Philosophy

French and Philosophy - BA (Hons)

Canterbury

Taking French and Philosophy in combination enables you to learn the language and cultural presence of France and engage with the world's major philosophies.

Overview

French is one of the most beautiful romance languages. Outside of France it is spoken as far afield as Canada, the Seychelles, Madagascar and Mali. It is one of the official languages of the United Nations, and an important language in the EU. 

The University of Kent is an ideal location to study French. Canterbury is the closest British university city to mainland Europe, and our proximity to the Channel ports and Ashford International station means you can be in Paris in just a couple of hours. There are also many French-speaking students on campus, so you have a better chance to immerse yourself in the language than at any other university in the country.

What is philosophy? Why is it important? Is it relevant? 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.

In combination with French, you will be in an ideal position to tackle some of the world's leading French philosophers, such as René Descartes, Michel de Montaigne, Simone de Beauvoir and Michel Foucault.

You also have the great opportunity to spend a year in a French speaking country and really get to know its culture and history in an in-depth manner. All of our Joint Honours programmes are incredibly flexible, allowing students to tailor their degree around their specific interests and goals.

This degree programme therefore is ideal for those wanting to gain a broad and detailed understanding of our world.

Independent rankings

French at Kent scored 92.7 out of 100 in The Complete University Guide 2019. In The Guardian University Guide 2019, over 91% of final-year Modern Languages and Linguistics students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.

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:

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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FR300 - French Lower Intermediate B1 (30 credits)

This module is for Post-A-level students and students who have mastered level A2 but not yet B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). On successfully completing the module students will have mastered level B1. The emphasis in this course is on furthering knowledge of the structure of the language as well as vocabulary and cultural insights while further developing the speaking, listening, reading and writing skills.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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FR330 - French Beginners A1-A2 (Intensive) (30 credits)

This is an intensive module for absolute beginners, Post-GCSE students and students who have not yet mastered level A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). On successfully completing the module students will have mastered level A2. The emphasis in this course is on acquiring a sound knowledge of the structure of the language as well as basic vocabulary and cultural insights while developing the speaking, listening, reading and writing skills.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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FR337 - Texts and Contexts 1 (15 credits)

This module, which covers the period from the 17th century to the First World War, examines through the study of relevant literary and other texts some of the major historical, cultural, social, political and literary movements of France and its colonies during this era. Close textual analysis will be combined with study of the texts' various contexts: the module encourages students to analyse cultural artefacts in connection with the historical, social and cultural contexts and discourses within which they were created. The choice of primary materials covers a wide variety of genres: letters, drama, fiction, political texts, travel writing. Students will learn to adopt critical strategies to analyse all of these sources, and to reflect on moments of major historical and cultural significance in the development of modern France. Events such as the French Revolution, the Paris Commune and the Dreyfus Affair will be analysed as they are represented in the chosen primary texts. Students will be encouraged to consider questions of national and other forms of identity in France and in the Francophone world more generally as they are mediated through cultural production, thinking through the stereotypes often used to characterise nations, their citizens/subjects and their history.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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FR338 - Texts and Contexts 2 (15 credits)

This module, which covers the period from World War I to the present day, examines some of the major historical, cultural, social, political and literary movements of France and its former colonies during this era. Close textual analysis will be combined with study of the texts' various contexts: the module encourages students to analyse cultural artefacts in connection with the historical, social and cultural discourses and contexts within which they were produced. The choice of primary materials covers a wide variety of genres: fiction, political texts, cultural criticism, popular song, film. Students will learn to adopt critical strategies to analyse all of these sources, and to reflect on moments of major historical and cultural significance in the development of contemporary France. Events such as the Second World War, the formation of the 5th Republic, North African and South-East Asian decolonisation and contemporary debates about 'laïcité' will be analysed as they are represented in the chosen primary texts. Students will be encouraged to consider questions of identity – and their mediation through cultural production – in France and in the Francophone world more generally, thinking through the stereotypes often used to characterise nations, their citizens or colonial subjects, and their history.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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FR301 - Introduction to French Literature and CultureI (15 credits)

This module is designed to introduce students to French literature, culture and history by the close study of a number of dramatic texts from the 17th, 18th, 19th,20th and 21st centuries. The authors studied use drama to explore a wide variety of themes: religious, philosophical, political, literary and social questions will be examined as they are raised in each text. Students will undertake close readings of the primary texts and will make connections with broader political, social, historical and cultural issues.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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FR302 - Introduction to French Literature and CultureII (15 credits)

