Philosophy

Classical and Archaeological Studies and Philosophy - BA (Hons)

Canterbury

Classical & Archaeological Studies is very interdisciplinary in nature, making it an ideal joint honours subject. Students of Philosophy will appreciate the opportunity to trace the continuity of thought from philosophies of the ancient world to the modern day. Archaeology, meanwhile, draws interpretative strands from many disciplines, including philosophy, so this joint honours will give you a head start with archaeological interpretation.

Overview

The great strength of Classical & Archaeological Studies is the hugely interesting and varied range of subjects it includes – literature, mythology, drama, archaeology, art and architecture, history and languages, as well as philosophy – and the way they all connect in the study of ancient civilisations, including those of Egypt, Greece, Rome and their neighbours. At Kent, you also have the opportunity to learn Latin or Ancient Greek, which are taught at beginners, intermediate and advanced levels.

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.

Through taking Classical & Archaeological Studies in combination with Philosophy, you are able to appreciate the writings of the ancient Greek and Roman philosophers that shape our world today, and appreciate their historic and cultural context. 

Independent rankings

Of Classics students who graduated from Kent in 2017 and completed a national survey, over 92% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).

Philosophy at Kent scored 92.2 out of 100 in The Complete University Guide 2019. In The Guardian University Guide 2019, 95% of final-year Philosophy students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.

 

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take 'elective' modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

Possible modules may include:

CL329 - Introduction to Archaeology (15 credits)

The module will introduce archaeology as an academic discipline, providing grounding in basic concepts and methodology and techniques of analysis relating to archaeological evidence. It will provide background relevant to other archaeological and historical modules in the Classical & Archaeological Studies and related programmes, through examining aspects of the archaeological process and examples in prehistoric, Roman, medieval and post-medieval contexts. It will enable students to make an informed choice of subsequent modules. Topics will include ceremonial, religious and burial sites, the emergence of settlement sites, the creation and development of towns, trade and exchange, artefactual and landscape studies using cases through time. Seminars will focus on methods and approaches, and the presentation of data and its interpretation.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PL302 - Introduction to Philosophy: Knowledge and Metaphysics (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PL303 - Introduction to Philosophy: Ethics (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PL310 - Introduction to Philosophy: Logic and Reasoning (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PL315 - Philosophical Reading and Writing (core) (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage


Stage 2

Possible modules may include:

CL708 - Greek Philosophy: Plato and Aristotle (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL713 - Athenian Power Plays (30 credits)

This module explores 5th-century Athenian history through the plays which were put on stage during this period of war and political upheaval. Greek tragedies and comedies produced during this tumultuous period (472-405 BC) offer us some of the most enticing, yet challenging, evidence for the state of Athenian politics and attitudes to contemporary events (especially war and empire). In this module, the evidence of key plays will be set against other forms of historical evidence to illuminate the complex relationship between the types of evidence which survive and the nature of 'making history'.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL584 - History of the Roman Empire from Trajan to Constantine (15 credits)

This module examines in detail the history of the Roman Empire from the death of the last Flavian emperor (96 CE) to Constantine's establishment as sole emperor in 324 CE. It thus provides both a survey of a major period of Roman imperial history and an opportunity to study in greater depth the administrative, social, economic and religious developments of this period. Students will read widely in the ancient sources (historical, literary and documentary) and will be introduced to the inscriptional, numismatic, and papyrological evidence for imperial history. This module will concentrate on the main administrative, social, economic and religious developments throughout the period rather than on the details of political and military history.

Students will read widely in the major ancient sources, including Pliny, Dio Cassius, Herodian, and the Historia Augusta. Students will also get experience in working with the documentary evidence for imperial history, including inscriptions, coins, papyri, as well as legal sources.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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CL651 - Heads, Heroes and Horses: in search of the Ancient Celts (30 credits)

The module examines the Iron Age peoples of temperate Europe, their ways and means of living combining the archaeological, artefactual and historic sources of evidence. This was the era of the proto-historic Celts: farmers, crafts people and warriors. Peoples described as Celts sacked Rome in the early fourth century BC; they probably ravaged Delphi towards the mid third century BC; and from the later second century BC they were in conflict with the expanding Roman Empire, ultimately becoming the majority of its subjects in the West. The intent of this module is to search for the Iron Age Celts of Antiquity... but participants should not embark on the study with the certain expectation that they will be found! For long interpreted within a largely Classically-derived pan European model, the archaeological evidence is now increasingly discussed in ways which emphasise the diversity rather than the uniformity of life and culture across west/central Europe during the centuries in which the Classical World was in contact with those whom it identified as Celts.



