism and non-cognitivism. You'll have a two hour lecture and one hour seminar each week.
Philosophy of Art
This module aims to promote a deeper understanding of philosophical issues pertaining to art. By the end of the module, you should be able to discuss and evaluate different views of the expressive power of art, to explain certain current view on expression and representation, and to present the main contemporary viewpoints pertaining to the nature of artworks. You’ll have a two hour lecture and one hour seminar each week.
In this module you’ll be introduced to the theories of Karl Marx through selected texts from his works. Topics covers will include: alienation, the material conception of history, the labour theory of value and French political theory among others. You’ll gain an understanding of concepts essential for advanced study on this course.
This module will take a detailed look at one of the main topics of contemporary analytical political philosophy: the theory of distributive justice. This theory attempts to specify abstractly the conditions under which a distribution of benefits and burdens amongst a group of persons would be just. You will consider challenges to the legitimacy of any redistributive principle, and attempts to accommodate values such as responsibility and choice in different patterns of distribution. You’ll have a two hour lecture and one hour seminar each week.
The module will focus on a critical examination of core aspects of Buddhist thinking, with emphasis on some of its basic psychological, spiritual, and metaphysical conceptions. These include, in particular: the origin and nature of suffering, the no-self thesis, enlightenment, consciousness, experiential knowing, and the doctrine of Emptiness ( the lack of inherent nature in all things and impermanence). The module will focus particularly on Nâgârjuna’s philosophy of the ‘middle way’ and some modern commentaries on it. The module will approach Buddhism as a philosophical world-view, rather than as a religious one. The module will not be involved in detailed exegesis of ancient texts. When possible the module will try to link Buddhist conceptions to contemporary ideas about personhood, consciousness and the fundamental nature of reality. You will have a mixture of seminars and lectures for this module.
The final year is when all the different strands of your teaching and learning experience as an undergraduate culminate in the opportunity to demonstrate and apply all the different kinds of skills you have acquired in researching a topic, extended analysis of specialist themes and areas, and in independent study.
You will have the opportunity to study a range of authors, genres, linguistic approaches, and textual forms and contexts, in both national and international contexts, thinking about English in the broadest possible terms. You will also have the opportunity to specialise in areas for which you have developed genuine aptitude and passion during your undergraduate career.
The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. This list is an example of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.