Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

Philosophy and Art History - BA (Hons)

UCAS code VV40

2018

The Art History programme has established research strengths in aesthetics, contemporary art, photographic studies, the philosophy of art, art history and in developing teaching approaches to the subject. These interests are reflected in the rich variety of modules we offer our students throughout their time at Kent.

2018

Overview

Alongside traditional academic modules, there are also opportunities for practice-based learning and engagement with the visual arts, for example, by taking photographs, writing criticism, curating exhibitions, or by collecting art, on behalf of the department, for our growing and highly distinctive Print Collection. All of these modules provide both a high level of academic engagement with the subject and give you some of the key aptitudes required for future employment in a competitive job market. We also offer a year in industry option.

As a student of Philosophy at Kent, you do not so much learn about philosophy as learn to do it yourself. This includes not only studying major philosophies and philosophers, but also contributing your own ideas to an ongoing dialogue. You develop the ability to connect the most abstract ideas to the most concrete things in our experience.

Philosophy at Kent is a top-rated teaching department that was awarded the maximum score in its most recent teaching assessment. We have a thriving research culture with internationally recognised experts, and interests range from philosophers such as Hegel, Kant and Wittgenstein to topics such as philosophy of mind, ethics, aesthetics, logic, political philosophy, metaphysics and artificial intelligence.

Independent rankings

History of Art at Kent was ranked 8th for research quality in The Complete University Guide 2018 and 11th for course satisfaction in The Guardian University Guide 2018.

In the National Student Survey 2017, over 94% of our final-year Philosophy students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course

Teaching Excellence Framework

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

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Course structure

The following modules are indicative of those offered on the Art History and Philosophy programmes. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes offered by the University in order that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas of interest to you or that may further enhance your employability.

Stage 1

Modules may include Credits

The module is intended as an introduction to the History of Art, as a body of visual artefacts and as an academic discipline. It is intended to be accessible to those with little or no previous experience, but also stimulating and informative to students with more background knowledge. The approach is chronological, focussing on a sequence of canonical works of art produced within the Western tradition. Such works provide a frame for introducing students to many of the basic analytical concepts and terms routinely deployed by art historians in describing, analysing and interpreting works of art: period, style, iconography, meaning, material/medium, technique, composition, creative process, representation, tradition, social function, patronage, genre etc.

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Can I know that I am not dreaming? Am I the same person I was when I was ten years old? Do I have an immaterial mind or immortal soul? Am I a mere machine or do I have a free will? What are the fundamental properties of the world? Does God exist? This module is meant to be an introduction to these and other fundamental problems of philosophy. The module begins with an examination of some themes in Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy, and moves on to discuss the arguments of other classical philosophers, such as Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, and also of contemporary thinkers. Among the themes addressed are: the nature of knowledge, scepticism, personal identity, the mind-body problem, free will and determinism, primary and secondary qualities, causation, induction, God.

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Students studying on this module will be introduced to a number of big questions in ethics. The questions may include the following: What makes a life good? Is it happiness? Or is it something else? Another big question is: What makes actions right or wrong? Is it God demanding or forbidding them? Or are actions perhaps right to the extent that they serve to make lives better off, and wrong to the extent that they make lives worse off? Some philosophers have thought so. Others wonder: What if I steal money from someone so rich that my act in no way makes her life go any worse. Might it still be the case that I have acted wrongly—even if I haven't made anyone worse off? A third bit question is this: What's the status of morality? Is it, for example, the case that what’s right for me might be wrong for you? Does it make any sense at all to talk about moral claims being true or false, even relative to moral communities? Might moral judgments be nothing but expressions of sentiments? Throughout the course, students will be examining these and similar questions from the point of view of a variety of philosophers, including Plato, Aristotle, John Stuart Mill, Immanuel Kant, and David Hume.

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Since Plato's Dialogues, it has been part of philosophical enquiry to consider philosophical questions using logic and common sense alone. This module aims to train students to continue in that tradition. In the first part students will be introduced to basic themes in introductory logic and critical thinking. In the second part students will be presented with a problem each week in the form of a short argument, question, or philosophical puzzle and will be asked to think about it without consulting the literature. The problem, and students' responses to it, will then form the basis of a structured discussion.

By the end of the module, students (a) will have acquired a basic logical vocabulary and techniques for the evaluation of arguments; (b) will have practised applying these techniques to selected philosophical topics; and (c) will have acquired the ability to look at new claims or problems and to apply their newly acquired argumentative and critical skills in order to generate philosophical discussions of them. It will be taught through a combination of lectures and seminars in the first half of the term, and seminars only in the second half of the term.

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What do philosophers do? How do they think? What do they typically think about? How do philosophers write? What sorts of writing are acceptable in philosophy? How should you write? How should philosophy best be read in order to be understood and assessed?'

In this module we will introduce you to some of the most interesting questions in philosophy, both from its history and from current debates. As we do this we will show you how to think, read and write as a philosopher.

Some of the questions we will discuss this year include: 'Why is Hume's fork so important in the history of philosophy?’, 'What is the difference between evaluative and descriptive judgements in aesthetics?’ and ‘What is the difference between ‘is’ and ‘ought’?’ We will also think about questions of more general philosophical import, such as: ‘What it is to presuppose something?’, ‘What is it to argue in a vicious circle?’, and ‘What does a philosophical definition look like?’

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This module provides students with a broad introduction to the history of photography over the first 150 years of its existence, together with some of the prehistory of the medium. It begins by looking at the origins and invention of photography, as well as reactions to, and early uses of, the medium. Following this background, a number of photographic genre are explored along with key contributors to their development. While the genre explored may change from year to year, the genre covered are likely to include portraiture, documentary photography and landscape photography, but the greatest focus will be given to the various styles and movements giving shape to the history of photographic art.

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This module provides students with a broad introduction to the history of photography over the first 150 years of its existence, together with some of the prehistory of the medium. It begins by looking at the origins and invention of photography, as well as reactions to, and early uses of, the medium. Following this background, a number of photographic genre are explored along with key contributors to their development. While the genre explored may change from year to year, the genre covered are likely to include portraiture, documentary photography and landscape photography, but the greatest focus will be given to the various styles and movements giving shape to the history of photographic art.

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This course aims to provide students with an introduction to aesthetics and the philosophy of art. The first part of the course focuses on some of the major texts in the history of the philosophy of art in the western tradition (e.g., Plato's Republic, Aristotle’s Poetics, Hume’s Of the Standard of Taste and Kant’s Critique of Judgement). The second part of the course focuses on central contemporary debates in the philosophy of art (e.g., What is Art? Artistic and Aesthetic Evaluation and the problem of forgery, Intention and Interpretation, Ethical criticism of art, Art and Emotion, Art and Feminism.) The student will be encouraged to see connections between the two parts of the module and to understand how contemporary debates (both philosophical and those found in the public opinion and art criticism) can be traced back to or even helpfully illuminated by old and contemporary philosophical debates.

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This course aims to provide students with an introduction to aesthetics and the philosophy of art. The first part of the course focuses on some of the major texts in the history of the philosophy of art in the western tradition (e.g., Plato's Republic, Aristotle’s Poetics, Hume’s Of the Standard of Taste and Kant’s Critique of Judgement). The second part of the course focuses on central contemporary debates in the philosophy of art (e.g., What is Art? Artistic and Aesthetic Evaluation and the problem of forgery, Intention and Interpretation, Ethical criticism of art, Art and Emotion, Art and Feminism.) The student will be encouraged to see connections between the two parts of the module and to understand how contemporary debates (both philosophical and those found in the public opinion and art criticism) can be traced back to or even helpfully illuminated by old and contemporary philosophical debates.

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Stage 2

Modules may include Credits

The art historian Aby Warburg – an avid reader of Thomas Carlyle's philosophical novel about clothes Sartor Resartus (1836) – said that a good costume, like a good symbol, should conceal as much as it reveals. This module will take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of costume and fashion – the art that can be worn – in order to explore their roles in drama, film and the visual arts. The social values encoded by clothes, their relation to class or sexual identity, will be discussed, along with how these assumptions inform the use of costume in adaptations or stagings of texts, or how they colour our view of a character, or of a director’s interpretation (for example, using deliberate anachronism). The role of clothing and costume in the history of art will be analysed from artists’ representation of clothes, contemporary or otherwise, to their involvement in fashion design.

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This module addresses the influence of the early avant-garde on later experimental performance forms such as performance art and multimedia performance. It examines the impact of new technologies on performance and representation throughout the last century, and explores the relationship between media culture and theatre practice. Key modernist and postmodernist practitioners are discussed as the module traces the evolution of multimedia theatre and performance art. Students analyse how time, space and bodies manifest within a diversity of contemporary media art and performance art, and focus is placed on the nature of audience engagement. The module also considers questions concerning the live and mediated aspects of performance, and explores concepts such as 'liveness', ‘the body’, ‘intermediality’, ‘posthumanism’ ‘public space’ and ‘participation’.

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The development of Abstract Art is one of the distinctive features of the 20th Century. This module examines the roots of the aspiration to allow ‘the object to evaporate like smoke’ in European and Russian art, and the establishment of Constructivism as a central force in artistic practice in 20th century art. The spiritual, philosophical and social ideas (and ideals) of key artists (such as Malevich, Tatlin, Kandinsky, Mondrian and Klee) are considered in relation to their artistic practice; the work and ideas of American abstractionists are addressed through an examination of legendary figures such as Rothko, Pollock and Stella; discussion of Nicholson, Moore, and de Staël, among others, enables us to think about the response of the British and European artworld to the challenges and opportunities of abstraction and construction. Finally, we will explore how contemporary artists make use of this ‘radical tradition’. Throughout the module we will raise the question of how to make, think about and respond to an ‘art without objects’.

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This module aims to introduce second and third year students to the key aesthetic concepts of the sublime, disgust and humour, and to their application in the analysis of art and visual culture. Through a sustained focus on these key theories and a range of case studies, the module will also facilitate the development of students' subject-specific and key skills.