This module is designed to introduce students to the range and variety of French literature by the close study of a number of short fictional texts from the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. The authors studied use short fiction to explore a wide variety of themes: philosophical, political, and social questions will be examined as they are raised in each text. Students will undertake close readings of the primary texts and will make connections with broader political, social and cultural issues.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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FR308 - Questions of French Cinema (15 credits)

This module will provide students with a basic knowledge of the most important periods of French cinema (including experimental cinema, the nouvelle vague, Beur cinema, the 1980s 'cinéma du look') and introduce key film concepts such as the 'politique des auteurs'. Students will gain experience in critical reading and viewing, in close analysis of films, texts and issues, and in developing arguments in French. They will also be introduced to the skills of presentation and the sustaining of cogent argument. The module will examine a number of films from the 1920s to the present which illustrate the scope and development of French cinema. While most of the films are now regarded as canonical, a major aim of the module is to place the works in context so as to emphasise their radical and often transgressive power.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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FR310 - Twentieth Century France in Crisis (15 credits)

This module explores how four major 'crises' in twentieth-century France are reflected in cinema: World War I, World War II, the Algerian crisis, and the events of May 1968. Some films are almost contemporary with events, whereas others were made decades later. This module will explore themes such as realistic depiction, socio political agendas, nationalist ideologies and the politicisation of (collective and individual) memory.

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:

FR648 - French Upper Intermediate B2 (30 credits)

This is an intermediate level module. Its aims are to strengthen and widen the linguistic knowledge provided in FR300, to consolidate students' vocabulary and improve their knowledge of written and spoken French through immersion in a variety of texts, and to practice translation skills both from and into French.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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FR652 - French Intermediate B1-B2 (Intensive) (30 credits)

This module is the natural follow-on for those who have, in the previous academic year, successfully taken an intensive beginners French course such as FR330, and who have covered the basics of grammar, acquired a stock of high frequency vocabulary and reached a degree of proficiency beyond GCSE and approaching A-level (A2 waystage in terms of the Common European Framework of Reference).

This module is designed to allow students, upon completion, to demonstrate a level of ability up to B2 threshold, turning students into independent users of French in both oral and written contexts. The course is thus also designed to prepare students for their year abroad and independent life in France as a foreign country. This module is an intensive course, which develops the student's active and passive aural and written skills.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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FR546 - Short Narrative Fiction in French (15 credits)

This module will introduce a selection of short narrative fiction in French drawn from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It will reflect on the techniques and forms used by a number of authors and inquire whether short fictions tend to display common features. The authors chosen use the form in a wide variety of ways, from illustrating a philosophical position to dramatising an ethical dilemma or even questioning the conventions of fiction themselves. The texts will be considered with some reference to concepts drawn from general theory of narrative.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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FR566 - French: Second Year Extended Essay (15 credits)

The module is an opportunity to embark on extended written analysis of a chosen area of study, related to, but not part of, another stage two French non-language module. It culminates in the presentation of an essay, normally in English, of 6,000 words.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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FR590 - Professional French (15 credits)

Students are taken through essential aspects of the conduct of business in France (and French-speaking countries), both learning about those aspects and becoming familiar with specific features of the French language encountered in a professional context. In terms of key skills, business skills and language skills, encourages the practice of meticulous accuracy.

As an option, students may register for the Diplôme de français professionnel Affaires B1 (DFP B1) of the Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie de Paris Ile-de-France (CCIP). The syllabus of FR590 closely follows some of the pedagogical requirements of the business French programme of the CCIP.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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FR593 - Paris: Myth and Reality in the 19th century (15 credits)

Among the capital cities of Europe, Paris has a particularly rich and interesting history. In the revolution of 1789 and subsequent political upheavals in the course of the nineteenth century (1830, 1848, 1870-71), the city played a key role in deciding the fate of the nation. In the same period, it grew dramatically in size and emerged as a modern metropolis. Widely divergent views were expressed as to the wholesomeness of city living; opinion differed equally violently among writers as to the benefits to be derived from the explosive growth of the city. The module will examine conditions of life in the real Paris of the 19th Century and in particular the radical and highly controversial changes to the face of the city brought about during the Second Empire under the direction of Baron Haussmann. The main focus of the module, however, will be the images of the city as mediated in contemporary fiction (Balzac and Zola amongst others), poetry (Baudelaire) and painting (Manet's vision of city life).

