Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

Philosophy and Art History - BA (Hons)

UCAS code VV40

CLEARING 2018

Planning to start this September? The Clearing vacancies list will be available from 06.00 on Thursday 16 August.
2019

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.

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, focusing on a sequence of so termed '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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This module begins with a critical examination of Rene Descartes' justly celebrated Meditations on First Philosophy (published, originally, in 1641). This work not only provides a comprehensive account of Descartes' philosophical system, but also constitutes an admirable introduction to The Theory of Knowledge and to Metaphysics. Thus, Descartes' fundamentally Rationalist account of our knowledge of the external world is duly contrasted with the Empiricist accounts offered by such Twentieth Century Philosophers as Bertrand Russell and A.J.Ayer; while Descartes' Dualism is compared with the other major metaphysical doctrines, namely, Idealism, Phenomenalism and contemporary Physicalism. The module concludes with a survey of what is, perhaps, the most perplexing of metaphysical problems, namely, The Problem of Freewill and Determinism.

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This module will introduce students 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 their 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 formal 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 short passages of philosophical argument; 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.

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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.

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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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15

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 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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15

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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Stage 2

Modules may include Credits

This module will explore the impact of Surrealism on the visual arts. It will focus in detail on a small group of key surrealist artists, such as Man Ray, Max Ernst, and Salvador Dali; while also, in order to understand the scope and definition of Surrealism, considering further artists in some detail who were associated with Surrealism but who denied that they were indeed surrealists, such as Frida Kahlo or Pavel Tchelitchew. In addition the module will survey the work of those artists formally associated with the Surrealist group, and the contribution of Dadaist precursors and contemporary artists who exercised a profound influence on Surrealism. While hardly feminist, Surrealism did provide a supportive forum for a number of innovative female artists, arguably enabling the artistic careers of more women than other avant-garde movements in the first half of the Twentieth Century. The relationship of women artists to Surrealism will, therefore, be a key theme of the course. Surrealism was not, however, principally a phenomenon of the visual arts, or a conventional artistic movement: the surrealists sought to reconnect moral and artistic forces, to achieve liberation through emotional intensification ('a systematic derangement of the senses'), and by this means to revolutionize society. They drew inspiration from Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytical theories to explore the workings of the unconscious and the ‘over-determined’ symbolism of dreams, and also what Gaston Bachelard called the new scientific spirit of the ‘why not’. Characteristic methods included pure psychic automatism, objective chance, the paranoiac-critical method, the double image, dislocation, and collage. Particularly at Level 6, this module will explore the broader implications of these surrealist themes, for example the question of whether myth is an expression of society, or constitutive of it, which was a key concern for the Surrealists. Indeed, André Breton described Surrealism as ‘a method of creating a collective myth’ in 1933. These thematic aspects of the module should make it an interesting wild option for students studying literature, twentieth-century history or cultural history, in addition to history of art students.

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This module will provide a critical survey of the problematic position of sculpture within the history of art: sculpture has often been seen as a lesser art form, subsidiary to architecture or inferior to painting, and lacking theoretical definition. Sculpture's monumental or cultic functions place it nearer to the idol or votive offering than to the 'work of art’ conceived of by aesthetic theories. At the beginning of the modern era Baudelaire dismissed sculpture as ‘boring’, and yet since the Second World War various developments have led to a situation where sculpture, more broadly conceived (often in relation to performance), is leading artistic developments. The module will explore this dynamic while also touching on several of the themes which have characterised the study and appreciation of sculpture (such as the relation of sight to touch, the absence or presence of colour, the materials of sculpture etc.). The work of a number of key artists will be discussed as representative case studies from across the history of art.

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Many pictures, still and moving, in Western society and globally, in high art and demotic culture, incorporate sexual imagery and themes. This module will explore different aesthetic perspectives and theoretical approaches to such images, including those typically classified as pornography and erotica around which much of the existing philosophical literature focuses.

Here are some of the indicative questions this module will investigate:

• What is erotic art?

• In which respect and to what extent is it different from pornography?

• Is 'pornographic art' an oxymoron?

• What is the relation between erotic experience and aesthetic experience and are they at all compatible?

• What are the differences and similarities between voyeurism and aesthetic interest?

• What is the role of transgression in art?

• Are obscenity and art mutually exclusive?