The module will be typically be divided into three parts which focus separately on the sublime, disgust and humour; although general issues confronting the study of experience in art history and theory will be discussed throughout. The first part of the module will focus on the historical origins of the concept of the sublime in the works of Edmund Burke and Immanuel Kant. Their theories will be discussed in relation to eighteenth and nineteenth century visual culture, and in relation to instances of the sublime in modern and contemporary culture, including representations of nature and the cosmos, religious experiences and ascetic practices. The second part of the module will examine theories of disgust, including Charles Darwin’s evolutionary approach and Julia Kristeva’s account of 'the abject’. The vogue for the disgusting in contemporary art, beginning during the 1990s will be critically discussed, and the relation of disgust to shock and horror will also be considered. The third part of the module will examine theories of humour, including the ‘incongruity’ and ‘release’ theories, and Sigmund Freud’s theory of jokes. Various uses artists have found for humour, from Marcel Duchamp to postmodern irony, will be discussed. While focusing on the visual arts, the module will also consider case studies from literature and popular visual culture, including film and television.

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This module will pursue three interrelated aims through the use and study of drawing:

Firstly, it will introduce students to the range of drawing techniques used by the Old Masters, the different types of drawings they produced and their function in the process of designing and executing works of art. It will equip students with the tools for analysing and identifying drawings, providing the foundations for effective connoisseurship. Working with collections of Old Master drawings such as those at the British Museum, the Courtauld Institute, the Strang Print Room and the Victoria & Albert Museum it will familiarise students with a representative range of graphic art from the European tradition by such artists as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Dürer, Annibale Carracci, Rubens and Van Dyck.

Secondly, it will equip students with a practice-based understanding of the role of drawing in artistic training and of its importance as a tool for creative work. Students will participate in drawing seminars where they will carry out exercises modelled on artistic practice during the period 1400-1700 and illustrated with examples of Old Master drawings to provide guidance. These will begin with rudimentary conventions for drawing eyes and ears, through copy drawings to mechanical drawing methods like perspective and shadow projection, tracing and the use of the grid. The exercises will then build on these simple beginnings and develop towards portrait drawing informed by anatomical analysis of the skull, drawing from sculptural casts, from the draped and nude figure, sketching the landscape, and finally working towards the compositional drawing and methods for enlarging it. Drawing exercises will clarify for students the processes of artistic visualization and design, and make available to them an important tool of visual and art historical analysis.

Thirdly, the module will provide students with historical insights into the importance of drawing for art in the Western tradition, and of the theoretical expression of this importance in the concept of 'disegno'. It will explore theories defining drawing as an intellectual process of design (as well as a graphic technique), and related debates concerning the relative importance of drawing and colour, and painting and sculpture.

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This module explores a range of neo-avant-garde and post-war art practice from the 1960s through to the contemporary; from the Minimalism & Pop Art of the 1960s through to the YBAs and after. It will introduce and discuss some of the key artistic figures within the period, exploring their practice, critical contexts and legacy. Taking a thematic approach to one of the most innovative and stylistically diverse art historical periods, we will consider a range of genres – painting, sculpture, installation, performance and land art – exploring how artists have re-defined and developed their practice in the cultural period following Modernism. Artists exampled will typically include Jake and Dinos Chapman, Gilbert & George, Eva Hesse, Jenny Saville, Yinka Shonibare, Gerhard Richter and Rachel Whiteread.

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The organising principle of this course is derived from Giovanni Pietro Bellori’s Vite de’ Pittori et Architetti Moderni (1672). In selecting a small group of twelve exemplary artists for his history, Bellori was employing artistic biography to expound his theory of art based on the Idea. This charted a middle way between naturalism and mannerism, through which the imitation of nature informed by the principles of antique art produced works which surpassed nature. Among the artists included in Bellori’s corpus are Annibale and Agostino Carracci, Michelangelo da Caravaggio, and the non-Italian artists Nicolas Poussin, Peter Paul Rubens, and Anthony Van Dyck. Several of the leading artists of the period were excluded from the canon, notably Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Francesco Borromini and Pietro da Cortona. Bellori presumably had these artists in mind when he condemned his contemporaries who “juggle madly with corners, gaps and twirling lines, discompose bases, capitals and columns with stucco nonsense, trivial ornament and disproportions”. The aesthetic and theoretical judgements which informed Bellori’s exclusion of artists from his book can be glimpsed in this quote. In the art historical literature on this period such critical judgements are explained in terms of the dichotomy between “classicism” and “the baroque” (although these were not terms used in the period). Following Riegl and Wölfflin the baroque has been defined in opposition to classic art, as an art of becoming rather than of being, addressing the emotions, rather than the intellect, through a tactile evocation of appearances. Often the theoretical writing of the period has been characterised as reacting against, or irrelevant to, what was truly innovative about the work of baroque artists like Bernini and Borromini. These generalisations will be tested through close study of the works of the artists named above, and also by exploring how they might relate to contemporary artistic debates, such as those at the French Académie Royale about the relative merits of Poussin and Rubens, or between Andrea Sacchi and Pietro da Cortona in Rome over the number of figures which should be included in a narrative painting. In addition to exploring the acute interest in stylistic criticism during the seventeenth century, the study of individual artists will also involve consideration of the role played by their patrons, especially their ideological, religious and antiquarian concerns. Although the course will progress by studying individual artists in roughly chronological order, the treatment will be thematic rather than monographic. Lectures at the beginning and end of the course will introduce and summarise the more general historiographical themes; the remaining lectures will be on artists including Caravaggio, Annibale Carracci, Bernini, Borromini, Pietro da Cortona, Poussin, Rubens and Van Dyck.

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The module will focus on selected aspects of the development of art in France, during the period when Paris was widely seen as the powerhouse of innovation and achievement in the Western art world. The underlying structure will be chronological. Relevant tendencies and movements include Neo-classicism, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, Symbolism and Cubism. Prominent artists to be considered include David, Géricault, Delacroix, Courbet, Manet, Monet, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat, Rodin, Matisse, and Picasso. Such visual material will be considered in the context of: wider political and social history; the evolution of exhibiting institutions and the art world; current art theory and criticism; attitudes towards artistic tradition and the visual cultures of non-western societies (e.g. the phenomenon of 'primitivism'; the impact and evolution of photography, launched in 1839; the emergence of the idea of the artistic avant-garde; the reinterpretation of specific genres, such as the portrait, landscape, the nude, history painting; patterns and shifts within art-historical scholarship on the material. The importance of studying original art objects will be embedded in the module through the scheduling of a visit to relevant galleries in London (e.g. National Gallery, Tate Modern, Courtauld Gallery) and/or Paris (subject to funding). Chronological coverage may vary between successive iterations of the module.

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Is it right that the talented profit from their (undeserved) talents? Should the government provide compensation for people who find it hard to meet that special someone? Is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation a benevolent charity, or an unelected, unaccountable group wielding enormous political power?

This course is divided into two parts. The first part examines classic topics in political philosophy, such as the sources and scope of political authority, and the ideals of equality and freedom. The second part of the course will explore issues within contemporary political philosophy, such as our obligations to those in the developing world, the circumstances under which one might legitimately employ civil disobedience, and the politics of immigration. We will consider whether we can make sense of political obligation between states as well as within states. We will look at these issues in the context of particular case studies, such as the recent debate over the showing of an anti-Islam film in the House of Lords, and the West's failure to intervene in Rwanda.

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Under what circumstances might it be permissible to use violence to further political goals? What distinguishes different sorts of political violence? Ought the state to have a monopoly on political violence? Are there some methods that should never be used to further political goals? In this course, we will look at the various forms of political violence, and consider how political and legal theorists have tried to regulate violent interaction between states and within states. We will examine the conceptual difficulties that arise when postulating international laws, and consider the role of the United Nations as international mediator and law enforcer. We will also look at the rights of self-determination amongst sub-national groups, and at the obligations of the international community to intervene to prevent humanitarian abuses.

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The module will cover some of the major topics of the theory of reasoning, with a focus on presenting students with new and exciting research. The syllabus will vary from year to year. The approach will be philosophical and critical, and may involve the close reading of texts. Students will be expected to engage critically with the works being studied and to formulate and argue for their own views on the issues covered.

As an indication of the kind of topics covered, the following are three potential syllabi, one of which might operate in any particular year:

1. Probability and probabilistic reasoning. This syllabus will present the major interpretations of probability and their connection with the various kinds of probabilistic reasoning. Topics covered might include: the classical interpretation; the logical interpretation; the subjective interpretation; the frequency interpretation; the propensity interpretation; the objective Bayesian interpretation. The key text will be D.A.Gillies (2000): Philosophical theories of probability, Routledge.

2. Causality and causal reasoning. This syllabus will present the major theories of causality, including difference-making theories (probabilistic theories, counterfactual theories, agency theories), mechanistic theories (process theories, complex systems theories) and pluralist theories. It will go on to consider methods of causal reasoning in the sciences and the implications of such methods for the metaphysics of causality. In the absence of a comprehensive text, this syllabus will appeal to papers, especially those in the Oxford Handbook of Causation (OUP 2009), and Causality in the Sciences (OUP 2011).

3. Invalid arguments. This syllabus will look in detail at methods of assessing the cogency of deductively invalid arguments. In particular it will present the methods of inductive logic for assessing the plausibility of arguments. It will provide an introduction to probabilistic logics and their semantics, as well as to methods of inference in probabilistic logics, with a focus on elementary methods that can be readily acquired by students with little prior training in logic and no prior knowledge of probability theory. In the absence of a text at a suitable level, this syllabus will be accompanied by a set of detailed lecture notes.