The module will critically evaluate the evidence for the pre/proto historic Celts derived from the Classical writers, the concept of a widespread European Celtic culture in antiquity, and the contrasting interpretations which can be generated by the archaeological evidence for the conventional pre Roman Iron Age in temperate Europe. The Iron Age of temperate Europe presents a rich array of burials, finely crafted metalwork, settlements, hillforts, ritual, religious manifestations, artefacts and environmental remains plus evidence of travel, trade, contact and warfare both within its realms and with the Mediterranean peoples: all these elements form curriculum subjects via study, characterisation and contextualisation.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL659 - Barbarians in the West (30 credits)

How did the Western Roman Empire undergo its transformation into the early medieval world? This course provides an overview of the period between 300 and 600 A.D., in particular, examining the collision between barbarian and Roman in late Antiquity and the development of the post-Roman and early medieval West, focusing on changes in culture and society through a critical evaluation of evidence from history, art, architecture and archaeology. There will be a focus on Italy, France and Britain which is intended to 1) provide a manageable and structured course at an appropriate level of detail, with the potential for some depth of analysis, and 2) concentrate on those geographical areas which mesh closely with the subject matter of other courses in Roman archaeology and late Antique and medieval history offered by colleagues in University.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL663 - Greek and Roman Medicine (30 credits)

Ancient medicine was a complex mixture of what we would consider 'rational' and 'irrational' ideas and practices for the causes and cures of disease and illness. In this module students will use the various sources of evidence that survive in the literary, archaeological and epigraphic record to learn about the subject of Greek and Roman medicine.



An historical approach will be used starting with an examination of the pre-Socratic philosophers' and Hippocratic writers' ideas about the body and medicine, moving into the Hellenistic period examining the dissections and vivisections of Herophilus and Erasistratus. The archaeological material from Greek healing sanctuaries will add to the understanding of healing. For the Roman period questions will be addressed about the influence of Greek medicine on Roman medicine and the archaeological remains of instruments and buildings associated with healing, such as baths, sanctuaries and possible hospitals. The works of Celsus, Pliny the Elder and Galen will be examined. The module culminates in a review of the survival of medical practices into Late Antiquity and the medieval Islamic period. Throughout the class, students will examine ideas about rationality and medical influences from one society to another.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL665 - Constantinople and the Late Antique City (30 credits)

This course will survey the evolution of the Mediterranean city from AD 300 to 650, the urban crisis that followed, and the direction which urban life took thereafter. City life in this period was, until recently, poorly understood, hindered by the prejudices of classical archaeologists, who removed late levels without record, and the selective interests of Christian archaeologists who concentrated on churches. Now new archaeological fieldwork has revealed much greater complexity, from urban collapse in the West to the flourishing cities of the sixth century East, which provided a foundation for much of Early Islamic urbanism.

Although north-west Europe is included, the Mediterranean is the predominantly the focus of this module where urban life was strongest, throughout the period. Lectures will explore both thematic and regional syntheses, with a major distinction drawn, not between a Greek East and a Latin West, but between a Mediterranean core and a northern periphery. An attempt will be made to link changes in the physical appearance of cities to wider events and processes: whether military, political, religious or economic in character. Seminars will explore aspects of the rich source material available, whether drawn from architectural remains, stratigraphic archaeology, epigraphy, or selected written sources of the period.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL677 - Fieldwork Practice (30 credits)

This module will provide a framework for fieldwork training undertaken on University of Kent training excavations, or approved partners, supported by a SECL archaeological fieldwork bursary, to assist with the costs involved in a participation of 15 working days, normally including social and educational activities such as a museum trip and an orientation day.

The module will permit three alternative pathways, in excavation, survey or museum studies. Assessment will be in the form of an illustrated portfolio featuring a description of the project and an account of each type of work undertaken by the student. Project directors will be provided with a checklist of fieldwork tasks to be completed, of which a minimum number will be mandatory.