To answer these questions certain fundamental issues in the philosophy of art will need to be addressed. We will therefore engage with current research on the definition of art, the nature of aesthetic value, aesthetic experience, aesthetic properties, the relation between art and morality, the psychology of picture perception, and the role of imagination in art. However, more is involved than just an abstract philosophical problem. The sexual and the erotic have often caused controversy in the history of art, and especially in the contemporary world of art (construed in the broadest sense) there are many works that consciously explore the boundaries between erotic art and pornography. Any investigation of our central theme would not be complete without a careful examination of such works. Thus, the module will draw on a variety of sources and disciplines (art history, film studies, literary theory, sociology and cultural theory) to study the sexually charged work of traditional, modern and contemporary artists, such as: Titian, Boucher, Courbet, Hokusai, Schiele, John Currin, Robert Mapplethorpe, Thomas Ruff, Nan Goldin, Larry Clark, Nagisa Oshima, Michael Winterbottom, Virginie Despentes, Nicholson Baker, Catherine Millet, Alan Moore.

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This module raises questions about the relationship between western and non-western cultural traditions. The course revolves around a series of discussions about 'encounters' between western and non-western traditions, as well as the appropriations from and differences between their traditions of representational and non-representational art. In examining the influences, appropriations and cross-fertilizations of western and non-western art and culture the course will also place these issues in a broader political and social history of the rise of nationalism, continental trade relations, advents of war, tourism, colonialism and imperialism.

It will look at the nature of 'dialogue' from a critical and art historical perspective, and thus also consider the terms and even the failures of dialogue between the west and non-western traditions; the exclusions, altercations, violations and marginalization of other cultures and their traditions.

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The course begins with an analysis of Raphael's frescoes in the Stanza della Segnatura of the Vatican Palace, as a means of introducing the key themes which will be considered throughout: proportion in architecture, the body and the geometry of vision; rhetoric, both verbal and visual, and the related concepts of variety, decorum, and composition; poetic inspiration, emulation and imitation; and the revival of antiquity. These themes are then reviewed as they occur in the writings of Leon Battista Alberti, the most evolved theoretical texts on the visual arts of the period. Alberti’s works raises the question of whether he was describing current practice or setting out an ideal, and also whether he was writing principally for artists or for their patrons? Alberti’s elevated claims for painting, architecture and, to a lesser extent, sculpture as liberal arts, are then compared with the contemporary status of artists, whether operating from a workshop or employed at court. The course continues by looking in detail at the works of four key Italian artists – Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Titian – to assess how far they engaged with, or departed from, the Albertian paradigm. Albrecht Dürer, a northern European artist excelling in the less "noble" medium of printmaking, but also profoundly interested in issues of perspective and proportion, is considered to provide a non-Italian point of view on the Renaissance. Interspersed with these studies of single artists lectures may consider in greater detail particular themes raised by these artists’ works, such as the extent of artists’ knowledge of anatomy, the influence of the ruins of Rome, the Renaissance ideal of love, the creation of new styles by transgressing architectural rules for playful effect or to achieve “grace”, and the development in Venice of the genre of pastoral landscape. Alternatively, the work of other major artists may be considered such as Correggio, Parmigianino, Bandinelli etc. Having, broadly speaking, covered the period 1470-1550 chronologically, the course concludes by looking at the mid sixteenth-century reassessment of these artistic achievements in the writings of Dolce, Varchi and Vasari.

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This innovative module examines artistic creation from historical, philosophical and practice-based perspectives. It examines topics such as the development of the idea of genius in ancient Greece and Renaissance Italy, the Romantic and Kantian conceptions of genius, and the "democratisation" of the notion, culminating in the idea that everyone has the capacity for artistic creativity, as expressed in the work of mid-twentieth century thinkers such as John Dewey and Erich Fromm. It looks at how the concepts of genius and creativity came under attack from “theory” later in the twentieth century, and considers the recent resurgence of interest in creativity, in academia and the broader culture. Students will also take part in exercises designed to foster artistic creativity. These will include a selection of approaches such as Surrealist, Bauhaus and Oulipo methods for encouraging creativity. These different perspectives will allow students to develop a well-rounded, critical and active understanding of the topic, and to understand – and perhaps develop – their own capacity for creativity.

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This module seeks to investigate some of the most pressing ethical issues in contemporary media culture and the mediated arts. Topics may include: violence in video games, nudity on the screen and in advertising, anti-heroes and villains in fiction, propaganda and manipulation, sexism and racism in humor, shock value in the news and in contemporary art. To answer the many moral questions that arise in this context students will examine basic notions such as truth, objectification, voyeurism, exploitation, offence, harm, gender, and stereotype.