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The curriculum is intended to introduce students to some of the key arguments and debates in contemporary continental political philosophy through the focussed reading and discussion of the works of a number of central thinkers (Charles Taylor, Iris Marion Young, Foucualt, Derrida, Butler) in this field. It is also the aim of this module to consider the works and ideas of philosophers that are often overlooked on undergraduate political philosophy courses e.g. feminist thinkers and Queer theorists.

The curriculum should not be regarded as written in stone but responsive to new publications and developments in this field of research and to events in the wider world.

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This module concerns ideas of two of the most interesting of Western philosophers: Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche. Both thinkers developed ideas that transformed much of the intellectual landscape of twentieth century, and both wrote books that prove fruitful for successive generations. They wrote on many themes: ethics, religion, aesthetics, metaphysics, and epistemology. Both take their starting point from those thinkers that came before, notably Kant and Hegel. However, they are interesting to compare because they have such different views on philosophical thought and various themes. In particular, some of Nietzsche’s thought is framed explicitly in opposition to Schopenhauer’s, with the former casting the latter as the great pessimist. An appreciation of their ideas is an important part of the education of many philosophy students. However, both Schopenhauer and Nietzsche can be hard writers to read and understand. This module is designed both to introduce some of their ideas and develop a student’s appreciation of them such that he or she can discuss them with confidence and critical insight.

The module will not cover all of the writings of either or both thinkers. Students will typically read selections from Schopenhauer’s masterwork The World as Will and Representation and then selections from a variety of Nietzsche’s works, or one work in full. These will be read on their own, with ideas from both thinkers compared. Modern writers and commentators will be read in addition to help reveal the importance of Schopenhauer’s and Nietzsche’s ideas.

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This course is designed to introduce students to a number of approaches in what is often referred to as "normative ethics". We face and hear about moral problems every day. These problems range from life and death matters concerning abortion, euthanasia and the like to other types of case such as whether to tell a lie to prevent hurting someone's feelings. At some point we might wonder whether there is a set of rules or principles (such as 'Do not lie') which will help us through these tricky problems; we might wonder whether there is something more simple underlying all of this 'ethical mess' that we can discern. Normative ethics contains a number of theories that attempt to give us such principles and to sort out the mess. In particular, different normative ethical theories are attempts to articulate reasons why a certain course of action is ethically best; they are attempts to say what types of feature we should concentrate on when thinking about ethical problems and why it is that such features are features which have 'intrinsic moral significance'. Of course, ethical theories do not exist in a vacuum. As we shall see, our everyday intuitions about what is morally best are both the origin of normative ethical theories and the origin of thoughts raised against them. In all of this, the course will be examining these theories by starting with their historical roots, particularly focussing on the work of J. S. Mill, Immanuel Kant and Aristotle.

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Many people today are reluctant to identify themselves as 'feminist': either because they see feminism as a useful political movement that has essentially served its purposes; or because they view feminism as a 'single-issue', militant ideology that they cannot identify with. This module is intended to give students an opportunity to reflect philosophically on what claims like this could mean: if we live in a post-feminist era, why do women earn, on average, two thirds of what their male counterparts earn? If we live in post-feminist era, why are women still under-represented in many fields (including politics, science and academic philosophy?). If feminism is a 'single-issue' ideology, why is it that feminists have proposed such a variety of solutions to the above problems, and from such a wide range of political standpoints?

The module explores some key debates in contemporary feminist philosophy, with particularly emphasis on its uncomfortable relationship with liberalism. The course draws attention to feminist critiques of key liberal concepts, such as consent, the social contract, autonomy, universal rights, and the private/public distinction. We go on to apply theoretical debates in feminist thought to the following political issues: prostitution, pornography, feminine appearance, multiculturalism, and human rights.

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The present module will introduce students to classical as well as contemporary discussions in the intersection between politics, philosophy, and economics. Topics to be covered will vary from year to year, in light of the expertise of the person convening it and student feedback from previous years. That said, the relevant variations will be constrained by considerations ensuring that one cohort will not be disadvantaged compared to the next, and are likely to consistently include some sub-set of the following:

• Authoritarianism

• Behavioural economics

• Collective action

• Federal and non-federal unions

• Game theory

• Liberalism, illiberalism, and paternalism

• Markets and trade

• Money and finance

• Philosophy of Power

• Property

• Public choice

• Rational choice

• States and corporations

• Terrorism

• Theocracy

• Voting

• Work and capital

Through these and related topics, students will gain a good understanding of the complementary and in some cases conflicting perspectives and methodologies contained in politics, philosophy, and economics, and enable them to evaluate contemporary issues in a manner that's informed by a comprehensive set of relevant traditions.

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William James (1842-1910) has arguably had a profound impact in the shaping of three contemporary disciplines: philosophy, psychology and the study of religion. This course aims to examine the life and work of William James in depth. It will examine the life of William James and the James family and show how this relates to his work. The course will examine his key texts: Principles of Psychology (1890), The Will to Believe (1897), The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902) and his studies of pragmatism, including Pragmatism (1907), The Pluralistic Universe (1909) and The Meaning of Truth (1909). It will also explore his long term and frustrated attempt to set up a scientific study of psychical phenomena.

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This course brings together a range of theories of love from the history of philosophy and from various traditions, including analytical philosophy, feminism, pragmatism and continental thought. It will explore questions of love, beauty and friendship in Plato, religious models in Aquinas, ars erotica in ancient Indian and Chinese philosophies of love, Romantic traditions of love, the logic of love in Peirce and James, feminist politics of love and maternity, and cognitive models of love. The course will also examine a range of analytical questions of love, including debates about the different types of love (eros, agape and philia), the problems of talking about love in philosophical language, distinctions between self-love and relational love, the relation of love to literature and poetry, love as embodied instinct and mental idea, the relation between love and sex, and connections between love, compassion and caring. The aim of the course is to combine a philosophical history of love with critical analytical skills to think about love as a dynamic feature of human relationships.

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This module has an ambitious but hopefully not ridiculous goal: to teach you something about how to live well. It will do so by introducing you to some of the most prominent philosophical traditions that have tried to offer practical advice on how to live, such as that of the Stoics and the Epicureans, but also the religiously inspired traditions of Buddhists, Confucians and Jesuit philosophers.* Of course, you can't learn to live well simply by reading a few books—not even really good ones. That’s why, as part of the module, you’ll also spend three days living in accordance with one of the traditions covered, and then reporting back your experience to the rest of the class, either through a traditional presentation, or by making a short video about your experience. You might not come out a Stoic sage at the other end of this module (although who knows?), but you’ll have learned quite a few things about what some very interesting people thought about how to live well, some of which you’ll be able to incorporate into your daily life.

* Topics covered will likely vary from year to year. The variations will be guided by the expertise of whichever person happens to be convening the module any given year, and by student feedback on previous years.

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This module will introduce students to philosophical theories of causality and philosophical theories of probability. The module will provide a broad background to the range of available interpretations of causality and probability. Topics to be covered will vary from year to year, in light of the expertise of the person convening it and student feedback from previous years. Students will gain a good understanding of the complementary and in some cases conflicting perspectives and methodologies on causality and probability. The module will enable students to evaluate contemporary issues in a manner that's informed by a comprehensive set of relevant traditions.

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This module provides an introduction to some of the major works in ancient Greek philosophy in relation to ethics, aesthetics, political theory, ontology and metaphysics. Students will study substantial portions of primary texts by the Pre-Socratics, Plato and Aristotle. The emphasis throughout will be on the philosophical significance of the ideas studied. The module will concentrate on understanding key philosophical arguments and concepts within the context of the ancient Greek intellectual tradition. This means that students will gain a critical distance from normative and modern definitions of philosophical terms in order to understand how Greek philosophy generally approached questions and problems with different suppositions and conceptions of reality, reason and the purpose of human existence.

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We typically value justified belief more than simple belief, for very good reasons: a justified belief is more likely to be true than a randomly selected one. Indeed, we value knowledge even more than justified belief, since, arguably, a belief that qualifies as knowledge is true. But when is a belief justified? And what is knowledge? Is any of our beliefs justified? Do we know anything at all? Do we know that it's 8 o' clock if at 8 o' clock we see a broken watch indicating 8 o' clock? Do we know that our cat is sleeping on the sofa, if we don’t know that we’re not brains in a vat? This module investigates these and other epistemological questions, mostly by looking at some deeply puzzling sceptical arguments, some of which areas old as Philosophy is, and all of which have sprung very lively debates in the recent philosophical literature.

This module is designed to introduce students to some key philosophical notions – such as belief, justification and knowledge – and to some of the most exciting and interesting literature on the subject. The module begins with a brief overview of the literature on the analysis of knowledge – this will introduce students to the main philosophical approaches to justification and knowledge: internalism and externalism. The module will then move on to consider two influential forms of Skepticism: Pyrronian skepticism and Cartesian skepticism. Students will be introduced to the main views on the structure of justification – foundationalism, coherentism and entitlement approaches – as well as to the main semantic accounts of 'know’ – contextualism, dogmatism and relevant alternatives/tracking theories. Some epistemic principles, such as the so-called KK principle, will be introduced via the presentation of epistemic paradoxes, such as the Surprise Examination Paradox.

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We often make claims about the world, whether in Ethics, Aesthetics, Metaphysics, History or Science. These claims might be thought to involve a correspondence between how we think about the world and how the world 'really is'. This course aims to examine questions of realism and anti-realism: does the world outrun our ability to talk about it? Do some ways of talking about the world capture how the world really is? Can we even make sense of there being a world independent of how we think about it?

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15

What makes it the case that certain actions, such as stealing and sharing, have ethical value? Are ethical values such as goodness and badness, compassion and cruelty, mind-independent ethical properties, properties that exist no matter what anyone thinks, desires, aims at and the like? Or are there no such ethical properties at all and when we call something good we are just expressing our emotions and feelings about a nonethical world? Are there any other positions available?