Staff teaching on this module will be provided with a Kent –approved fieldwork checklist of skills to train students a range of no less than ten skills appropriate to fieldwork that will result in a broad portfolio illustrating the best work done on site.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL685 - Torture and Sacrifice: the literature of early Christianity (30 credits)

The module will introduce students to the literature of early Christianity. A variety of texts will be read – the gospels, apocryphal gospels, early martyrdom texts, edifying tales and hagiography – to show the variety of genres that existed and the intertextual fluidity of these genres. The texts will be contextualised against the historical developments of the Roman Empire. Social and cultural issues will also be raised, such as the new roles of women and men in an emerging Christian world and the concepts of pain, sacrifice, authority, virginity and asceticism will be examined.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL704 - Egypt and the Classical World (30 credits)

This module is concerned with the interaction between two contiguous but very different peoples, Egypt in the Late Period and Classical Greece. Though the Aegean world had a long history of contact with Egypt, the volume of contact increased dramatically under the XXVI (Saïte) Dynasty, with the foundation of commercial settlements, the development of vigorous trade relations and the arrival of many Greeks as traders, mercenaries and tourists. That contact had profound consequences both in the short and longer term; provided an essential support for the last great dynasty of independent Egypt; aided the rise of the East Greek cities of Ionia; and it influenced the development of Greek sculpture and architecture.

Equally important, it revealed to the Greeks a civilisation, which was deeply impressive, in many ways superior, yet alien. The immediate fruit of that perception lies in the stimulus to Greek thought and history writing, especially through Herodotus (a vital witness to Egyptian religion and society of this age). In the longer term, it shaped the way in which the West perceived Egypt, creating myths about its antiquity, its religion and its wisdom that continues to affect us today, not least in the shaping of traditional Egyptology. The module will be taught from a range of sources, archaeological, papyrological, historical and literary.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL706 - The Rise and Fall of Athens (30 credits)

This module examines, in detail, Greek history from the end of the Persian invasions to the fall of Athens in 404 BC. The main themes of the module are the rise and fall of the power of Athens, the Peloponnesian War and the role of the Persian Empire in Greek history in the 5th century BC. Particular attention will be paid to the causes of the conflict between Athens and Sparta and to the political and military history of the last three decades of the 5th century BC.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL739 - Virgil's Aeneid (30 credits)

Virgil composed the Aeneid in order to provide Rome with an epic equal to any that Homer produced. Commonly regarded as one the greatest epics of the ancient world, the Aeneid is the story of the foundation of Rome; a tale of exile, war, passionate love and the deepest humanity. We will analyse, comment on and explore the epic, book by book. This will be intertwined with a thematic approach, investigating issues concerning the gods, fate, morality, art and gender.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL742 - Later Greek Prose in the Original (30 credits)

Students will participate in the close reading and interpretation of Greek prose texts. Translation of the text(s) from the original will enhance understanding of its construction by the author(s) and invite reflection on the use of stylistic and linguistic features (and their effect). This understanding may be further developed through the study of the literary and cultural context within which the text was produced.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL744 - Later Greek Verse in the Original (30 credits)

Students will participate in the close reading and interpretation of Greek verse texts. Translation of the texts from the original will enhance understanding of their construction by the authors and invite reflection on the use of stylistic and linguistic features (and their effect). This understanding may be further developed through the study of the literary and cultural context within which the text was produced.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL746 - Later Latin Prose in the Original (30 credits)

Students will participate in the close reading and interpretation of Latin prose texts. Translation of the texts from the original will enhance understanding of their construction by the authors and invite reflection on the use of stylistic and linguistic features (and their effect). This understanding may be further developed through the study of the literary and cultural context within which the text was produced.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL748 - Later Latin Verse in the Original (30 credits)

Students will participate in the close reading and interpretation of Latin verse texts. Translation of the texts from the original will enhance understanding of their construction by the authors and invite reflection on the use of stylistic and linguistic features (and their effect). This understanding may be further developed through the study of the literary and cultural context within which the text was produced.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL732 - War and Imperialism in Ancient Rome c.350-100 BC (15 credits)

This module examines in detail the history of the Roman Republic from 350 BC through to 100 BC, and provides both a survey of a major period of Roman history and an opportunity to study in greater depth the political, social, and economic consequences of the development of Rome's imperial ambitions in the Mediterranean. Students will read widely in the ancient sources, historical, literary and documentary.

Students will read widely from a range of works including: Polybius, Plutarch, Livy, Appian, Cicero, and Sallust.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PL618 - Political Philosophy (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL595 - Metaethics (30 credits)

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



This course is designed to introduce you to some of the most exciting and interesting philosophical literature in recent years, which brings together ethics and metaphysics with a little epistemology and philosophy of language. The first half of this course will examine (what are often called) "metaethical" questions such as those above. We will then move on to discuss debates concerning moral psychology and motivation. When one says 'charity-giving is good' is it a matter of necessity that one will be motivated to some extent to give to charity? Or is it possible for one to make such a judgement and have no motivation at all (and for such a judgement to count as a legitimate moral judgement)? At the end we will see how these questions concerning psychology are integral to the earlier debates of metaphysics.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL596 - Philosophy of Medicine (30 credits)

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'.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL602 - Philosophy of Language (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL604 - Philosophy of Mind and Action (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL605 - Logic (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL606 - Philosophy of Science (30 credits)

The module will study some of the major works in the history of modern philosophy of science. Texts to be studied will be drawn from a list that includes major works by philosophers such as Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos, Shapere, and Feyerabend. 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.

