All modules are optional and you can weight your weight your choices between Philosophy and Psychology depending on the areas you want to specialise in.
There’s the opportunity to carry out an extended piece of work through a Philosophy dissertation.
An introduction to the concepts of clinical psychology and the application of psychology in clinical settings.
The module illustrates how psychological models are developed and how they are applied in developing interventions. You will examine theory and evaluation of interventions for a number of disorders/clinical issues.
During this module you will have two hours of lectures weekly.
Neuropsychology of Action: The Body in the Brain
This module examines the psychological and neural basis for the planning and control of human action. You will be introduced to scientific research through guided exploration of the neuropsychological bases for human action. You will experience the multi-disciplinary nature of research into human behaviour and, by the end of the module, will understand how a single issue can be addressed from multiple perspectives including: experimental psychology, neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, neuropsychology, and functional brain-imaging.
Understanding Developmental Disorders
This module explores how psychologists study and understand disorders of cognitive development. The course focuses largely on disorders which include impairments in attention, memory and/or executive function. Disorders covered include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, reading disorders and Down Syndrome. List of lectures
1. General introduction and research methods
2. Typical development of attention/memory and executive function
5. Developmental Coordination Disorder
6. Fragile X Syndrome
7. Down Syndrome
8. Preterm Birth
Neuropsychology and Applied Neuroimaging
This module examines the deficits seen in individuals who have suffered brain damage. You will learn about the impairments of language, memory, perception, attention, motor control, executive control and emotion. This module evaluates both the clinical and theoretical aspects of these syndromes. In particular, this module will evaluate the implications regarding how the healthy brain functions.
Forensic and Mental Health
The area of forensic mental health is extremely pertinent in both the criminal justice system and mental health services, as well as the integration of the two. It is a growing area of research in psychology and it is a popular area of work for many psychology graduates.
The module will concentrate on offending behaviours, typical categorisation of those who commit crimes or harm themselves, standard interventions for offenders and the neuroscience of offending. It will also cover the current research on specific offending behaviours, and examine the role of the criminal justice system and health service in dealing with individuals who offend.
This module provides an introduction to the contexts in which educational psychologists operate by examining the historical development of this profession within a set of major legislative and policy contexts, such as the recent drive to increase social inclusion. In particular, successes in, and barriers to, establishing a role as scientist-practitioners in educational settings will be explored.
The module will concentrate on assessment and intervention work with specific populations such as young people who display challenging behaviour in schools, vulnerable adolescents, and bilingual learners. Additionally, it will examine psychological approaches to group work with teachers and pupils as well as the application of system theory in helping transform aspects of schools and other organisations.
Developmental Dyslexia: Psychological and Educational Perspectives
This module explores psychological theories of developmental dyslexia and educational issues pertaining to this pervasive developmental disorder. It examines the cognitive characteristics and educational attainments of pupils with developmental dyslexia and addresses the ways in which individual educational needs might be met at both the classroom and whole school level.
This module should be of interest to you if you have an interest in developmental, cognitive, and/or educational psychology, and are wishing to pursue a career in child psychology, educational psychology, general teaching practice, and/or special needs education.
Some key questions to be considered are:
- what criteria should be used to diagnose developmental dyslexia?
- does developmental dyslexia reflect delayed or deviant behaviour?
- what are the specific educational issues pertaining to the provision of educational policy and practice for pupils with developmental dyslexia?
- how should pupils with developmental dyslexia be supported in the classroom?
The Visual Brain: Evolution, Development, Learning and Adaptation
The central theme of this module is to explore how the architecture and function of the visual brain has been designed and shaped by experiences over a range of timescales. The innate properties of the eye and visual brain that are present at birth have been designed over millions of years of evolution. The brain continues to physically change it structure and function within a lifetime a property termed brain plasticity. Over the years of development, brain plasticity is the driving force for the maturation of different visual brain functions. Even well into adulthood, plasticity is retained in the form of learning, which can optimise performance for certain visual tasks and be exploited for therapeutic uses. Another prominent form of plasticity in the visual brain is that caused by adaptation effects of visual experience over the preceding tens of milliseconds to minutes. The module will examine the consequences of evolution, development, learning and adaptation for visual brain function and perception.
Altruism, Cooperation and Helping
The course will cover theories and models of altruism, cooperation and helping form the perspective of psychology, economics and evolutionary biology. Among the theories examined will be reputation-based, strong-reciprocity, warm-glow and crowding and altruistic punishment from economics; kin selection, reciprocity, coercion, mutualism, cooperative breeding from biology; and empathy, personality, sexual selection and situational constraints from psychology.
You will consider why people sometimes don't help and actively try to benefit from others and apply these models to anti-social behaviour, and how we cooperate to inflict injury on other groups. It will also examine not just models of helping others, but also why people ask for help. You will finally look at how charities implement some of these principles and if they are successful.