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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FR594 - Paris: Myth and Reality in the 20th century (15 credits)

Among the capital cities of Europe, Paris has a particularly rich and exciting history. It played, for example, a key role during the revolution of 1789 and subsequent political upheavals in the course of the 19th century. This module explores the different and evolving representations of Paris of the 20th century in the context of modernity and postmodernity. Although the main focus of the course will be literary, including poetry and fiction, there will also be examination of the changing landscape of the capital as mediated through film and in visual art (Cubist paintings of Paris). Thematic focuses of the module include: immigrant experience in Paris; young protagonists' quest for identity in Paris; social and urban change.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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FR598 - Occupation and Resistance in the French Novel (15 credits)

This module will examine ways in which this turbulent and divisive period of French history is reflected in imaginative writing. Some texts are nearly contemporaneous with events; others reflect collective memory of the Occupation across generations. Questions raised will include: problems of realistic description and of narrative technique; the relationship of the individual to events beyond his/her control; conflicting loyalties and responsibilities; Resistance and occupation as metaphor; the mode rétro in French fiction since the 1960s. A certain amount of historical background reading will be essential.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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FR599 - Description of Modern French (15 credits)

Written and spoken French are now, arguably, so far apart as to constitute distinct varieties. Unlike most French modules, this module will take the latter as its starting point. The phonology (sound system) will first be explored, and basic transcription skills acquired, with consideration of recent and ongoing changes in the general system known as français standard. The module will then move on to consider the gap between written and spoken French grammar, notably in such areas as the tense/mood system, morphosyntax or pronouns, grammatical gender and agreement, and verb classification. The treatment of neologisms, and particularly the status of franglais in contemporary French, will also be considered. Although the module will provide students with some basic tools of linguistic description, no background in Linguistics is required or assumed.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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FR620 - Memory and Childhood in 20th Century French Fiction (15 credits)

It is commonly accepted that identity or a sense of self is constructed by and through narrative – the stories we tell each other and ourselves about our lives. This module explores the complex relationships that exist between memory, nostalgia, writing and identity in a range of twentieth-century autobiographical and first- and third-person fictional works in French. These texts foreground issues of childhood, memory, history, and trauma in the construction of identity.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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FR638 - French Detective Fiction (15 credits)

Detective fiction is an extremely popular genre whose basic template can give rise to a multitude of approaches, settings, plots and values. This course is designed to give students an overview of the tradition of French crime fiction as it has evolved from the mid-19th century to the early 21st century. Short crime fiction, full crime novels, and film will be analysed. Close attention will be paid to generic conventions, and how they alter over time. Questions of social order and disorder will be central to our enquiry. We will also study the extent to which detective novels mount a critique of contemporary society. All texts will be studied in French. Tuition is given partly in English and partly in French.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SCL505 - Cultures of Sustainability (15 credits)

What is sustainability? It has been defined in many ways, but the most frequently quoted definition is from 'Our Common Future', also known as the Brundtland Report (1987) which refers to 'development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.' While the concept of sustainability has its roots in the natural sciences, it is becoming evident that theories and practices of sustainability are of relevance in social and cultural studies as much as biophysical relationships.



The module begins with an examination of the wide-ranging definitions of sustainability and of the contribution to the discourse from Humanities subjects. We proceed to analyse a range of case studies representing the four disciplines of Modern Languages in SECL at Kent: French, German, Italian and Hispanic Studies. The case studies highlight cultural practices ranging across time periods and geographies in which sustainable processes are key. They may include the cultural history of sustainability or 'Nachhaltigkeit' in the German context; the Cinema Ritrovato festival in Bologna, Italy; the debate in psychoanalysis on the themes of exploitation/sustainability and competition/cooperation in relation to ecological practices and the environment; the works of Martinique author Patrick Chamoiseau and the challenges to French/Eurocentric concepts of sustainability; and the culture and practice of urban organic farming – organopónicos – that arose out of the economic crisis in Cuba in the 1990s and which have circular economics, cultural development and educational practices at their core.



The module concludes with a consideration of how the case studies illustrate theories and practices of sustainability, and how in turn they may be considered catalysts for further engagement in questions of sustainability

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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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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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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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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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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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. 

All European Language students (French, German, Hispanic Studies and Italian) are required to spend a Year Abroad between Stages 2 and 3 in a country where the European language is spoken. You are expected to adhere to any academic progression requirements in Stage 2 to proceed to the Year Abroad. If the requirement is not met, you may have to postpone your Year Abroad.

The Year Abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and will not count towards your final degree classification. You spend the year working as an English language assistant or in approved employment, or studying at one of our partner universities. For a full list of our partner universities, please visit Go Abroad.

Possible modules may include:

LA514 - Modern Languages Year Abroad Module (120 credits)

Students either study at a relevant foreign university or work abroad (either as British Council language teaching assistants or in some other approved capacity).

Credits: 120 credits (60 ECTS credits).