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This module will look at disability in the arts, covering theatre, film and visual art. The students will engage with the historical representation of disability within the arts and the way in which disability scholars have critically engaged with it. The students will also look at arts institutions (i.e. theatres, cinemas and galleries) and the disabling barriers within those institutions that prevent the full participation of people with impairments in the arts. This will culminate in an 'accessibility review', whereby the students analyse the adjustments made by arts institutions for people with impairments and the extent to which they are effective. Finally, the students will engage with examples of contemporary disabled artists whose impairments informs the aesthetic qualities of their work.

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This is a practice-based module exploring the photographic medium and the contexts of its use through the production of photographs in response to a project brief and group-based critical discussion of the work produced. Students investigate how the context in which photographs are made affect how the world is represented, and how in turn these images shape perception. Students choose three practical project briefs that are designed to enable them to explore the medium creatively and through informed and reflective practice. The emphasis of the module is upon this creative practice rather than the acquisition of specific technical skills, and as such students are at liberty to use any photographic production and post-production technologies they wish to experiment with or find appropriate. A camera phone and access to a computer and printer are all that is needed for this module, though students who wish to make use of digital image processing or analogue processes, including use of a darkroom, are encouraged to do so. Each of the practical project briefs will be supported through a series of lectures closely examining various genres, styles and other contexts of photographic production through the work of those who have shaped them. In addition students will present the work they have produced in response to their project briefs, and engage in a broad critical discussion or their own and other's work.

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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? Should we think our duties to our compatriots are more important than our duties to people in other countries?

This course is divided into two parts. The first part examines classic topics in political philosophy, such as Rawls Theory of Justice, Nozick's libertarianism and the feminist and communitarian criticism of political liberalism. The second part of the course will explore issues within contemporary political philosophy, such as equality, our obligations to those in the developing world, 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 recent case studies.

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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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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 do not 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? When someone says something offensive, is it part of its meaning that it is offensive, or just how it is used? In this module we shall try to find some answers to the questions listed above.

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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 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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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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The course will begin by looking at various philosophical problems, as presented in films. This will involve discussing a range of different philosophical topics, from different areas of philosophy. Film here is presented as a way into the philosophical discussion, which will be supplemented by appropriate primary and secondary texts. The course will then consider ways in which the medium of film itself presents philosophical problems.

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. Philosophical issues presented through film will include, but will not be restricted to, time travel, existentialism and Philosophy of art. Philosophical Issues concerning film will include, but will not be restricted to 'is film art?', 'what is film?' and 'can film be philosophy?'.

Through these and related topics, students will gain a good understanding of both a number of issues in philosophy, and the way that the medium in which philosophy is done is potentially a constraint on or a complement to the aims of the philosophy. The module will enable students to evaluate issues, both timely and timeless, in a manner that's informed by an interdisciplinary approach to philosophy.

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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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The curriculum will typically be focused on an important classic or recent philosophical work. In addition, students will typically be expected to read critical commentaries. (Alternatively, a convenor may choose a small number of classic texts on a unified and important theme).

Exactly what the curriculum will be will differ from year to year. The point of introducing this module, and the sister module Philosophical Texts 2: Normative Ethics (PL626/627), is to offer students the chance to study a single text (or small number of texts) in a very focussed manner, and to introduce more variety into the curriculum. Things are left open so that the text can be altered each year as appropriate and so that different lecturers are given the chance to teach a different text.

Although not set in stone, typically this module will focus on a classic philosophical work, and Phil Text 2 will focus on a recently published work.

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The curriculum will typically be focused on an important classic or recent philosophical work. In addition, students will typically be expected to read critical responses and commentaries. (Alternatively, a convenor may choose a small number of texts on a unified and important theme)

Exactly what the curriculum will be will different from year to year. The point of introducing this module, and the sister module Philosophical Text 1, is to offer students the chance to study a single text (or small number of texts) in a very focussed manner, and to introduce more variety into the curriculum. Things are left open so that the text can be altered each year as appropriate and different lecturers are given the chance to teach a different text.

Although not set in stone, typically this module will focus on a recently published philosophical work, and Phil Text 1 will focus on a classic text. (See section 15.)