This course is designed to introduce you to some of the most exciting and interesting philosophical literature in recent years, which brings together ethics and metaphysics with a little epistemology and philosophy of language. The first half of this course will examine (what are often called) "metaethical" questions such as those above. We will then move on to discuss debates concerning moral psychology and motivation. When one says 'charity-giving is good' is it a matter of necessity that one will be motivated to some extent to give to charity? Or is it possible for one to make such a judgement and have no motivation at all (and for such a judgement to count as a legitimate moral judgement)? At the end we will see how these questions concerning psychology are integral to the earlier debates of metaphysics. Throughout, we will be examining these questions and issues by looking at work by authors from the start of the twentieth century (e.g. G. E. Moore) and by more recent writers (e.g. Simon Blackburn, Allan Gibbard, J. L. Mackie, John McDowell and Michael Smith).

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30

This course is designed to introduce students to a number of philosophical issues arising from medical research and medical practice. Students will consider attempts to define the following terms – health, illness, and disease – and discuss what rests on their definition. Much medical practice proceeds as though medicine were a natural science. This module will probe the limitations of this conception. The placebo effect demonstrates the powerful influence of suggestion on the body and students will consider its relevance to philosophical ideas of the mind-body relation. Finally, students will consider ethical issues arising in medical practice, such as 'medically assisted death'.

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30

The module will enable students to acquire knowledge and understanding of Wittgenstein's approach to philosophy, and to acquire familiarity with major themes especially in the areas of epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of language. The module will give students practice in deploying their critical philosophical skills.

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30

This module studies some central questions in philosophy of religion, drawing on topics in metaphysics, ethics, epistemology, philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. It begins by studying and critically assessing three of the 'classical' arguments for the existence of God—the ontological argument, the cosmological argument and the argument from design —which consider respectively whether reason, science or experience can show us that God exists. It goes on to consider the relationship between religion and morality, examining Kant’s moral argument, which appears to support a case for the existence of God, and Plato’s Euthyphro Dilemma, which appears to tell against it. Finally, it considers some central topics in religious epistemology, language and philosophy of mind, including: miracles, the nature of religious experience, religious language and personal identity. One underlying question the module considers is whether the above arguments and topics could be used to support or tell against an argument for the overall rationality of religious belief.

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30

Language is a wonderful thing. Groups of marks or bursts of sound are just physical entities but, when produced by a writer or a speaker, they are used to point beyond themselves. This is the property of aboutness or intentionality. Other physical entities generally don't have this property. When you hear a sentence, you hear a burst of sound, but typically you also understand a meaning conveyed by the speaker. What is the meaning of a word – some weird entity that floats alongside the word, a set of rules associating the word with objects, an intention in the mind of the speaker….? What is the difference between what your words imply and what you convey in saying them? How are words used non-literally, how do hearers catch on to the meaning of a newly minted metaphor? How can we mean and convey so much when uttering a concise sentence? How is it that learning a second language can be so frustrating and time consuming, whereas we learn our first language with no trouble at all? The questions keep coming. In this module we shall try to find some answers.

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30

The aim of this course is to engage in the study of specific topics in the philosophy of mind, language, or action and to engage with the criticism of contemporary approaches as it is found in the works of Wittgenstein, Ryle, Anscombe, and/or Austin.

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30

Logic is the study of the methods and principles used to distinguish correct reasoning from incorrect reasoning and, as such, it is a crucial component of any philosophy course. Moreover, logic has applications other than the testing of arguments for cogency: it is also a widely used and useful tool for clarifying the problematic concepts that have traditionally troubled philosophers, e.g., deductive consequence, rational degree of belief, knowledge, necessary truth, identity, etc. Indeed, much contemporary philosophy cannot be understood without a working knowledge of logic. Given this, logic is an important subject for philosophy students to master.

The module will primarily cover propositional and predicate logic. Regarding propositional and predicate logic, the focus will be on methods for testing the validity of an argument. These methods will allow students to distinguish correct from incorrect reasoning. The module will also cover inductive and modal logics. Regarding inductive and modal logics, the focus will be on clarifying epistemological concepts through the use of these logics.

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30

The module will study some of the major works in the history of modern philosophy of science. Texts to be studied will be drawn from a list which includes major works by philosophers such as Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos, Salmon, etc. The approach will be philosophical and critical, and will involve the close reading of texts. Students will be expected to engage critically with the works being studied and to formulate and argue for their own views on the issues covered.

Themes to be studied will include: the nature of scientific theory change, the status of scientific claims, the methodology of scientific reasoning, the prospects for automating scientific reasoning.

The course will cover a range of topics such as:

Inductivism versus falsificationism

Research Programmes

Incommensurability

Realism

Instrumentalism

Probabilistic Reasoning

Causal Reasoning

Mathematical Reasoning

Confirmation

Explanation

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30

The module will study some of the major works in the history of modern philosophy of cognitive science and artificial intelligence. An indicative list of topics is: The Turing test; the Chinese Room argument; the frame problem; connectionism; extended and embodied cognition; artificial consciousness. The approach will be philosophical and critical, and will involve the close reading of texts. Students will be expected to engage critically with the works being studied and to formulate and argue for their own views on the issues covered.

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30

What is art? What is an artwork? Do all types and examples of (what are traditionally classed as) artworks have identifying features in common? If so, what are they? Or, are there such interesting differences between works of literature, pieces of sculpture and the like, that searching for a definition of art is a futile task and this type of question misguided? Do avant-garde works count as art? Can anything count as art, such as food, if it’s presented in the right way or made with the right sort of intention? What does all of this tell us about the nature of definition generally?

These are some of the questions that we will explore at the start of this course. After that we will consider other issues and questions. What is the relation of art to beauty and other aesthetic qualities? What is it for a performance to be ‘authentic’ and is this sort of performance to be privileged in any way? Why is rock music such a part of our lives? Is there anything aesthetically wrong with a forgery? What is the nature of aesthetic experience and of our emotional responses to art? Why do we care so much about the fate of fictional characters? Is there any difference between pornography and erotica? Are artists subject to a different moral code? And what on earth is the point of public art? What is public art?

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15

How does truth relate to existence? This module looks at the connection between truths and the things that make them true. We consider questions relating to the connection between truth and ontology (or existence) concerning time, persistence, possibility, generality, composition, and causation. We will look at how these issues are discussed in contemporary analytic metaphysics. We will explore both what solutions looking at the connections between truth and ontology might offer, whether this approach to the problems is useful, and how best to communicate the problems we discuss.

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Year in industry

If you achieve at least 60% in Stage 1 and are studying full-time, you can opt to spend a year in industry between Stages 2 and 3 to gain relevant workplace experience and enhance your employment prospects following graduation. The year is assessed on a pass/fail basis through employer feedback and a written report that you submit. 

Please note that School of Arts academics can offer advice to students when finding a placement but students are ultimately responsible for finding and securing their own placement. Students will also need to cover the costs of their own travel and accommodation during their year in industry.

Year abroad

Going abroad as part of your degree is an amazing experience and a chance to develop personally, academically and professionally.  You experience a different culture, gain a new academic perspective, establish international contacts and enhance your employability. 

All full-time students within the Faculty of Humanities can apply to spend a Term or Year Abroad as part of their degree at one of our partner universities in North America, Asia or Europe. You are expected to adhere to any progression requirements including achieving a merit at Stage 1 and Stage 2 to proceed to the Term or Year Abroad. 

The Term or Year abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and will not count towards your final degree classification. Places and destination are subject to availability, language and degree programme. To find out more, please see Go Abroad.

Please note that the Year Abroad option is only available to those studying on a full-time basis. Students will need to cover the costs of their own travel and accommodation during this time abroad.

Stage 3

Modules may include Credits

The module will focus on selected aspects of the development of art in France, during the period when Paris was widely seen as the powerhouse of innovation and achievement in the Western art world. The underlying structure will be chronological. Relevant tendencies and movements include Neo-classicism, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, Symbolism and Cubism. Prominent artists to be considered include David, Géricault, Delacroix, Courbet, Manet, Monet, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Seurat, Rodin, Matisse, and Picasso. Such visual material will be considered in the context of: wider political and social history; the evolution of exhibiting institutions and the art world; current art theory and criticism; attitudes towards artistic tradition and the visual cultures of non-western societies (e.g. the phenomenon of 'primitivism'; the impact and evolution of photography, launched in 1839; the emergence of the idea of the artistic avant-garde; the reinterpretation of specific genres, such as the portrait, landscape, the nude, history painting; patterns and shifts within art-historical scholarship on the material. The importance of studying original art objects will be embedded in the module through the scheduling of a visit to relevant galleries in London (e.g. National Gallery, Tate Modern, Courtauld Gallery) and/or Paris (subject to funding). Chronological coverage may vary between successive iterations of the module.

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On application, students may take this 30 Credit Year Long module. Admission is subject to approval of a project proposal. Proposals must be submitted to the Module Convenor by 07/04/2017. Within your proposal you must state a preferred supervisor with whom you should have consulted. The proposal form can be downloaded from the School of Arts website, see www.kent.ac.uk/arts/current-students/undergraduates.html and click on module availability. Alternatively you can request a copy at Jarman Reception. The Module Convenor will contact you in the summer term to confirm whether your proposal has been accepted. Students wanting to change into ART500 at a later stage maybe permitted to do so (subject to the suitability of the application and the availability of the supervisor) but should contact the Module Convenor and submit a proposal at the earliest opportunity. Proposals will not be accepted after 12/06/2017 unless there are exceptional circumstances, for which there is a separate procedure and timetable in September. If students wish to make an exceptional application for consideration in September, prior to the start of term, this needs to be submitted through the potential supervisor who will write an accompanying supporting statement. This would need to verify the proposal, confirm supervisory responsibility and endorse the student's ability to complete the project on time. Students should expect to undertake preliminary research over the summer and to see their supervisor before the summer vacation begins. Hence, late applications will only be accepted if supervisors are convinced that students are sufficiently prepared for the independent study and have already undertaken prior research. Applications for consideration as exceptional circumstances in September need to be submitted between 04/09/17 and 18/09/17. Students cannot transfer onto ART 500 after the start of term. For more information please speak to the Module Convenor at the School Fair."