An indicative list of themes to be studied: Inductivism versus falsificationism, Research Programmes, Incommensurability, Realism, Instrumentalism, Sociology of Scientific Knowledge, Causal Reasoning and Scientific Explanation.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL609 - Philosophy of Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL611 - Metaphysics (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL620 - Justice, Violence and the State (30 credits)

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

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL622 - Evidence and its Evaluation (30 credits)

A controversy is currently raging in philosophy about the nature of evidence. Recent work in epistemology and the philosophy of science suggests new answers to questions such as: What is evidence? What is it to have evidence? Why do beliefs need to be guided by evidence? At the same time, there is a vigorous debate about the methods of evidence-based medicine and evidence-based policy making. Many practitioners regard these methods as fundamentally misguided, while others view them as key to progress in medicine and beyond. This module will bring these two important topics together and show how one line of current research in philosophy is informing the debate about evidence-based methods and vice versa.



In particular, this module will provide an introduction to the methods of evidence-based practice, including the various types of comparative clinical study, and the evidence hierarchy. It will involve applying recent insights from epistemology and the philosophy of science on the theory of evidence to critically appraise the motivation behind this conception of evidence-based practice.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL627 - The Essence and Value of Democracy (30 credits)

All things considered, liberal democracy is the best political system we know of. Nevertheless, it has always been in peril, attacked by totalitarian ideologies and undermined by self-destructive forces from within. In this module, we will investigate the essence and value of democracy, and the character and aims of its enemies. To this end, we will study an important theory in modern political philosophy, formulated in Ernst Cassirer's The Myth of the State. Cassirer explores the explosive problem of political myth in our day, and reveals how the myth of the state evolved from ancient times to prepare the way for the rise of the modern totalitarian state. He shows how the irrational forces symbolized by myth and manipulation by the state constantly threaten to destroy our civilization. This major contribution to political theory will help us understand the problems our societies face today, including questions relating to truth and falsehood in politics, and, of course, 'fake truth'. We shall also look at a related text, Hans Kelsen's The Essence and Value of Democracy.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL640 - Normative Ethics (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL642 - Feminist Philosophy (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL644 - Philosophy and Mathematics (30 credits)

This module will cover three areas, namely the historical mutual influence of mathematics and philosophy from Ancient Greece to the 19th century; the foundational crisis 1880-1930; and; current issues in philosophy of mathematics. Thinkers and topics that might be covered include Pythagoras, Plato, Islamic world, Renaissance, Descartes, Berkeley, Kant, Hegel, Dedekind, Frege, Russell, Gödel, Wittgenstein's philosophy of mathematics, Lakatos' Proofs and Refutations, revolutions in mathematics, and the applicability of mathematics.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL648 - Philosophy of Work (30 credits)

The module uses Hannah Arendt's The Human Condition as its core text and will make use of a wide variety of short philosophical texts from different historical periods to provide critical contrasts and elucidate important problems and questions about the nature of work. Key questions will include but not be limited to: Is there an inherent meaning to work? Is there a difference between labour and work? Where does work stand in relation to leisure or contemplation?



Generally, the reading assignments will alternate, with one week dedicated to a chapter from the core text, with the next week followed by philosophical essays by major figures that relate to the chapter content. Lectures will elucidate the significant questions and answers proposed by the texts. Seminars will be centred on group discussion.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL656 - Pragmatism (30 credits)

This module will introduce students to the American Pragmatist tradition, through looking at its origins in the philosophical work of figures like C.S. Peirce, and William James, through to its development into contemporary schools of thought such as Neo-Pragmatism, Cambridge Pragmatism, and Semiotics. 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. However, examples of topics that may be covered include pragmatist approaches to truth, pragmatist approaches to the a priori, philosophy of science, and the regulation of inquiry, and pragmatic theories of meaning.



Through these and related topics, students will gain a good understanding of the complementary and in some cases conflicting perspectives and methodologies on American Pragmatism. The module will enable students to evaluate contemporary issues in a manner that is informed by a comprehensive set of relevant traditions.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL658 - Philosophy of Love: From Plato to Pragmatism (30 credits)

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

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL667 - Political Emotions (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage


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.