The outline given to students will, obviously, change from year to year depending on the text studied.

For 2016-17:

Martin Heidegger was a German philosopher of the 20th century. He believed that good philosophy requires awareness of the radical limitations of human existence, especially of our constant background anxiety and our mortality. He was not a nice analytic philosopher writing abstract texts on relatively innocent technical topics, but a clever and nasty man, who struggled with his inner demons and succumbed to the temptations of his dark age (which is also our age). In these lectures I will discuss the views that Heidegger developed on art and poetry in the 1930s, for example in his essay on the Origin of the Work of Art and his essay "Why Poets?". His views on art and poetry were not simply contributions to 'aesthetics', 'art history' or 'literature theory', but attempts to show the immense importance of art and poetry to philosophy itself. Unlike most people, he did not consider art and poetry to be 'cultural products', but defining features of the human predicament in the world. He claimed that poetry is the essence of language, language is the house of Being, and Being is the happening of truth. Do you want to know what all this means? Come to the dark side.

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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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This 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. Topics which may be covered include Authoritarianism, Behavioural economics, Rational Choice Theory, Game Theory, Libertarianism and Paternalism, Markets and Trade, Private Property and the Legitimacy of Organ Sale.

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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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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Emotions figure in many areas of public life, and a number of pressing political issues (from fear in the evaluation of biomedical promises, to compassion in the criminal courtroom) invite us to think about the role of emotion in shaping citizens' political thought and activity. Emotions, however, are all too rarely studied conceptually, with the result that both political theory and practice are often left at a loss. Through lectures and seminar discussion, this module will offer the opportunity for students to engage in close analysis of the philosophy and cognitive science of emotion, as well as the ethical concerns that are raised by the role emotions can play in political activity and institutional practice.

This module will study prominent theories of emotion, asking about the connection between emotion, reason, and well-being. These aspects take a philosophical approach, but are also informed by advances in neurobiology and cognitive science. The module will also explore the public stage, asking how specific emotions figure in political questions: for example, fear, disgust, compassion, blame, empathy, boredom, and revenge. Political topics considered may include risky technologies, wrongful legal conviction, capital punishment, the Citizens' Income, and assisted dying. The role of emotion in media politics and protest movements will also be examined, assessing, for example, how compassion can be manufactured and mediated through political rhetoric, social media, social privilege, and popular fiction.

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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

This module will look at arts funding policy and public funding structures for the arts, including the formation of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and the Arts Council and its various models of operation since 1947 through to the present. This will serve to place productions from across the arts within the context of who makes policy and how it is formed, while acting as an introduction to arts funding and the application and measurement process. Students will gain an understanding of the structure of central, regional and local government in as much as they affect the arts. Trust and Foundations that support and nurture the arts are also explored in the context of how these can supplement and develop productions. Sponsorship and commercial involvement is looked at in the ways that this can be integrated into the package.

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The module gives School of Arts students across a range undergraduate programmes the opportunity to undertake a written independent research project at stage 3.

Students who wish to take the module must approach a permanent academic member of staff with a proposal, typically in advance of module registration, during the Spring term of the previous year. Students pick a research topic of their choice; however, students are only allowed to register for the module with the permission of a staff member who has agreed to supervise the project, and who has the expertise to do so. Potential supervisors must also ensure before they agree to supervise a project that the resources required to complete the project will be available to the student, and that adequate supervisory support will be available to the student throughout their study on the module.

Students will be supported in the preparation and submission of their work by their supervisor, although a central expectation of the module is that students will take increasing responsibility for their learning, consistent with expectations of Level 6 study.

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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.

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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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This interdisciplinary course will examine historical and current theoretical ideas and research on the ways in which art is created and perceived. Artforms that will be considered include visual arts (painting, sculpture, architecture, popular art), performing arts (dance and theater), music, and film. Readings will interface with subdisciplines of psychology such as perception, psychoaesthetics, neurophysiology, social psychology, and studies of emotion. Principal areas of focus will include aesthetics, arts-experimental design, perception of art, meaning in art, the psychology of the creative process, social and cultural issues, and the ramifications of arts-sciences research. The primary focus will be on Western art forms, though other world art traditions and aesthetics will be discussed. Assessment methods will test understanding through a summary and critical reflection on a selected text and the proposal, research, and design and oral presentation of a potential interdisciplinary research project.