Dissertation in Philosophy
The aim of this module is to provide you with an opportunity to write an 8,000-word dissertation on a philosophical topic, the precise subject of which is by agreement with the supervisor. At the completion of the module, you will have had an opportunity to work independently, though with the advice of a supervisor.
Karl Marx's thoughts and words have had an enormous impact on history. Revolutions have been fought, economic policies pursued and artistic movements established by followers (and opponents) of Marxism.
Together we'll examine some of Mark's original writing and explore his thinking. Specific themes we'll cover include:
- the materialist conception of history
- the labour theory of value
By the end of the module you should have a good overview of Marx's attempt to synthesise German philosophy, French political theory, and British economics.
This module is worth 20 credits.
This module investigates different kinds of contemporary logic, as well as their uses in philosophy. We will investigate the syntax and semantics of various logics, including first order logic, modal logics, and three-valued logics, as well as ways to apply formal techniques from these logics to philosophical topics such as possibility and necessity, vagueness, and the Liar paradox.
We’ll cover ways to reason and construct proofs using the logics we study, and also ways to reason about them. We’ll look at proofs regarding the limits of formal logic, including proofs of soundness, completeness, and decidability.
Free Will and Action
This module involves the study of a set of related issues concerning the nature and explanation of action and the requirements for free action and free will. Questions to be discussed are likely to include all or most of the following:
- What would it take for an action to be free (or an exercise of ‘free will’) in a sense that would make it an action for which we are morally responsible?
- Is there is any way in which our actions could be free in the relevant sense, whether or not determinism is true?
- How do actions differ from bodily movements that are not actions?
- Actions are typically (perhaps always) done for reasons, but what exactly is the relation between the reasons and the actions?
- Do the reasons cause the corresponding actions - and if they do, can this be the same kind of causation as is involved in ordinary ‘mechanistic’ causal explanation?
- And what about the fact that at least some of our actions seem to have purely physical causes?
- If they do, doesn’t this make any ‘mental causes’ of those actions redundant?
- What is the connection between intentional or voluntary action and rational action?
- In particular, it seems that we sometimes intentionally and voluntarily do things that we ourselves regard as irrational - but how is such ‘weakness of will’ possible?
This module will teach you how to communicate philosophy through a variety of different mediums, assessing them in each. We will look at how philosophy can be communicated through legal documentation, press releases, handouts, lesson plans, webpages, funding bids and posters (with optional presentations).
A number of the sessions will be delivered by professionals from outside the university, with support from the module convener. Seminars will be used to develop each of the items for assessment. You will be invited to draw upon your prior philosophical learning to generate your assessments, except in the case of handout where you will be set a specific philosophical task and asked to complete some (very basic) independent research.
Taking Utilitarianism Seriously
This module is an extended discussion of utilitarian approaches to moral and political philosophy, including utilitarian accounts of:
- the nature of wellbeing
- reasons and rightness
- rights and justice
- individual decision-making
- praise and blame
Philosophy and Mortality
Illness, ageing, death and dying are universal experiences. Yet discussion about them often only happens in times of emotional distress.
Together we'll explore philosophical issues related to human mortality in an open, supportive and compassionate way.
As well as a deeper understanding of the issues you will also build capacity to think sensitively and humanely about the human experience of ageing, illness, and dying.
Typical topics might include:
- experiences of being chronically ill
- psychiatry and mental health
- the oppression of ill persons · illness narratives
- the moral and spiritual significance of illness
- the experience of dying
- empathy, grief, and mourning
- death and the meaning of life
- the significance of human mortality to wider philosophical issues and concerns
This module is worth 20 credits.
Philosophy of Recreation
We expect recompense when we work but appear to do recreational activities just for their own sake.
You'll use philosophical tools to examine the meaning and value of such recreational activities, exploring questions such as:
- Is recreational sex and drug consumption merely about pleasurable sensations?
- Why do we put such great effort into achieving seemingly arbitrary goals in sport?
- Does it make sense for fans to feel elated if they played no part in a team’s success?
- Is there something special about being in a zone of effortless attention whilst playing an instrument?
- Could risking death seeking sensations of the sublime by climbing a mountain be better than safely siting on your sofa watching trash tv?
Advanced Topics in the Philosophy of Mind
The philosophy of mind addresses philosophical questions about the mind and aspects of the mind: mental or psychological states and capacities. Advanced topics in the philosophy of mind will focus on a specific area (or areas) of the philosophy of mind.
Which specific area (or areas) of philosophy of mind is in focus may vary from year to year. So the topics for this area of philosophy of mind may include:
- the nature of perception
- the nature of perceptual consciousness
- the directness or indirectness of perception
- the perception-knowledge link
- what properties or kinds perception can present
- issues about the senses
- specific issues about vision and audition
Advanced Topics in Aesthetics
This module is a discussion of some philosophical problems pertaining to art. Topics could include definitions of art, the objectivity versus the subjectivity of aesthetic evaluations, emotional response to art, the ontological status of artworks, and Walton's theory of make-believe.