You can apply to add a Year Abroad to your degree programme from your arrival at Kent until the autumn term of your second year.  The Year Abroad takes place between Stages 2 and 3 at one of our partner universities.  Places and destination are subject to availability, language and degree programme.  For a full list, please see Go Abroad.

You are expected to adhere to any academic progression requirements in Stages 1 and 2 to proceed to the Year Abroad.  The Year Abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and will not count towards your final degree classification.


Stage 3

Possible modules may include:

CL733 - War and Imperialism in AncientRome c.350-100 BC (15 credits)

This module examines in detail the history of the Roman Republic from 350 BC through to 100 BC, and provides both a survey of a major period of Roman history and an opportunity to study in greater depth the political, social, and economic consequences of the development of Rome's imperial ambitions in the Mediterranean. Students will read widely in the ancient sources, historical, literary and documentary.



Students will read widely from a range of works including: Polybius, Plutarch, Livy, Appian, Cicero, and Sallust.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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CL752 - Gods, Heroes and Mystery Cults: Religion in Ancient Greece (30 credits)

This module is an introduction to ancient Greek ritual and religion, including the Mystery cults. The module offers a comprehensive introduction to the major gods and goddesses of ancient Greece, spheres of influence, characters, relationships, exploits, and worship. It is concerned with the analysis of religious festivals, cults, beliefs, and the development of religious architecture. The module additionally briefly contrasts Greek religion to Christianity, as an example of investigating how Greek religion differs from, and resembles, modern religions. The materials of the module are drawn from archaeology, Greek poets, artists, playwrights, mythographers, and philosophers from the 10th–2nd centuries BC.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL707 - The Rise and Fall of Athens (30 credits)

This module examines, in detail, Greek history from the end of the Persian invasions to the fall of Athens in 404 BC. The main themes of the module are the rise and fall of the power of Athens, the Peloponnesian War and the role of the Persian Empire in Greek history in the 5th century BC. Particular attention will be paid to the causes of the conflict between Athens and Sparta and to the political and military history of the last three decades of the 5th century BC.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL705 - Egypt and the Classical World (30 credits)

This module is concerned with the interaction between two contiguous but very different peoples, Egypt in the Late Period and Classical Greece. Though the Aegean world had a long history of contact with Egypt, the volume of contact increased dramatically under the XXVI (Saïte) Dynasty, with the foundation of commercial settlements, the development of vigorous trade relations and the arrival of many Greeks as traders, mercenaries and tourists. That contact had profound consequences both in the short and longer term; provided an essential support for the last great dynasty of independent Egypt; aided the rise of the East Greek cities of Ionia; and it influenced the development of Greek sculpture and architecture.

Equally important, it revealed to the Greeks a civilisation, which was deeply impressive, in many ways superior, yet alien. The immediate fruit of that perception lies in the stimulus to Greek thought and history writing, especially through Herodotus (a vital witness to Egyptian religion and society of this age). In the longer term, it shaped the way in which the West perceived Egypt, creating myths about its antiquity, its religion and its wisdom that continues to affect us today, not least in the shaping of traditional Egyptology. The module will be taught from a range of sources, archaeological, papyrological, historical and literary.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL686 - Torture and Sacrifice: the literature of early Christianity (30 credits)

The module will introduce students to the literature of early Christianity. A variety of texts will be read – the gospels, apocryphal gospels, early martyrdom texts, edifying tales and hagiography – to show the variety of genres that existed and the intertextual fluidity of these genres. The texts will be contextualised against the historical developments of the Roman Empire. Social and cultural issues will also be raised, such as the new roles of women and men in an emerging Christian world and the concepts of pain, sacrifice, authority, virginity and asceticism will be examined.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL588 - Heads, Heroes and Horses in Search of the Ancient Celts (30 credits)

The module examines the Iron Age peoples of temperate Europe, their ways and means of living combining the archaeological, artefactual and historic sources of evidence. This was the era of the proto-historic Celts: farmers, crafts people and warriors. Peoples described as Celts sacked Rome in the early fourth century BC; they probably ravaged Delphi towards the mid third century BC; and from the later second century BC they were in conflict with the expanding Roman Empire, ultimately becoming the majority of its subjects in the West. The intent of this module is to search for the Iron Age Celts of Antiquity... but participants should not embark on the study with the certain expectation that they will be found! For long interpreted within a largely Classically-derived pan European model, the archaeological evidence is now increasingly discussed in ways which emphasise the diversity rather than the uniformity of life and culture across west/central Europe during the centuries in which the Classical World was in contact with those whom it identified as Celts.