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This innovative module examines artistic creation from historical, philosophical and practice-based perspectives. It examines topics such as the development of the idea of genius in ancient Greece and Renaissance Italy, the Romantic and Kantian conceptions of genius, and the "democratisation" of the notion, culminating in the idea that everyone has the capacity for artistic creativity, as expressed in the work of mid-twentieth century thinkers such as John Dewey and Erich Fromm. It looks at how the concepts of genius and creativity came under attack from “theory” later in the twentieth century, and considers the recent resurgence of interest in creativity, in academia and the broader culture. Students will also take part in exercises designed to foster artistic creativity. These will include a selection of approaches such as Surrealist, Bauhaus and Oulipo methods for encouraging creativity. These different perspectives will allow students to develop a well-rounded, critical and active understanding of the topic, and to understand – and perhaps develop – their own capacity for creativity.

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The course begins with an analysis of Raphael's frescoes in the Stanza della Segnatura of the Vatican Palace, as a means of introducing the key themes which will be considered throughout: proportion in architecture, the body and the geometry of vision; rhetoric, both verbal and visual, and the related concepts of variety, decorum, and composition; poetic inspiration, emulation and imitation; and the revival of antiquity. These themes are then reviewed as they occur in the writings of Leon Battista Alberti, the most evolved theoretical texts on the visual arts of the period. Alberti’s works raises the question of whether he was describing current practice or setting out an ideal, and also whether he was writing principally for artists or for their patrons? Alberti’s elevated claims for painting, architecture and, to a lesser extent, sculpture as liberal arts, are then compared with the contemporary status of artists, whether operating from a workshop or employed at court. The course continues by looking in detail at the works of four key Italian artists – Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Titian – to assess how far they engaged with, or departed from, the Albertian paradigm. Albrecht Dürer, a northern European artist excelling in the less "noble" medium of printmaking, but also profoundly interested in issues of perspective and proportion, is considered to provide a non-Italian point of view on the Renaissance. Interspersed with these studies of single artists lectures may consider in greater detail particular themes raised by these artists’ works, such as the extent of artists’ knowledge of anatomy, the influence of the ruins of Rome, the Renaissance ideal of love, the creation of new styles by transgressing architectural rules for playful effect or to achieve “grace”, and the development in Venice of the genre of pastoral landscape. Alternatively, the work of other major artists may be considered such as Correggio, Parmigianino, Bandinelli etc. Having, broadly speaking, covered the period 1470-1550 chronologically, the course concludes by looking at the mid sixteenth-century reassessment of these artistic achievements in the writings of Dolce, Varchi and Vasari.

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The module provides a practice-based approach to art history to complement the academic approach of other modules in the History of Art programmes. By focusing on prints it will aim to provide students with an "apprenticeship" in two practical areas of art history, namely collecting and curating. The module will involve students in the full cycle of these two interrelated processes: from identifying and acquiring a print, to cataloguing and curating it, to making sense of it to a wider public by placing it in the context of a themed exhibition. In the first assessment task each student will submit an “exhibition bid” proposing an idea for an exhibition based on the existing collection and suggesting new acquisitions (and possibly loans) to realise the idea. The concepts for exhibitions could derive from the subject matter or techniques of prints in the collection, or they could involve focussing on a particular artist or period. The best conceived bid will then be adopted by the group who will work collectively to put on the exhibition. At this stage students will visit dealers and auction houses and carry out object-based research in order to secure new acquisitions. A study diary will be kept by each student to record this process and will be submitted at the end of the module as part of the overall assessment. As prints are acquired they will be catalogued to a professional standard format and these entries will form the basis of a catalogue to accompany the exhibition that will be the culmination of the module. Putting on the exhibition will require practical team-work to frame and hang the prints, to write and produce labels and illustrative material, and to staff and publicise the exhibition.

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Many pictures, still and moving, in Western society and globally, in high art and demotic culture, incorporate sexual imagery and themes. This module will explore different aesthetic perspectives and theoretical approaches to such images, including those typically classified as pornography and erotica around which much of the existing philosophical literature focuses.

Here are some of the indicative questions this module will investigate:

• What is erotic art?

• In which respect and to what extent is it different from pornography?

• Is 'pornographic art' an oxymoron?

• What is the relation between erotic experience and aesthetic experience and are they at all compatible?

• What are the differences and similarities between voyeurism and aesthetic interest?

• What is the role of transgression in art?