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 views on the status of aesthetic evaluations, and to present the main contemporary viewpoints pertaining to the nature of artworks.
Language, Metaphysics, and Metametaphysics
Typically, this module introduces you to some advanced topics in contemporary analytic metaphysics. The module focuses on important topics, which have received recent attention. The topics covered will include:
- metaphysical nihilism (why there is something rather than nothing, and the subtraction argument)
- causation (the counterfactual theory and other accounts)
- the metaphysics of grounding (and concerns with such a notion)
- the metaphysics of absolute and relational space and time, and vagueness and indeterminacy
The module presupposes a certain basic familiarity with general issues in metaphysics and the philosophy of language, but is designed to serve as an advanced introduction to new topics that is completely accessible to the uninitiated.
In this module we'll ask questions like:
- How should human beings interact with the non-human natural world?
- Is nature intrinsically valuable, or does it possess value only by being valuable to us?
As part of this we'll cover topics such as:
- the moral status of animals
- the ethics of zoos
- responsibility for climate change
- whether there is any connection between the twin oppressions of women and nature
- the environmental impact of having children
- the ethics of restoring nature after it has been damaged by human development
This module is worth 20 credits.
This 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).
Philosophy of Criminal Law
There is perhaps no more vivid example of the exercise of state power over individuals than through the institution of criminal law. This power relationship raises a host of important philosophical questions, such as:
- Is there a general obligation to obey the law? If so, what is the basis for this obligation?
- What sorts of acts should be criminalised, and why?
- What does it mean for someone to be responsible for a crime, or for the state to hold someone responsible?
- Is criminal punishment justified? If so, why?
- What is the proper role for the presumption of innocence: Who must presume whom to be innocent of what?
- Is the state ever justified in imposing legal restrictions on offenders even after they have completed their punishment?
- How should the criminal law function in the international context?
We'll look at thinking from across history, from seminal figures such as Plato, Bentham, and Kant, to more contemporary philosophers such as Hart, Hampton, Duff, and others.
No experience of criminal law necessary. Ideal for both philosophers and practitioners.
This module is worth 20 credits.
Subjectivism and Relativism in Ethics
One often hears the opinion that ethics is subjective. But what does this mean, exactly?
And one often hears the view that ethics is relative. But relative to what?
And what is ‘ethics’ anyway?
And if ethics is subjective, or relative, what does that mean for ethics as a discipline? Does it mean, for example, that our ethical pronouncements can never be incorrect, never be challenged, or never disagreed with?
This module addresses these and other questions about the foundations of ethics, and gives you the material to develop your own views of this peculiarly human phenomenon.
Knowledge, Ignorance and Democracy
Politics and truth have always had a complicated relationship. Lies, bullshit, spin, and propaganda are nothing new.
Polarization is on the rise in many democracies and political disagreements have spread to disputes about obvious matters of fact.
But have we really entered the era of 'post-truth' politics? Is debate now framed largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the facts?
In this module, we'll explore questions such as:
- Should the existence of widespread disagreement in politics make us less confident in our own views?
- Are voters morally or epistemically obligated to vote responsibly?
- Is it rational for citizens to base their political views on group identity rather than reasoned arguments?
- Should we have beliefs about complex policy questions about which we are not experts?
- Is democracy the best form of government for getting at the truth?
This module is worth 20 credits.
Philosophy of Education
Education plays a fundamental part in all our lives. It shapes who we are as individuals, our value systems, our political and religious outlooks. As a consequence it changes how society looks, how it operates, and what we think society ought to be like. Education then, is of the most profound importance.
As philosophers we are uniquely placed to think long and hard about education:
- what is its role?
- what should its role be?
- who gets to decide what is taught?
Rising to this challenge this module creates the space, and provides the tools, for you to do just this.
This module is worth 20 credits.
Philosophy of Sex
- How many people have you had sex with?
- Is there a difference between sex work and working in a supermarket?
- What is love? Do we chose who we love?
- What is gender? What do we mean when we say 'trans women are women'?
These are some of the many philosophical questions which arise when you start thinking about sex and related topics.
During this module we will tackle the conceptual, moral, political, and metaphysical issues raised by sexual activity. Possible topics we'll look at include:
- the nature of sexual desire
- sexual consent
- sexual objectification
- sexual orientation
Together we'll look at the experiences and testimony of a variety of groups, including those considered sexual and gender minorities. Then we'll use philosophical tools to explore the issues that such testimony raises.
This module is worth 20 credits.
You must pass year three which counts approximately two thirds towards your final degree classification.