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Stage 3

Possible modules may include:

FR649 - French Advanced C1 (30 credits)

The module develops advanced proficiency in writing, speaking and comprehending French. It concentrates on translation into French and English and the development of analytical skills in the production of written and spoken French. Translation exercises confront students with a variety of advanced texts in different styles and registers, and encourage accuracy and critical reflection as well as acquisition and consolidation of grammatical structures. The language skills component combines discursive writing on advanced topics with the development of proper oral competence through discussion. Conversation classes with a native speaker develop presentational ability, and enable students to speak fluently and idiomatically at the advanced level.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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FR6530 - Writing the Caribbean Family (15 credits)

This module presents a survey of a range of works by major Caribbean writers published since 1990. These texts explore family relationships and the related themes of childhood, memory and identity. The works will be studied in the context of social changes in the Caribbean from the 1950s onwards, including the departmentalization of Martinique and Guadeloupe, the emergence of the Duvalier dictatorship in Haiti and rising rates of migration from the Caribbean to Paris and other French cities. A range of postcolonial theories will be deployed to study the ways in which these works engage with the legacy of French colonialism in the Caribbean. The aim of the module is to show how Caribbean writers use the portrayal of the family to explore how the history of colonialism is both transmitted and silenced in contemporary society.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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FR645 - Desire in the Text: Romanticism to Decadence (15 credits)

This module presents a broadly chronological survey of canonical works of French literature of the nineteenth century centred on the theme of desire. More specifically, these works explore contemporary codes of love and marriage, shifting gender identities, capitalism, consumerism, moral, social and sexual transgression, alienation, lethargy, and death. The module takes fiction of the Romantic era as its starting point, exploring the frustration of desire associated with the 'mal du siècle' (the disillusionment and melancholy experienced by (primarily) young adults in the early nineteenth century). It concludes with naturalist and 'decadent' works of the fin de siècle, which are concerned with a discrepancy between desire and a generalised depletion of the energy required to fulfil it. The module identifies desire (whether satisfied, unfulfilled or conspicuously absent) as a central preoccupation in French cultural production of the nineteenth century. It also examines the extent to which desire is a strategy for expressing contemporary concerns and anxieties around specific aspects of modern life with which the human subject was coming rapidly and problematically to terms.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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FR646 - Crossing Borders: Travel in Modern French Writing (15 credits)

This module will explore the evolution of the notion of travel in modern French thought and literature by looking at a wide range of French travel writing in prose as well as poetry, essays, and travel diaries from the late 19th century to the late 20th century. The objective is to show how travel writing questions the relevance of myths about travel itself (often seen as a means to discover new worlds and to allow different cultures to blend) or about the other and otherworldliness.

The module takes Arthur de Gobineau's and Victor Hugo's fictional travels to the East as a starting point to explore how 19th-century orientalism fed an imaginary, idealised or demonised conception of the other. From there we will move on to different (post)modern texts by Victor Segalen, Henri Michaux and Nicolas Bouvier, demonstrating how travel and writing can work together to cross borders of a cultural but also linguistic and stylistic nature. More specifically, these different works explore themes such as exoticism, (post)modern conceptions of intercultural relationships, opacity, loneliness, fragmentation, and chaotic trajectories.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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FR621 - Writing on Art: Text and Image in Modern French Culture (15 credits)

The eighteenth-century 'philosophe' Denis Diderot was the first major French author to write at length about painting, and he bequeathed to later writers such as Baudelaire a new literary genre, the 'salon'. The mutual influence of literature and the visual arts is a major theme of nineteenth-century French culture, and an important area of current research. The module will begin with a study of selection of passages from Diderot's 'Salon de1767'. We will then examine Balzac's 'Le Chef d'oeuvre inconnu', Baudelaire's 'Le Peintre de la vie moderne', Zola's 'L'Oeuvre', and a selection from Proust's 'A la recherche du temps perdu'.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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FR637 - Travels to Japan in Modern French Culture (15 credits)

This course examines the portrayal of Japan in French and Belgian writing and culture from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Since Japan was opened to the West in the mid-19th century, there has been a tradition of French literary japanophilia. The course will permit a critical evaluation of the evolution of French 'japonisme', from its exoticist beginnings in the work of Pierre Loti, through early 20th century theories of exoticism. We will examine the portrayal of contemporary Japan in Amélie Nothomb's and Jacques Roubaud's work. 'Japoniste' images by French Impressionist painters will also be studied, as will Resnais's post-war film Hiroshima mon amour and a cinematic adaptation of Nothomb's work. The study of these texts and images will involve the exploration of themes such as intercultural understanding (or the lack thereof); the idealisation or demonisation of the other; the nature of 'Orientalism'; and the way in which French writers and artists turn to the foreign culture in order to critique their own culture.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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FR601 - Mothers and Daughters in Women's Writing (15 credits)

