The Enquiring Mind: Introduction to Philosophy
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Philosophy teaches us how to question the familiar, challenge the conventional, and better understand the world around us.
Taking a thematic approach, this course will examine some of the principal issues in philosophy: art and society; knowledge and scepticism; perception; realism and scientific objectivity; language and thought; values and responsibilities; existence and God.
No previous knowledge of philosophy will be assumed.
Learning and teaching
This course is taught in ten, two-hour sessions, delivered on a weekly basis. There will be a mixture of lectures and seminars, the precise proportion to be determined by the needs of the students enrolled.
The seminar element may include debate, discussion, group activities, presentations and readings. Additional reading material will be recommended and a reading list will be supplied. Course handouts will be provided as appropriate.
The seminars will encourage the development of knowledge and understanding of the ideas and concepts discussed in the course. Intellectual skills will be encouraged through participation in class discussion, reading and coursework.
A range of philosophical issues will be covered, selected from the following topics (new topics may be added, and/or taken from this list, depending on the context of presentation in any given year):
- Introducing Philosophy
- Arguments for the Existence of God
- Free Will vs Determinism
- Methods of Moral Reasoning
- Political Philosophy
- Philosophy of Art
- The Nature of Mind
- The Problem of Perception
- Philosophy of Language
- Scientific Realism
Coursework and assessment
Essays or other equivalent written assignments to a total of 1500 words demonstrating an understanding of core elements of the course material. For us, the most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning. Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.
To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.
The main set text for the module will be:
- Warburton, Nigel. Philosophy: the basics (Fifth Edition; Routledge, 2013)
Students will also find the following resources helpful:
- Honderich, Ted, The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 2005)
- Norris, Christopher. Philosophy of Language and the Challenge to Scientific Realism (Routledge, 2004)
- Russell, Bertrand, A History of Western Philosophy, new edn (Routledge, 2004)
- Singer, Peter. Applied Ethics (Oxford University Press, 1986)
- Swinburne, Richard. The Existence of God (Second Edition; Oxford University Press, 2004)
Library and computing facilities
As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University’s library and computing facilities. Find out more about using these facilities.
Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and dyslexia screening.