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Students will engage in a work-based situation of their choice. The student will be responsible for finding the work-based situation, though support from the School and CES will be available. The internship should bear relevance to their subject of study or a career they expect to pursue upon graduation. The total of 300 hours will be divided as required for purposes of preparation, attendance of work placement and reflection/completion of required assessment. For further information please talk to the module convenor at the School of Arts Module Fair.

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Films in certain genres, such as the Western, action film and martial arts film, are often gendered masculine, their powerful, active and typically violent male protagonists seen as representing masculinity. There is, however, also a long tradition of transgressive female protagonists in "male" genres, and this module investigates such characters. In addition to giving an overview of various types of transgressive female protagonists, the module explores in depth one or a few type(s) of transgressive female protagonist depending on the convenor's research interests. Case studies may include American action film, martial arts film, Blaxploitation/exploitation film, rape-revenge film, Western, crime film/television, film noir and horror in film and television. For example, in the action film the female protagonist’s display of power and strength may be seen as masculine, but she is often also portrayed with stereotypically feminine traits such as beauty and a sexy appearance. The female protagonist is thus often perceived as standing between the masculine and the feminine. Among the many questions triggered by transgressive female protagonists, this module might explore whether this character can and should be perceived as feminist or merely as exploitative, and how and why such protagonists may appeal to a female audience in particular.

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The organising principle of this course is derived from Giovanni Pietro Bellori’s Vite de’ Pittori et Architetti Moderni (1672). In selecting a small group of twelve exemplary artists for his history, Bellori was employing artistic biography to expound his theory of art based on the Idea. This charted a middle way between naturalism and mannerism, through which the imitation of nature informed by the principles of antique art produced works which surpassed nature. Among the artists included in Bellori’s corpus are Annibale and Agostino Carracci, Michelangelo da Caravaggio, and the non-Italian artists Nicolas Poussin, Peter Paul Rubens, and Anthony Van Dyck. Several of the leading artists of the period were excluded from the canon, notably Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Francesco Borromini and Pietro da Cortona. Bellori presumably had these artists in mind when he condemned his contemporaries who “juggle madly with corners, gaps and twirling lines, discompose bases, capitals and columns with stucco nonsense, trivial ornament and disproportions”. The aesthetic and theoretical judgements which informed Bellori’s exclusion of artists from his book can be glimpsed in this quote. In the art historical literature on this period such critical judgements are explained in terms of the dichotomy between “classicism” and “the baroque” (although these were not terms used in the period). Following Riegl and Wölfflin the baroque has been defined in opposition to classic art, as an art of becoming rather than of being, addressing the emotions, rather than the intellect, through a tactile evocation of appearances. Often the theoretical writing of the period has been characterised as reacting against, or irrelevant to, what was truly innovative about the work of baroque artists like Bernini and Borromini. These generalisations will be tested through close study of the works of the artists named above, and also by exploring how they might relate to contemporary artistic debates, such as those at the French Académie Royale about the relative merits of Poussin and Rubens, or between Andrea Sacchi and Pietro da Cortona in Rome over the number of figures which should be included in a narrative painting. In addition to exploring the acute interest in stylistic criticism during the seventeenth century, the study of individual artists will also involve consideration of the role played by their patrons, especially their ideological, religious and antiquarian concerns. Although the course will progress by studying individual artists in roughly chronological order, the treatment will be thematic rather than monographic. Lectures at the beginning and end of the course will introduce and summarise the more general historiographical themes; the remaining lectures will be on artists including Caravaggio, Annibale Carracci, Bernini, Borromini, Pietro da Cortona, Poussin, Rubens and Van Dyck.

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This module explores a range of neo-avant-garde and post-war art practice from the 1960s through to the contemporary; from the Minimalism & Pop Art of the 1960s through to the YBAs and after. It will introduce and discuss some of the key artistic figures within the period, exploring their practice, critical contexts and legacy. Taking a thematic approach to one of the most innovative and stylistically diverse art historical periods, we will consider a range of genres – painting, sculpture, installation, performance and land art – exploring how artists have re-defined and developed their practice in the cultural period following Modernism. Artists exampled will typically include Jake and Dinos Chapman, Gilbert & George, Eva Hesse, Jenny Saville, Yinka Shonibare, Gerhard Richter and Rachel Whiteread.

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The development of Abstract Art is one of the distinctive features of the 20th Century. This module examines the roots of the aspiration to allow 'the object to evaporate like smoke' in European and Russian art, and the establishment of Constructivism as a central force in artistic practice in 20th century art. The spiritual, philosophical and social ideas (and ideals) of key artists (such as Malevich, Tatlin, Kandinsky, Mondrian and Klee) are considered in relation to their artistic practice; the work and ideas of American abstractionists are addressed through an examination of legendary figures such as Rothko, Pollock and Stella; discussion of Nicholson, Moore, and de Staël, among others, enables us to think about the response of the British and European artworld to the challenges and opportunities of abstraction and construction. Finally, we will explore how contemporary artists make use of this ‘radical tradition’. Throughout the module we will raise the question of how to make, think about and respond to an ‘art without objects’.

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• This module will be for final year students who are interested in gaining employment within the art and heritage press and/or marketing sectors. It will complement the vocational and work-based emphasis of the existing HPA Internship module (HA579). It will comprise a series of taught seminars supplemented by visiting speakers from the art/trade press, and from across the marketing and heritage sectors [6-8 speakers per module delivery].

• NB: This is not an NCTJ validated course and makes no pretence at providing the full competencies of such. What it will provide will be an introduction to a range of press and related activities within the visual arts and heritage sectors. It will be of relevance for those students considering the possibility of working within these areas and for those who wish to explore some of the practicalities of researching and submitting copy and undertaking related promotional and marketing activities.

• The module will start by considering examples from the range of trade, specialist and institutionally affiliated publications which service the art and heritage markets. It will consider their target readerships, commissioning practices and particular subject and industry angles. Publications such as The Antiques Trade Gazette, The Art Newspaper, Tate Magazine and Art Monthly will be among those evaluated.

• Seminars will introduce some of the basic principles of trade writing: standing up and presenting copy proposals for commissioning; adapting copy to differing house-styles; preparing for and undertaking interviews for writing briefs and useful sources of information for generating ideas for prospective writing projects. Seminars will also consider the arts-related promotional work typically undertaken by press and marketing departments within auction houses, public art galleries and within government-funded organisations such as the British Council, and those local and regional authorities with heritage related responsibilities and sections (Canterbury City Council, Medway Unitary Authority etc).

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This module aims to introduce second and third year students to the key aesthetic concepts of the sublime, disgust and humour, and to their application in the analysis of art and visual culture. Through a sustained focus on these key theories and a range of case studies, the module will also facilitate the development of students' subject-specific and key skills.

The module will be divided into three parts which focus separately on the sublime, disgust and humour; although general issues confronting the study of experience in art history and theory will be discussed throughout. The first part of the module will focus on the historical origins of the concept of the sublime in the works of Edmund Burke and Immanuel Kant. Their theories will be discussed in relation to eighteenth and nineteenth century visual culture, and in relation to instances of the sublime in modern and contemporary culture, including representations of nature and the cosmos, religious experiences and ascetic practices. The use of the sublime in promoting political and ideological ends, as in the Nazi propaganda films of Leni Riefenstahl, will also receive attention. The second part of the module will examine theories of disgust, including Charles Darwin’s evolutionary approach and Julia Kristeva’s account of 'the abject’. The vogue for the disgusting in contemporary art, beginning during the 1990s in the work of artists such as Cindy Sherman, Paul McCarthy, Gilbert & George, Tracey Emin, David Falconer and Jake & Dinos Chapman, will be critically discussed, and the relation of disgust to shock and horror will also be considered. The third part of the module will examine theories of humour, including the ‘incongruity’ and ‘release’ theories, and Sigmund Freud’s theory of jokes. Various uses artists have found for humour, from Marcel Duchamp to postmodern irony, will be discussed. ‘Gross-out’ humour and ‘black’ humour will also be a topic of attention, and examples from contemporary popular culture, including The League of Gentlemen and the films of the Farrelly brothers, will be considered. While focusing on the visual arts, the module will also consider case studies from literature and popular visual culture, including film and television, and so should also prove an attractive option to students within the Humanities Faculty as a whole.

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This module will pursue three interrelated aims through the use and study of drawing:

Firstly, it will introduce students to the range of drawing techniques used by the Old Masters, the different types of drawings they produced and their function in the process of designing and executing works of art. It will equip students with the tools for analysing and identifying drawings, providing the foundations for effective connoisseurship. Working with collections of Old Master drawings such as those at the British Museum, the Courtauld Institute, the Strang Print Room and the Victoria & Albert Museum it will familiarise students with a representative range of graphic art from the European tradition by such artists as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, Dürer, Annibale Carracci, Rubens and Van Dyck.

Secondly, it will equip students with a practice-based understanding of the role of drawing in artistic training and of its importance as a tool for creative work. Students will participate in drawing seminars where they will carry out exercises modelled on artistic practice during the period 1400-1700 and illustrated with examples of Old Master drawings to provide guidance. These will begin with rudimentary conventions for drawing eyes and ears, through copy drawings to mechanical drawing methods like perspective and shadow projection, tracing and the use of the grid. The exercises will then build on these simple beginnings and develop towards portrait drawing informed by anatomical analysis of the skull, drawing from sculptural casts, from the draped and nude figure, sketching the landscape, and finally working towards the compositional drawing and methods for enlarging it. Drawing exercises will clarify for students the processes of artistic visualization and design, and make available to them an important tool of visual and art historical analysis.