The module will critically evaluate the evidence for the pre/proto historic Celts derived from the Classical writers, the concept of a widespread European Celtic culture in antiquity, and the contrasting interpretations which can be generated by the archaeological evidence for the conventional pre Roman Iron Age in temperate Europe. The Iron Age of temperate Europe presents a rich array of burials, finely crafted metalwork, settlements, hillforts, ritual, religious manifestations, artefacts and environmental remains plus evidence of travel, trade, contact and warfare both within its realms and with the Mediterranean peoples: all these elements form curriculum subjects via study, characterisation and contextualisation.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL591 - Barbarians in the West (30 credits)

How did the Western Roman Empire undergo its transformation into the early medieval world? This course provides an overview of the period between 300 and 600 A.D., in particular, examining the collision between barbarian and Roman in late Antiquity and the development of the post-Roman and early medieval West, focusing on changes in culture and society through a critical evaluation of evidence from history, art, architecture and archaeology. There will be a focus on Italy, France and Britain which is intended to 1) provide a manageable and structured course at an appropriate level of detail, with the potential for some depth of analysis, and 2) concentrate on those geographical areas which mesh closely with the subject matter of other courses in Roman archaeology and late Antique and medieval history offered by colleagues in University.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL607 - Greek and Roman Medicine (30 credits)

Ancient medicine was a complex mixture of what we would consider 'rational' and 'irrational' ideas and practices for the causes and cures of disease and illness. In this module students will use the various sources of evidence that survive in the literary, archaeological and epigraphic record to learn about the subject of Greek and Roman medicine.



An historical approach will be used starting with an examination of the pre-Socratic philosophers' and Hippocratic writers' ideas about the body and medicine, moving into the Hellenistic period examining the dissections and vivisections of Herophilus and Erasistratus. The archaeological material from Greek healing sanctuaries will add to the understanding of healing. For the Roman period questions will be addressed about the influence of Greek medicine on Roman medicine and the archaeological remains of instruments and buildings associated with healing, such as baths, sanctuaries and possible hospitals. The works of Celsus, Pliny the Elder and Galen will be examined. The module culminates in a review of the survival of medical practices into Late Antiquity and the medieval Islamic period. Throughout the class, students will examine ideas about rationality and medical influences from one society to another.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL636 - Archaeological Project (30 credits)

The module is based on individual scholarship and research. The project will be chosen by the student with the advice of the tutor. In terms of the primary data it could involve investigation of antiquarian literature; archive documentation including cartographic sources; Sites and Monuments Records; museum collections; observation of monuments in the field; or participation in approved field work or excavation. Choice of project will be informed by personal interests, the fulfilment of the aims of the module, the availability of expert supervision, and the accessibility of data. Typically the project may have a local or regional focus.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL639 - Constantinople and the late Antique City (30 credits)

This course will survey the evolution of the Mediterranean city from AD 300 to 650, the urban crisis that followed, and the direction which urban life took thereafter. City life in this period was, until recently, poorly understood, hindered by the prejudices of classical archaeologists, who removed late levels without record, and the selective interests of Christian archaeologists who concentrated on churches. Now new archaeological fieldwork has revealed much greater complexity, from urban collapse in the West to the flourishing cities of the sixth century East, which provided a foundation for much of Early Islamic urbanism.

Although north-west Europe is included, the Mediterranean is the predominantly the focus of this module where urban life was strongest, throughout the period. Lectures will explore both thematic and regional syntheses, with a major distinction drawn, not between a Greek East and a Latin West, but between a Mediterranean core and a northern periphery. An attempt will be made to link changes in the physical appearance of cities to wider events and processes: whether military, political, religious or economic in character. Seminars will explore aspects of the rich source material available, whether drawn from architectural remains, stratigraphic archaeology, epigraphy, or selected written sources of the period.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL641 - Virgil's Aeneid (30 credits)

Virgil composed the Aeneid in order to provide Rome with an epic equal to any that Homer produced. Commonly regarded as one the greatest epics of the ancient world, the Aeneid is the story of the foundation of Rome; a tale of exile, war, passionate love and the deepest humanity. We will analyse, comment on and explore the epic, book by book. This will be intertwined with a thematic approach, investigating issues concerning the gods, fate, morality, art and gender.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL714 - Athenian Power Plays (30 credits)