• Are obscenity and art mutually exclusive?

To answer these questions certain fundamental issues in the philosophy of art will need to be addressed. We will therefore engage with current research on the definition of art, the nature of aesthetic value, aesthetic experience, aesthetic properties, the relation between art and morality, the psychology of picture perception, and the role of imagination in art. However, more is involved than just an abstract philosophical problem. The sexual and the erotic have often caused controversy in the history of art, and especially in the contemporary world of art (construed in the broadest sense) there are many works that consciously explore the boundaries between erotic art and pornography. Any investigation of our central theme would not be complete without a careful examination of such works. Thus, the module will draw on a variety of sources and disciplines (art history, film studies, literary theory, sociology and cultural theory) to study the sexually charged work of traditional, modern and contemporary artists, such as: Titian, Boucher, Courbet, Hokusai, Schiele, John Currin, Robert Mapplethorpe, Thomas Ruff, Nan Goldin, Larry Clark, Nagisa Oshima, Michael Winterbottom, Virginie Despentes, Nicholson Baker, Catherine Millet, Alan Moore.

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This module will provide a critical survey of the problematic position of sculpture within the history of art: sculpture has often been seen as a lesser art form, subsidiary to architecture or inferior to painting, and lacking theoretical definition. Sculpture's monumental or cultic functions place it nearer to the idol or votive offering than to the 'work of art’ conceived of by aesthetic theories. At the beginning of the modern era Baudelaire dismissed sculpture as ‘boring’, and yet since the Second World War various developments have led to a situation where sculpture, more broadly conceived (often in relation to performance), is leading artistic developments. The module will explore this dynamic while also touching on several of the themes which have characterised the study and appreciation of sculpture (such as the relation of sight to touch, the absence or presence of colour, the materials of sculpture etc.). The work of a number of key artists will be discussed as representative case studies from across the history of art.

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This module will explore the impact of Surrealism on the visual arts. It will focus in detail on a small group of key surrealist artists, such as Man Ray, Max Ernst, and Salvador Dali; while also, in order to understand the scope and definition of Surrealism, considering further artists in some detail who were associated with Surrealism but who denied that they were indeed surrealists, such as Frida Kahlo or Pavel Tchelitchew. In addition the module will survey the work of those artists formally associated with the Surrealist group, and the contribution of Dadaist precursors and contemporary artists who exercised a profound influence on Surrealism. While hardly feminist, Surrealism did provide a supportive forum for a number of innovative female artists, arguably enabling the artistic careers of more women than other avant-garde movements in the first half of the Twentieth Century. The relationship of women artists to Surrealism will, therefore, be a key theme of the course. Surrealism was not, however, principally a phenomenon of the visual arts, or a conventional artistic movement: the surrealists sought to reconnect moral and artistic forces, to achieve liberation through emotional intensification ('a systematic derangement of the senses'), and by this means to revolutionize society. They drew inspiration from Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytical theories to explore the workings of the unconscious and the ‘over-determined’ symbolism of dreams, and also what Gaston Bachelard called the new scientific spirit of the ‘why not’. Characteristic methods included pure psychic automatism, objective chance, the paranoiac-critical method, the double image, dislocation, and collage. Particularly at Level 6, this module will explore the broader implications of these surrealist themes, for example the question of whether myth is an expression of society, or constitutive of it, which was a key concern for the Surrealists. Indeed, André Breton described Surrealism as ‘a method of creating a collective myth’ in 1933. These thematic aspects of the module should make it an interesting wild option for students studying literature, twentieth-century history or cultural history, in addition to history of art students.

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Emotions figure in many areas of public life, and a number of pressing political issues (from fear in the evaluation of biomedical promises, to compassion in the criminal courtroom) invite us to think about the role of emotion in shaping citizens' political thought and activity. Emotions, however, are all too rarely studied conceptually, with the result that both political theory and practice are often left at a loss. Through lectures and seminar discussion, this module will offer the opportunity for students to engage in close analysis of the philosophy and cognitive science of emotion, as well as the ethical concerns that are raised by the role emotions can play in political activity and institutional practice.

This module will study prominent theories of emotion, asking about the connection between emotion, reason, and well-being. These aspects take a philosophical approach, but are also informed by advances in neurobiology and cognitive science. The module will also explore the public stage, asking how specific emotions figure in political questions: for example, fear, disgust, compassion, blame, empathy, boredom, and revenge. Political topics considered may include risky technologies, wrongful legal conviction, capital punishment, the Citizens' Income, and assisted dying. The role of emotion in media politics and protest movements will also be examined, assessing, for example, how compassion can be manufactured and mediated through political rhetoric, social media, social privilege, and popular fiction.