Thirdly, the module will provide students with historical insights into the importance of drawing for art in the Western tradition, and of the theoretical expression of this importance in the concept of 'disegno'. It will explore theories defining drawing as an intellectual process of design (as well as a graphic technique), and related debates concerning the relative importance of drawing and colour, and painting and sculpture.

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How does truth relate to existence? This module looks at the connection between truths and the things that make them true. We consider questions relating to the connection between truth and ontology (or existence) concerning time, persistence, possibility, generality, composition, and causation. We will look at how these issues are discussed in contemporary analytic metaphysics. We will explore both what solutions looking at the connections between truth and ontology might offer, whether this approach to the problems is useful, and how best to communicate the problems we discuss.

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This module provides an opportunity for independent work within an area of philosophy chosen by the student. THOSE WHO WISH TO TAKE THIS MODULE MUST (1) ENSURE THAT THERE IS A MEMBER OF THE PHILOSOPHY BOARD OF STUDIES WILLING TO SUPERVISE THEIR WORK; (2) SUBMIT AN OUTLINE AND PROVISIONAL TITLE OF THE PROPOSED DISSERTATION, ENDORSED BY THE PROSPECTIVE SUPERVISOR, TO THE MODULE CONVENOR FOR APPROVAL BEFORE BEING ADMITTED ONTO THE MODULE. STUDENTS ARE STRONGLY ADVISED TO JOIN ONE OF THE READING GROUPS (TO BE ANNOUNCED) AND WORK ON THEIR ESSAY AND DISSERTATION WITHIN THAT CONTEXT.The Dissertation should normally be about 9000 (maximum 10000) words long; it may consist either of an essay on a single theme, or of two or three Essays on complementary themes in Philosophy. Please note that the Dissertation is one of the most difficult modules. You should not apply to register for it unless you have a definite project to which you are seriously committed with the support of a member of staff who is willing to supervise you.

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This module provides an opportunity for students to produce a substantial piece of independent philosophical work, and at the same time to improve their skills in essay writing by getting one-to-one supervision and feedback on a specific piece of work. It is available to Single Honours and Joint Honours Philosophy students. It cannot be taken by other students as a 'wild module'. THOSE WISHING TO TAKE THE MODULE MUST ENSURE THAT THERE IS A MEMBER OF THE PHILOSOPHY BOARD OF STUDIES WILLING TO SUPERVISE THEIR WORK. THEY MUST SUBMIT AN OUTLINE OF THE PROPOSED AREA OF STUDY, ENDORSED BY THE PROSPECTIVE SUPERVISOR, TO THE MODULE CONVENOR FOR APPROVAL BEFORE BEING ADMITTED ONTO THE MODULE.

The Extended Essay should not be more than 5000 words long and must be submitted by the first day of the following term. Please note that the extended essay is considered a difficult module. You should not apply to register for it unless you have a definite project to which you are seriously committed with the support of a member of staff who is willing to supervise you.

Note: you can not take PL520 in conjunction with PL507 Philosophy Dissertation

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What is art? What is an artwork? Do all types and examples of (what are traditionally classed as) artworks have identifying features in common? If so, what are they? Or, are there such interesting differences between works of literature, pieces of sculpture and the like, that searching for a definition of art is a futile task and this type of question misguided? Do avant-garde works count as art? Can anything count as art, such as food, if it’s presented in the right way or made with the right sort of intention? What does all of this tell us about the nature of definition generally?

These are some of the questions that we will explore at the start of this course. After that we will consider other issues and questions. What is the relation of art to beauty and other aesthetic qualities? What is it for a performance to be ‘authentic’ and is this sort of performance to be privileged in any way? Why is rock music such a part of our lives? Is there anything aesthetically wrong with a forgery? What is the nature of aesthetic experience and of our emotional responses to art? Why do we care so much about the fate of fictional characters? Is there any difference between pornography and erotica? Are artists subject to a different moral code? And what on earth is the point of public art? What is public art?

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15

We typically value justified belief more than simple belief, for very good reasons: a justified belief is more likely to be true than a randomly selected one. Indeed, we value knowledge even more than justified belief, since, arguably, a belief that qualifies as knowledge is true. But when is a belief justified? And what is knowledge? Is any of our beliefs justified? Do we know anything at all? Do we know that it's 8 o' clock if at 8 o' clock we see a broken watch indicating 8 o’ clock? Do we know that our cat is sleeping on the sofa, if we don’t know that we’re not brains in a vat? This module investigates these and other epistemological questions, mostly by looking at some deeply puzzling sceptical arguments, some of which areas old as Philosophy is, and all of which have sprung very lively debates in the recent philosophical literature.

This module is designed to introduce students to some key philosophical notions – such as belief, justification and knowledge – and to some of the most exciting and interesting literature on the subject. The module begins with a brief overview of the literature on the analysis of knowledge – this will introduce students to the main philosophical approaches to justification and knowledge: internalism and externalism. The module will then move on to consider two influential forms of Skepticism: Pyrronian skepticism and Cartesian scepticism. Students will be introduced to the main views on the structure of justification – foundationalism, coherentism and entitlement approaches – as well as to the main semantic accounts of 'know’ – contextualism, dogmatism and relevant alternatives/tracking theories. Some epistemic principles, such as the so-called KK principle, will be introduced via the presentation of epistemic paradoxes, such as the Surprise Examination Paradox.

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15

We often make claims about the world, whether in Ethics, Aesthetics, Metaphysics, History or Science. These claims might be thought to involve a correspondence between how we think about the world and how the world 'really is'. This course aims to examine questions of realism and anti-realism: does the world outrun our ability to talk about it? Do some ways of talking about the world capture how the world really is? Can we even make sense of there being a world independent of how we think about it?

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What makes it the case that certain actions, such as stealing and sharing, have ethical value? Are ethical values such as goodness and badness, compassion and cruelty, mind-independent ethical properties, properties that exist no matter what anyone thinks, desires, aims at and the like? Or are there no such ethical properties at all and when we call something good we are just expressing our emotions and feelings about a nonethical world? Are there any other positions available?

This course is designed to introduce you to some of the most exciting and interesting philosophical literature in recent years, which brings together ethics and metaphysics with a little epistemology and philosophy of language. The first half of this course will examine (what are often called) "metaethical" questions such as those above. We will then move on to discuss debates concerning moral psychology and motivation. When one says 'charity-giving is good' is it a matter of necessity that one will be motivated to some extent to give to charity? Or is it possible for one to make such a judgement and have no motivation at all (and for such a judgement to count as a legitimate moral judgement)? At the end we will see how these questions concerning psychology are integral to the earlier debates of metaphysics. Throughout, we will be examining these questions and issues by looking at work by authors from the start of the twentieth century (e.g. G. E. Moore) and by more recent writers (e.g. Simon Blackburn, Allan Gibbard, J. L. Mackie, John McDowell and Michael Smith).

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This course is designed to introduce students to a number of philosophical issues arising from medical research and medical practice. Students will consider attempts to define the following terms – health, illness, and disease – and discuss what rests on their definition. Much medical practice proceeds as though medicine were a natural science. This module will probe the limitations of this conception. The placebo effect demonstrates the powerful influence of suggestion on the body and students will consider its relevance to philosophical ideas of the mind-body relation. Finally, students will consider ethical issues arising in medical practice, such as 'medically assisted death'.

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The module will enable students to acquire knowledge and understanding of Wittgenstein's approach to philosophy, and to acquire familiarity with major themes especially in the areas of epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of language. The module will give students practice in deploying their critical philosophical skills.

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This module studies some central questions in philosophy of religion, drawing on topics in metaphysics, ethics, epistemology, philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. It begins by studying and critically assessing three of the 'classical' arguments for the existence of God—the ontological argument, the cosmological argument and the argument from design —which consider respectively whether reason, science or experience can show us that God exists. It goes on to consider the relationship between religion and morality, examining Kant’s moral argument, which appears to support a case for the existence of God, and Plato’s Euthyphro Dilemma, which appears to tell against it. Finally, it considers some central topics in religious epistemology, language and philosophy of mind, including: miracles, the nature of religious experience, religious language and personal identity. One underlying question the module considers is whether the above arguments and topics could be used to support or tell against an argument for the overall rationality of religious belief.

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Language is a wonderful thing. Groups of marks or bursts of sound are just physical entities but, when produced by a writer or a speaker, they are used to point beyond themselves. This is the property of aboutness or intentionality. Other physical entities generally don't have this property. When you hear a sentence, you hear a burst of sound, but typically you also understand a meaning conveyed by the speaker. What is the meaning of a word – some weird entity that floats alongside the word, a set of rules associating the word with objects, an intention in the mind of the speaker….? What is the difference between what your words imply and what you convey in saying them? How are words used non-literally, how do hearers catch on to the meaning of a newly minted metaphor? How can we mean and convey so much when uttering a concise sentence? How is it that learning a second language can be so frustrating and time consuming, whereas we learn our first language with no trouble at all? The questions keep coming. In this module we shall try to find some answers.

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The aim of this course is to engage in the study of specific topics in the philosophy of mind, language, or action and to engage with the criticism of contemporary approaches as it is found in the works of Wittgenstein, Ryle, Anscombe, and/or Austin.

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Logic is the study of the methods and principles used to distinguish correct reasoning from incorrect reasoning and, as such, it is a crucial component of any philosophy course. Moreover, logic has applications other than the testing of arguments for cogency: it is also a widely used and useful tool for clarifying the problematic concepts that have traditionally troubled philosophers, e.g., deductive consequence, rational degree of belief, knowledge, necessary truth, identity, etc. Indeed, much contemporary philosophy cannot be understood without a working knowledge of logic. Given this, logic is an important subject for philosophy students to master.

The module will primarily cover propositional and predicate logic. Regarding propositional and predicate logic, the focus will be on methods for testing the validity of an argument. These methods will allow students to distinguish correct from incorrect reasoning. The module will also cover inductive and modal logics. Regarding inductive and modal logics, the focus will be on clarifying epistemological concepts through the use of these logics.