This module explores 5th-century Athenian history through the plays which were put on stage during this period of war and political upheaval. Greek tragedies and comedies produced during this tumultuous period (472-405 BC) offer us some of the most enticing, yet challenging, evidence for the state of Athenian politics and attitudes to contemporary events (especially war and empire). In this module, the evidence of key plays will be set against other forms of historical evidence to illuminate the complex relationship between the types of evidence which survive and the nature of 'making history'.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL710 - Advanced Latin Plus (30 credits)

Students will participate in the close reading and interpretation of Latin prose and/ or verse texts. Translation of the text(s) from the original will enhance understanding of its construction by the author(s) and invite reflection on the use of stylistic and linguistic features (and their effect). This understanding may be further developed through the study of the literary and cultural context within which the text was produced.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL711 - Advanced Ancient Greek Plus (30 credits)

Students will participate in the close reading and interpretation of Greek prose and/ or verse texts. Translation of the text(s) from the original will enhance understanding of its construction by the author(s) and invite reflection on the use of stylistic and linguistic features (and their effect). This understanding may be further developed through the study of the literary and cultural context within which the text was produced.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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CL709 - Greek Philosophy: Plato and Aristotle (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL668 - Political Emotions (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

Read more

PL659 - Philosophy of Love: From Plato to Pragmatism (30 credits)

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

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

Read more

PL657 - Pragmatism (30 credits)

This module will introduce students to the American Pragmatist tradition, through looking at its origins in the philosophical work of figures like C.S. Peirce, and William James, through to its development into contemporary schools of thought such as Neo-Pragmatism, Cambridge Pragmatism, and Semiotics. 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. However, examples of topics that may be covered include pragmatist approaches to truth, pragmatist approaches to the a priori, philosophy of science, and the regulation of inquiry, and pragmatic theories of meaning.



Through these and related topics, students will gain a good understanding of the complementary and in some cases conflicting perspectives and methodologies on American Pragmatism. The module will enable students to evaluate contemporary issues in a manner that is informed by a comprehensive set of relevant traditions.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL649 - Philosophy of work (30 credits)

The module uses Hannah Arendt's The Human Condition as its core text and will make use of a wide variety of short philosophical texts from different historical periods to provide critical contrasts and elucidate important problems and questions about the nature of work. Key questions will include but not be limited to: Is there an inherent meaning to work? Is there a difference between labour and work? Where does work stand in relation to leisure or contemplation?



Generally, the reading assignments will alternate, with one week dedicated to a chapter from the core text, with the next week followed by philosophical essays by major figures that relate to the chapter content. Lectures will elucidate the significant questions and answers proposed by the texts. Seminars will be centred on group discussion.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL645 - Philosophy and Mathematics (30 credits)

This module will cover three areas, namely the historical mutual influence of mathematics and philosophy from Ancient Greece to the 19th century; the foundational crisis 1880-1930; and; current issues in philosophy of mathematics. Thinkers and topics that might be covered include Pythagoras, Plato, Islamic world, Renaissance, Descartes, Berkeley, Kant, Hegel, Dedekind, Frege, Russell, Gödel, Wittgenstein's philosophy of mathematics, Lakatos' Proofs and Refutations, revolutions in mathematics, and the applicability of mathematics.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL643 - Feminist Philosophy (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL641 - Normative Ethics (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL623 - Evidence and its Evaluation (30 credits)

A controversy is currently raging in philosophy about the nature of evidence. Recent work in epistemology and the philosophy of science suggests new answers to questions such as: What is evidence? What is it to have evidence? Why do beliefs need to be guided by evidence? At the same time, there is a vigorous debate about the methods of evidence-based medicine and evidence-based policy making. Many practitioners regard these methods as fundamentally misguided, while others view them as key to progress in medicine and beyond. This module will bring these two important topics together and show how one line of current research in philosophy is informing the debate about evidence-based methods and vice versa.



In particular, this module will provide an introduction to the methods of evidence-based practice, including the various types of comparative clinical study, and the evidence hierarchy. It will involve applying recent insights from epistemology and the philosophy of science on the theory of evidence to critically appraise the motivation behind this conception of evidence-based practice.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL626 - The Essence and Value of Democracy (30 credits)

All things considered, liberal democracy is the best political system we know of. Nevertheless, it has always been in peril, attacked by totalitarian ideologies and undermined by self-destructive forces from within. In this module, we will investigate the essence and value of democracy, and the character and aims of its enemies. To this end, we will study an important theory in modern political philosophy, formulated in Ernst Cassirer's The Myth of the State. Cassirer explores the explosive problem of political myth in our day, and reveals how the myth of the state evolved from ancient times to prepare the way for the rise of the modern totalitarian state. He shows how the irrational forces symbolized by myth and manipulation by the state constantly threaten to destroy our civilization. This major contribution to political theory will help us understand the problems our societies face today, including questions relating to truth and falsehood in politics, and, of course, 'fake truth'. We shall also look at a related text, Hans Kelsen's The Essence and Value of Democracy.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL621 - Justice, Violence and the State (30 credits)