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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 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. At the university sessions student will benefit from the opportunity to discuss aspects related to their weekly placement and receive guidance.

Students 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 students will concentrate on specific aspects of the teachers' tasks, and their approach to teaching a whole class. As they progress, it is expected that their role will be to some extent 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 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 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. Topics which may be covered include Authoritarianism, Behavioural economics, Rational Choice Theory, Game Theory, Libertarianism and Paternalism, Markets and Trade, Private Property and the Legitimacy of Organ Sale.

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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The curriculum will typically be focused on an important classic or recent philosophical work. In addition, students will typically be expected to read critical responses and commentaries. Alternatively, a convenor may choose a small number of texts on a unified and important theme.

Exactly what the curriculum will be will different from year to year. The point of this module is to offer students the chance to study a single text (or small number of texts) in a very focussed manner, and to introduce more variety into the curriculum. Things are left open so that the text can be altered each year as appropriate and different lecturers are given the chance to teach a different text.

Although not set in stone, typically this module will focus on more recent philosophy (i.e. from the 20th and 21st century). The outline given to students will change from year to year depending on the text studied.

For 2016-17:

Martin Heidegger was a German philosopher of the 20th century. He believed that good philosophy requires awareness of the radical limitations of human existence, especially of our constant background anxiety and our mortality. He was not a nice analytic philosopher writing abstract texts on relatively innocent technical topics, but a clever and nasty man, who struggled with his inner demons and succumbed to the temptations of his dark age (which is also our age). In these lectures I will discuss the views that Heidegger developed on art and poetry in the 1930s, for example in his essay on the Origin of the Work of Art and his essay "Why Poets?". His views on art and poetry were not simply contributions to 'aesthetics', 'art history' or 'literature theory', but attempts to show the immense importance of art and poetry to philosophy itself. Unlike most people, he did not consider art and poetry to be 'cultural products', but defining features of the human predicament in the world. He claimed that poetry is the essence of language, language is the house of Being, and Being is the happening of truth. Do you want to know what all this means? Come to the dark side.

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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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The course will begin by looking at various philosophical problems, as presented in films. This will involve discussing a range of different philosophical topics, from different areas of philosophy. Film here is presented as a way into the philosophical discussion, which will be supplemented by appropriate primary and secondary texts. The course will then consider ways in which the medium of film itself presents philosophical problems.

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. Philosophical issues presented through film will include, but will not be restricted to, time travel, existentialism and Philosophy of art. Philosophical Issues concerning film will include, but will not be restricted to 'is film art?', 'what is film?' and 'can film be philosophy?'.

Through these and related topics, students will gain a good understanding of both a number of issues in philosophy, and the way that the medium in which philosophy is done is potentially a constraint on or a complement to the aims of the philosophy. The module will enable students to evaluate issues, both timely and timeless, in a manner that's informed by an interdisciplinary approach to philosophy.

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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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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? Should we think our duties to our compatriots are more important than our duties to people in other countries?

This course is divided into two parts. The first part examines classic topics in political philosophy, such as Rawls Theory of Justice, Nozick's libertarianism and the feminist and communitarian criticism of political liberalism. The second part of the course will explore issues within contemporary political philosophy, such as equality, our obligations to those in the developing world, 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 recent case studies.

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The curriculum will typically be focused on an important classic or recent philosophical work. In addition, students will typically be expected to read critical commentaries. (Alternatively, a convenor may choose a small number of classic texts on a unified and important theme).

Exactly what the curriculum will be will differ from year to year. The point of introducing this module, and the sister module Philosophical Texts 2: Normative Ethics (PL626/627), is to offer students the chance to study a single text (or small number of texts) in a very focussed manner, and to introduce more variety into the curriculum. Things are left open so that the text can be altered each year as appropriate and so that different lecturers are given the chance to teach a different text.

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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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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 do not 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? When someone says something offensive, is it part of its meaning that it is offensive, or just how it is used? In this module we shall try to find some answers to the questions listed above.

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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 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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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 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £15200
Part-time £4625 £7600

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 2019/20 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 2019/20 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. 

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.