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The module will study some of the major works in the history of modern philosophy of science. Texts to be studied will be drawn from a list which includes major works by philosophers such as Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos, Salmon, etc. The approach will be philosophical and critical, and will involve the close reading of texts. Students will be expected to engage critically with the works being studied and to formulate and argue for their own views on the issues covered.

Themes to be studied will include: the nature of scientific theory change, the status of scientific claims, the methodology of scientific reasoning, the prospects for automating scientific reasoning.

The course will cover a range of topics such as:

Inductivism versus falsificationism

Research Programmes

Incommensurability

Realism

Instrumentalism

Probabilistic Reasoning

Causal Reasoning

Mathematical Reasoning

Confirmation

Explanation

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The module will study some of the major works in the history of modern philosophy of cognitive science and artificial intelligence. An indicative list of topics is: The Turing test; the Chinese Room argument; the frame problem; connectionism; extended and embodied cognition; artificial consciousness. The approach will be philosophical and critical, and will involve the close reading of texts. Students will be expected to engage critically with the works being studied and to formulate and argue for their own views on the issues covered.

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This module provides an introduction to some of the major works in ancient Greek philosophy in relation to ethics, aesthetics, political theory, ontology and metaphysics. Students will study substantial portions of primary texts by the Pre-Socratics, Plato and Aristotle. The emphasis throughout will be on the philosophical significance of the ideas studied. The module will concentrate on understanding key philosophical arguments and concepts within the context of the ancient Greek intellectual tradition. This means that students will gain a critical distance from normative and modern definitions of philosophical terms in order to understand how Greek philosophy generally approached questions and problems with different suppositions and conceptions of reality, reason and the purpose of human existence.

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This module will introduce students to philosophical theories of causality and philosophical theories of probability. The module will provide a broad background to the range of available interpretations of causality and probability. Topics to be covered will vary from year to year, in light of the expertise of the person convening it and student feedback from previous years. Students will gain a good understanding of the complementary and in some cases conflicting perspectives and methodologies on causality and probability. The module will enable students to evaluate contemporary issues in a manner that's informed by a comprehensive set of relevant traditions.

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This module is aimed at those students who would like to follow a career as Primary or Secondary School teachers, but is also suitable to those who would like to combine an academic course with work experience. Placements in a school environment will enhance the students' employment opportunities as they will acquire a range of skills. It will also provide the students with the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding of Religious Education and Philosophy in the primary or secondary school context. The university sessions and weekly school work will complement each other. Therefore, attendance to university sessions is crucial as it will also give the students the opportunity to discuss aspects related to their weekly placement and receive guidance. The student will spend one half-day per week for ten weeks in a school where each student will have a designated teacher-mentor who will guide their work in school. They will observe sessions taught by their designated teacher and possibly other teachers. Initially, for these sessions the students will concentrate on specific aspects of the teachers’ tasks, and their approach to teaching a whole class. As they progress, their role will be as teaching assistants, by helping individual pupils who are having difficulties or by working with small groups. They may teach brief or whole sessions with the whole class or with a small group of students where they explain a topic related to the school syllabus. They may also talk about aspects of University life. They must keep a weekly journal reflecting on their activities at their designated school.

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This module has an ambitious but hopefully not ridiculous goal: to teach you something about how to live well. It will do so by introducing you to some of the most prominent philosophical traditions that have tried to offer practical advice on how to live, such as that of the Stoics and the Epicureans, but also the religiously inspired traditions of Buddhists, Confucians and Jesuit philosophers.* Of course, you can't learn to live well simply by reading a few books—not even really good ones. That’s why, as part of the module, you’ll also spend three days living in accordance with one of the traditions covered, and then reporting back your experience to the rest of the class, either through a traditional presentation, or by making a short video about your experience. You might not come out a Stoic sage at the other end of this module (although who knows?), but you’ll have learned quite a few things about what some very interesting people thought about how to live well, some of which you’ll be able to incorporate into your daily life.

* Topics covered will likely vary from year to year. The variations will be guided by the expertise of whichever person happens to be convening the module any given year, and by student feedback on previous years.

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This course brings together a range of theories of love from the history of philosophy and from various traditions, including analytical philosophy, feminism, pragmatism and continental thought. It will explore questions of love, beauty and friendship in Plato, religious models in Aquinas, ars erotica in ancient Indian and Chinese philosophies of love, Romantic traditions of love, the logic of love in Peirce and James, feminist politics of love and maternity, and cognitive models of love. The course will also examine a range of analytical questions of love, including debates about the different types of love (eros, agape and philia), the problems of talking about love in philosophical language, distinctions between self-love and relational love, the relation of love to literature and poetry, love as embodied instinct and mental idea, the relation between love and sex, and connections between love, compassion and caring. The aim of the course is to combine a philosophical history of love with critical analytical skills to think about love as a dynamic feature of human relationships.

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William James (1842-1910) has arguably had a profound impact in the shaping of three contemporary disciplines: philosophy, psychology and the study of religion. This course aims to examine the life and work of William James in depth. It will examine the life of William James and the James family and show how this relates to his work. The course will examine his key texts: Principles of Psychology (1890), The Will to Believe (1897), The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902) and his studies of pragmatism, including Pragmatism (1907), The Pluralistic Universe (1909) and The Meaning of Truth (1909). It will also explore his long term and frustrated attempt to set up a scientific study of psychical phenomena.

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The present module will introduce students to classical as well as contemporary discussions in the intersection between politics, philosophy, and economics. Topics to be covered will vary from year to year, in light of the expertise of the person convening it and student feedback from previous years. That said, the relevant variations will be constrained by considerations ensuring that one cohort will not be disadvantaged compared to the next, and are likely to consistently include some sub-set of the following:

• Authoritarianism

• Behavioural economics

• Collective action

• Federal and non-federal unions

• Game theory

• Liberalism, illiberalism, and paternalism

• Markets and trade

• Money and finance

• Philosophy of Power

• Property

• Public choice

• Rational choice

• States and corporations

• Terrorism

• Theocracy

• Voting

• Work and capital

Through these and related topics, students will gain a good understanding of the complementary and in some cases conflicting perspectives and methodologies contained in politics, philosophy, and economics, and enable them to evaluate contemporary issues in a manner that's informed by a comprehensive set of relevant traditions.

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Many people today are reluctant to identify themselves as 'feminist': either because they see feminism as a useful political movement that has essentially served its purposes; or because they view feminism as a 'single-issue', militant ideology that they cannot identify with. This module is intended to give students an opportunity to reflect philosophically on what claims like this could mean: if we live in a post-feminist era, why do women earn, on average, two thirds of what their male counterparts earn? If we live in post-feminist era, why are women still under-represented in many fields (including politics, science and academic philosophy?). If feminism is a 'single-issue' ideology, why is it that feminists have proposed such a variety of solutions to the above problems, and from such a wide range of political standpoints?

The module explores some key debates in contemporary feminist philosophy, with particularly emphasis on its uncomfortable relationship with liberalism. The course draws attention to feminist critiques of key liberal concepts, such as consent, the social contract, autonomy, universal rights, and the private/public distinction. We go on to apply theoretical debates in feminist thought to the following political issues: prostitution, pornography, feminine appearance, multiculturalism, and human rights.

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This course is designed to introduce students to a number of approaches in what is often referred to as “normative ethics”. We face and hear about moral problems every day. These problems range from life and death matters concerning abortion, euthanasia and the like to other types of case such as whether to tell a lie to prevent hurting someone’s feelings. At some point we might wonder whether there is a set of rules or principles (such as ‘Do not lie’) which will help us through these tricky problems; we might wonder whether there is something more simple underlying all of this ‘ethical mess’ that we can discern. Normative ethics contains a number of theories that attempt to give us such principles and to sort out the mess. In particular, different normative ethical theories are attempts to articulate reasons why a certain course of action is ethically best; they are attempts to say what types of feature we should concentrate on when thinking about ethical problems and why it is that such features are features which have ‘intrinsic moral significance’. Of course, ethical theories do not exist in a vacuum. As we shall see, our everyday intuitions about what is morally best are both the origin of normative ethical theories and the origin of thoughts raised against them. In all of this, the course will be examining these theories by starting with their historical roots, particularly focussing on the work of J. S. Mill, Immanuel Kant and Aristotle.

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This module concerns ideas of two of the most interesting of Western philosophers: Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche. Both thinkers developed ideas that transformed much of the intellectual landscape of twentieth century, and both wrote books that prove fruitful for successive generations. They wrote on many themes: ethics, religion, aesthetics, metaphysics, and epistemology. Both take their starting point from those thinkers that came before, notably Kant and Hegel. However, they are interesting to compare because they have such different views on philosophical thought and various themes. In particular, some of Nietzsche’s thought is framed explicitly in opposition to Schopenhauer’s, with the former casting the latter as the great pessimist. An appreciation of their ideas is an important part of the education of many philosophy students. However, both Schopenhauer and Nietzsche can be hard writers to read and understand. This module is designed both to introduce some of their ideas and develop a student’s appreciation of them such that he or she can discuss them with confidence and critical insight.

The module will not cover all of the writings of either or both thinkers. Students will typically read selections from Schopenhauer’s masterwork The World as Will and Representation and then selections from a variety of Nietzsche’s works, or one work in full. These will be read on their own, with ideas from both thinkers compared. Modern writers and commentators will be read in addition to help reveal the importance of Schopenhauer’s and Nietzsche’s ideas.

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The curriculum is intended to introduce students to some of the key arguments and debates in contemporary continental political philosophy through the focussed reading and discussion of the works of a number of central thinkers (Charles Taylor, Iris Marion Young, Foucualt, Derrida, Butler) in this field. It is also the aim of this module to consider the works and ideas of philosophers that are often overlooked on undergraduate political philosophy courses e.g. feminist thinkers and Queer theorists.

The curriculum should not be regarded as written in stone but responsive to new publications and developments in this field of research and to events in the wider world.