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

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL612 - Metaphysics (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL619 - Political Philosophy (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL507 - Philosophy Dissertation (30 credits)

Students write a dissertation on a topic of their own choice in consultation with a supervisor. The topic must be on a philosophical subject. The final-year dissertation gives students the opportunity to satisfy their intellectual curiosity by individually and independently researching a large-scale project of their own choice. Students will be given guidance by a chosen supervisor across the chosen academic terms, but the rhythm of research, the writing and frequency of meetings between supervisor and student is left to the individual student to determine.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL569 - Metaethics (30 credits)

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



This course is designed to introduce you to some of the most exciting and interesting philosophical literature in recent years, which brings together ethics and metaphysics with a little epistemology and philosophy of language. The first half of this course will examine (what are often called) "metaethical" questions such as those above. We will then move on to discuss debates concerning moral psychology and motivation. When one says 'charity-giving is good' is it a matter of necessity that one will be motivated to some extent to give to charity? Or is it possible for one to make such a judgement and have no motivation at all (and for such a judgement to count as a legitimate moral judgement)? At the end we will see how these questions concerning psychology are integral to the earlier debates of metaphysics.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL570 - Philosophy of Medicine (30 credits)

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'.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL576 - Philosophy of Language (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL578 - Philosophy of Mind and Action (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL579 - Logic (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL580 - Philosophy of Science (30 credits)

The module will study some of the major works in the history of modern philosophy of science. Texts to be studied will be drawn from a list that includes major works by philosophers such as Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos, Shapere, and Feyerabend. 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.

An indicative list of themes to be studied: Inductivism versus falsificationism, Research Programmes, Incommensurability, Realism, Instrumentalism, Sociology of Scientific Knowledge, Causal Reasoning and Scientific Explanation.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PL583 - Philosophy of Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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Teaching & Assessment

All modules have a weekly seminar, and most also have weekly lectures. Archaeology modules sometimes include museum and site visits. We encourage students to take part in excavations and surveys with staff and associated institutions, and student bursaries are available to support this.

Assessment at all stages varies from 100% coursework to a combination of examination and coursework.

Programme aims

For programme aims and learning outcomes please see the programmes specification for each subject below. Please note that outcomes will depend on your specific module selection:

KIS Course data

UNISTATS / KIS

Key Information Sets

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.

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

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. 

However, please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

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.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
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.

Careers

Studying on the Classical & Archaeological Studies and Philosophy programme, you gain key transferable skills such as the ability to analyse and summarise complex information, manage and organise your time, and express your opinion persuasively and with sensitivity, skills that will leave you well placed to embark on a graduate career.

Possible careers include archaeology, the heritage industry, museums, business, journalism, the civil service, the legal profession, computing, media, librarianship and teaching. Students also move on to further academic study.

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.

Enquire or order a prospectus

Resources


Read our student profiles


Contacts

Related schools

Enquiries

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

Open days

Our general open days will give you a flavour of what it is like to be an undergraduate, postgraduate or part-time student at Kent. They include a programme of talks for undergraduate students, with subject lectures and demonstrations, plus self-guided walking tours of the campus and accommodation.

Please check which of our locations offers the courses you are interested in before choosing which event to attend.

 

The University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in its publicity materials is fair and accurate and to provide educational services as described. However, the courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Full details of our terms and conditions can be found at: www.kent.ac.uk/termsandconditions.

*Where fees are regulated (such as by the Department for Education or Research Council UK) permitted increases are normally inflationary and the University therefore reserves the right to increase tuition fees by inflation (RPI excluding mortgage interest payments) as permitted by law or Government policy in the second and subsequent years of your course. If we intend to exercise this right to increase tuition fees, we will let you know by the end of June in the academic year before the one in which we intend to exercise that right.

If, in the future, the increases to regulated fees permitted by law or government policy exceed the rate of inflation, we reserve the right to increase fees to the maximum permitted level. If we intend to exercise this extended right to increase tuition fees, we will let you know by the end of June in the academic year before the one in which we intend to exercise that right.

 

Philosophy, School of European Culture and Languages, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NF

Enquiries: +44 (0)1227 827159 or email Philosophy

Last Updated: 17/04/2014