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An Introduction to Philosophy

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

What can we know? Does God exist? Do I have free will? How should I act? Does life have meaning? This course offers an introduction to the main areas of philosophy through discussion of some of the most interesting questions in each field.

Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

No previous knowledge required.

Content of Course

  1. Introduction
    What is philosophy? What are its origins? Why do we do it?
  2. Epistemology
    What is knowledge? What can we know? How do we know things?
  3. Philosophy of Mind
    What am I? Am I my mind or my body? What ensures my survival over time?
  4. Philosophy of Religion
    Does God exist? What are the arguments for God’s existence? How can we account for evil in the world?
  5. Metaphysics
    Do I have free will? Are all my actions determined by factors outside my control? Am I ever responsible for anything I do?
  6. Moral Philosophy
    Should we be moral? Is right and wrong relative to culture? How do I know how to act?
  7. Applied Ethics
    Is abortion wrong? Is there a difference between killing and letting die? Do animals have rights?
  8. Political Philosophy
    Why do we live in societies? What rights do I have? What are my duties?
  9. Aesthetics
    What is beauty? Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? What is art?
  10. Existentialism
    Why are we here? Does life have meaning? How should I live?

Teaching method(s)

Combination of lectures and discussion.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Display familiarity with some key philosophical issues;
  • Identify the positions of various philosophers on these issues;
  • Explain the strengths and weaknesses of these positions;
  • Express an understanding of the nature and value of philosophy.

Sources

Core Readings

Essential reading will be provided on a weekly basis, however, students would do well to avail themselves of a basic introductory text. The following are highly recommended:

Blackburn, S. 1999. Think. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.
Nagel, T. 1987. What does it all mean? Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.
Warburton, N., 2004. Philosophy: the Basics, 4th ed., London: Routledge.
Warburton, N., ed., 2005. Philosophy: Basic Readings, 2nd ed., London: Routledge.

Web Sources

James Mooney’s (course tutor) website: www.filmandphilosophy.com and twitter account: @film_philosophy

Class Handouts

Handouts will be provided on a weekly basis.

Student support

Let our Student Support Officer know if you feel you have specific requirements to enable you to study an Open Studies course. Please contact Reception to arrange a confidential appointment with her. Giving us this information will enable us to make arrangements to meet your requirements for studying in accordance with your rights under the Disability Discrimination Act.