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The module will cover some of the major topics of the theory of reasoning, with a focus on presenting students with new and exciting research. The syllabus will vary from year to year. The approach will be philosophical and critical, and may involve the close reading of texts. Students will be expected to engage critically with the works being studied and to formulate and argue for their own views on the issues covered.

As an indication of the kind of topics covered, the following are three potential syllabi, one of which might operate in any particular year:

1. Probability and probabilistic reasoning: This syllabus will present the major interpretations of probability and their connection with the various kinds of probabilistic reasoning. Topics covered might include: the classical interpretation; the logical interpretation; the subjective interpretation; the frequency interpretation; the propensity interpretation; the objective Bayesian interpretation. The key text will be D.A.Gillies (2000): Philosophical theories of probability, Routledge.

2. Causality and causal reasoning: This syllabus will present the major theories of causality, including difference-making theories (probabilistic theories, counterfactual theories, agency theories), mechanistic theories (process theories, complex systems theories) and pluralist theories. It will go on to consider methods of causal reasoning in the sciences and the implications of such methods for the metaphysics of causality. In the absence of a comprehensive text, this syllabus will appeal to papers, especially those in the Oxford Handbook of Causation (OUP 2009), and Causality in the Sciences (OUP 2011).

3. Invalid arguments: This syllabus will look in detail at methods of assessing the cogency of deductively invalid arguments. In particular it will present the methods of inductive logic for assessing the plausibility of arguments. It will provide an introduction to probabilistic logics and their semantics, as well as to methods of inference in probabilistic logics, with a focus on elementary methods that can be readily acquired by students with little prior training in logic and no prior knowledge of probability theory. In the absence of a text at a suitable level, this syllabus will be accompanied by a set of detailed lecture notes.

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Under what circumstances might it be permissible to use violence to further political goals? What distinguishes different sorts of political violence? Ought the state to have a monopoly on political violence? Are there some methods that should never be used to further political goals? In this course, we will look at the various forms of political violence, and consider how political and legal theorists have tried to regulate violent interaction between states and within states. We will examine the conceptual difficulties that arise when postulating international laws, and consider the role of the United Nations as international mediator and law enforcer. We will also look at the rights of self-determination amongst sub-national groups, and at the obligations of the international community to intervene to prevent humanitarian abuses.

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Is it right that the talented profit from their (undeserved) talents? Should the government provide compensation for people who find it hard to meet that special someone? Is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation a benevolent charity, or an unelected, unaccountable group wielding enormous political power?

This course is divided into two parts. The first part examines classic topics in political philosophy, such as the sources and scope of political authority, and the ideals of equality and freedom. The second part of the course will explore issues within contemporary political philosophy, such as our obligations to those in the developing world, the circumstances under which one might legitimately employ civil disobedience, and the politics of immigration. We will consider whether we can make sense of political obligation between states as well as within states. We will look at these issues in the context of particular case studies, such as the recent debate over the showing of an anti-Islam film in the House of Lords, and the West's failure to intervene in Rwanda.

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Teaching and assessment

Art History

All modules are assessed by coursework – essays, presentations, image or text analyses and other module-related activities. We do not schedule exams. This approach to assessment helps you to develop an in-depth knowledge of topics within modules that are most interesting and relevant to your study, and to acquire a wide range of generic and transferable skills.

Our programmes emphasise a close working relationship with students. The academic adviser system ensures that all of our students have access to a designated tutor for pastoral support and academic guidance throughout their time at Kent.

All modules include weekly lectures and small group seminars, but a distinctive feature is that many modules involve visits to London galleries, overseas visits to museums and other out-of-classroom activities. Helping students to acquire independence of thought and the skills of autonomous study are central to our teaching ethos.

Philosophy

Teaching is by lectures, seminars, class discussions, and individual and group research, which is discussed in class. Assessment at all stages varies from 100% coursework to a combination of examination and coursework.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • produce graduates who have an informed, critical and analytical approach to understanding the history and philosophy of art
  • develop existing and new areas of teaching in response to current research and scholarship within the subject as well as to developments within the contemporary arts
  • foster the ability to think and work independently
  • enhance awareness of sensitivity to the context of the production and reception of the arts over a range of historical periods
  • develop a critical and analytical approach to interpreting art
  • provide students with an informed knowledge of the principles of art history, visual traditions and traditions of art historical writing
  • enhance students’ skills of interpersonal interaction and the development of critical reflexiveness in individual and group work
  • provide teaching that is informed by current research and scholarship
  • provide opportunities for the development of personal, communication, research and other key skills.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • particular forms of the visual arts and the way they can be interpreted
  • the historical evolution of visual traditions, artistic movements, media and genres of art
  • the works of a range of significant artists, with particular emphasis on the period from the Renaissance to the present day
  • the cultural, social and historical contexts in which works of art are produced and their uses
  • the technique and processes through which artefacts are made and constructed in the cultures studied
  • modes, formal conventions and styles of representation in the fine arts, photography and related visual media
  • critical and theoretical tools and concepts that have evolved for interpreting works of art
  • methodologies and approaches to the study of visual arts
  • substantive areas of current research in history and philosophy of art
  • aesthetic theories and their impact on the production of art
  • the relationship between different visual media and different artistic traditions.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual skills in how to:

  • engage critically and independently with the major thinkers, intellectual paradigms, scholarly literature and issues and debates within the subject
  • understand the historical emergence of forms of visual culture and the nature of the discipline
  • examine the historical, social and historical context in which art is produced
  • blend empirical and historical information with concepts
  • apply knowledge and experience to address problems within the subject
  • analyse and interpret works of art in a manner that demonstrates critical evaluation
  • critically reflect upon your own work and your understanding of the subject
  • conduct various forms of research for essays, projects, seminar assignments and dissertations involving independent enquiry
  • formulate appropriate research questions and employ appropriate methods and resources for exploring those questions
  • draw upon and evaluate a range of sources and the conceptual frameworks appropriate to researching in the subject area
  • reflect upon the underlying cultural and epistemological assumptions that structure the understanding of the subject.

Subject-specific skills

You gain the following subject-specific skills:

  • the ability to analyse and interpret visual artefacts with an informed knowledge of the conventions of visual traditions
  • visual observation, description and analysis
  • effective deployment of terms and concepts specific to the history and theory of art
  • the ability to locate and evaluate evidence from a wide range of primary and secondary sources and interpret it in relation to relevant issues and enquiries
  • the ability to draw upon and bring together ideas from different sources of knowledge including other academic disciplines
  • the ability to articulate an understanding of visual media orally and in writing
  • the ability to marshall an argument, summarise and defend or critique a particular interpretation or analysis supported by relevant visual, textual or other evidence
  • the ability to evaluate a range of different methodologies and approaches within the subject.

Transferable skills

You gain the following transferable skills:

  • communication: organise information clearly; respond to written sources; present information orally; adapt style for different audiences; use of images as a communication tool; present arguments cogently and effectively in written, spoken or other form, with the appropriate use of visual aids
  • numeracy: make sense of statistical materials; integrate numerical and non-numerical information; understand the limits and potentialities of arguments based on quantitative information
  • information technology
  • team-working: define and review the work of others; work co-operatively on group tasks; understand how groups function
  • improving own learning: explore personal strengths and weaknesses; time management; review working environment; develop specialist learning skills; develop autonomy in learning; the ability to listen effectively and so to learn from and participate constructively in discussion; organise and manage supervised, self-directed work; flexible and independent work, showing self-discipline and self-direction; the ability to update knowledge and skills, seek and use feedback, critically reflect on and improve performance
  • problem solving: identify and define problems; explore alternative solutions and discriminate between them; focus and apply attention to detail; the ability to work diligently, to fulfil briefs and deadlines, and to take responsibility for one’s own work; gather, organise and deploy ideas in order to formulate arguments cogently and express them effectively orally and in written form
  • the ability to make subtle and discriminating comparisons of texts and visual artefacts; research and evaluate sources in the process of carrying out independent study; show an ability to draw on your knowledge and understanding of cultural issues in your engagement and contribution to contemporary society as workers and citizens.

Careers

Art History

At Kent, we take the commitment to supporting and preparing our students for life after university very seriously. A degree in History & Philosophy of Art enables you to explore the history, meaning and nature of the visual arts, while also providing the skills for a career in the arts industries and elsewhere. Career options include museum curation, options in heritage and tourism, working as an archivist and art historian; art librarianship; arts shipping and insurance; arts therapy; auctioneering; craft studio workshop management; community arts/project development work; art dealing and brokerage; gallery work; heritage management; independent curation/art consulting; journalism; picture/provenance researching and photography.

Philosophy

Through your studies, you gain the key transferable skills considered essential by graduate employers. These include excellent communication skills, both written and oral, the ability to work in a team and independently, the ability to analyse and summarise complex material and devise innovative and well thought-out solutions.

Recently, our graduates have gone into areas such as teaching, publishing, journalism, media, marketing, the civil service and the legal profession.

Independent rankings

Philosophy students who graduated from Kent in 2016, over 97% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).

For graduate prospects, History of Art at Kent was ranked 11th for course satisfaction in The Guardian University Guide 2018.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level

ABB

Access to HE Diploma

The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 16 points at HL including Philosophy 5 at HL or SL where taken

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

Fees

The 2018/19 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time
Part-time

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Fees for Year in Industry

For 2018/19 entrants, the standard year in industry fee for home, EU and international students is £1,385

Fees for Year Abroad

UK, EU and international students on an approved year abroad for the full 2018/19 academic year pay £1,385 for that year. 

Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. 

Additional costs

There may be some additional costs related to the subjects studied in this programme. Please see the Additional costs section for each subject below. Please note that these may vary depending on your specific module selection:

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

Scholarships

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

For 2018/19 entry, the scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either Mathematics or a Modern Foreign Language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

Full-time

Part-time

The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. 

Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact information@kent.ac.uk.