The module is designed to acquaint students with samples of the main trends within the work of Twentieth Century Women writers by paying close attention to the relations between mothers and their daughters who become writers. Each novel chosen is one of personal analysis of the often-violent relationship between the mothers and their daughters who turn to writing in a search for identity and liberation from the mother or maternal figure of their youth. Students analyse the texts in order to evaluate how the picture of the mother has evolved. We will pay close attention to the underlying theme of the progression of the role of women in French society. Each text will also provide us with a variety of specific themes to discuss which will enable us to better understand the changes which French women have faced during this century.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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FR592 - French for Business (15 credits)

Students will be introduced to the francophone business environment, and will learn to be operational in such a context. As well as learning about essential aspects of companies and specific features of the French language encountered in such an environment, students will broaden their knowledge of current events and economic issues through the use of a dossier of contemporary texts/articles, which will be exploited in a variety of ways: résumé (précis-writing), analyse de document (questions about the text), or free composition. In terms of key skills, business skills and language skills, this module encourages the practice of meticulous accuracy.



Students will develop their confidence in the use of specialised terminology and appropriate register in a professional context.



As an option, students may register for the Diplôme de français professionnel Affaires B2 (DFP Affaires B2) of the Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie de Paris Ile-de-France (CCIP). The syllabus of FR592 closely follows some of the pedagogical requirements of the business French programme of the CCIP.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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FR567 - French: Final Year Dissertation (30 credits)

This module provides the opportunity to write a Dissertation on an author or theme normally relating to one of the other French 'non-language' or 'content' modules being followed in the final year. 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. Throughout autumn and spring terms students will be given guidance by a chosen supervisor, but the rhythm of research, e.g. the writing and frequency of meetings between supervisor and student, is largely left to the individual student to determine.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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FR561 - Contemporary French Cinema (15 credits)

This module examines some of the key works of French cinema since 1990. The films in this module will be studied within their cultural background and within the context of French cinema history. While all the films are studied in close detail, students will be invited to develop important themes such as race and national identity, changing perceptions of Paris and the banlieue, and symptoms of social crisis. The aim of the module is to show how French filmmakers have had to invent new forms and styles of film in order to be able to address the specific issues raised by life in contemporary France.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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FR539 - History of the French Language (15 credits)

This module will view French as a case study in language standardization. How did a despised dialect of late Latin grow in stature to become a nationally and internationally prestigious standard language? We begin by outlining Haugen's model of standardisation, and the processes are that associated with them. Starting with Selection of Norms, we consider the earliest French texts and show how they differ from Latin and from Modern French, and look at evolving medieval attitudes to dialects and Classical Latin. As French gradually replaces Latin, we consider Elaboration of Function and Codification, before moving to Acceptance (or perhaps imposition?) of French as a national language in the wake of the Revolution. The latter part of the course looks at language maintenance and the role of normative institutions in controlling or resisting change.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SCL502 - Languages in the Classroom (30 credits)

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 consider a career in HE language teaching by providing them with the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding of Languages in the primary and secondary school context as well as in HE.

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).

Read more

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).

Read more

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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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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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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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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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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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

French

You take compulsory language modules, including small group work with a native speaker. We also make extensive use of computer-assisted language learning packages and audio and video materials. Culture and literature modules typically involve a weekly two-hour seminar plus essay supervision. We employ six French language lectors to help students improve their fluency.

At all stages, assessment is based 100% on coursework (essays, oral presentations) in the first half of the year, and a combination of coursework and examination in the second half of the year. Credits from your year abroad count towards your final degree.

Philosophy

Teaching is by lectures, seminars, class discussions, and individual and group research, which is discussed in class.

All modules are assessed by 100% coursework (essays, in-class assignments, seminar participation) throughout the year.

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

BBB

GCSE

Grade B or 6 in a second language

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 15 at HL including 4 at HL or 5 at SL in a second language

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

All students studying French spend the year of study between the Stages Two and Three in a French speaking country, either working or studying. This is a fantastic way to improve your language skills and gain an understanding of French culture and will help with your career development.

The Philosophy Department at Kent takes employability seriously, and all of our modules are designed to give you important skills that transfer to the workplace. These modules will not only improve your grasp of philosophy, but teach you how to critically evaluate ideas, think through problems and clearly communicate even complex material. We offer opportunities to discuss and defend your ideas, to give oral presentations, to work both individually and as part of a group, all of which will equip you with useful instruments for your future careers, whatever they may be.

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