- A level requirements: AAB
- UCAS code: I617
- Study mode: Full-time
- Length: 3 years
This programme combines Philosophy with a Minor pathway in Game Design Studies – a new and distinctive provision in the study of interactive audiovisual media. The principles and theories of game design offer a unique dimension to the study of philosophy, and questions of meaning and perspective.
Your first year will be spent developing your foundational knowledge through a series of required modules, through which you will also acquire the skills to read and write about philosophy, and to undertake critical analysis. During your second and final years, you will take 75% of your modules from a broad range of Philosophy options, covering subjects from metaphysics and philosophy of the future, to Chinese and Indian philosophy.
Your Minor pathway will introduce you to the study of video games, which includes topics such as the history and development of gaming cultures, the complex nature of interactive media, and the critical issues that accompany engagement with virtual worlds, multicursal narratives, and dynamic musical content. Digital games represent one of the fastest growing forms of entertainment media: consequently, there is a growing need for many jobs that are not only in the games industry, but in surrounding industries as well. This programme develops a wide range of skills that prepare students for employment at various entry points in the job market, including content creation, publishing, journalism, and marketing.
This programme is available with a Year in Industry. Year Three is spent on a paid placement within an organisation in industry, broadly defined. You will be supported by the School of the Arts and the Department throughout, and your reflexive written account of the experience will contribute towards your final degree result. If you wish to study this programme with a Year in Industry, please put the option code ‘YI’ in the ‘Further Choices’ section of your UCAS application form.
Discover what you'll learn, what you'll study, and how you'll be taught and assessed.
You will take two compulsory modules each from Philosophy and Game Design Studies, and four optional modules.
This module introduces students to the semantics of video game design and the techniques of close reading. It examines how mechanics, environment and audio design, genre conventions and iconography can be used to create meaning, both in support and subversion of explicit narrative. Students will learn to make connections between the disparate artforms involved in game design and develop the ability to form their own readings of games. The module is taught in 2-hour workshops which involve a mixture of theory lectures and in-depth discussion of specific games, including student-led choices. Assessment consists of a 2000-word coursework essay (85%), of which there is a formative, peer-reviewed ‘pitching’ exercise in week 6, and a 5-10 minute in-class presentation or video essay (15%), delivered during the second half of the module.
The module Introduction to Game Design Studies explores the phenomenon of video game studies from a variety of Arts and Humanities perspectives. Therefore, the module will focus on three key interrelated contexts for the analysis and theorisation of video games as digital media culture: the text of the game itself as an aesthetic and formal virtual object, genre and system of representation; the video game player as a type of audience or user who is immersed, interactive, and embodied; the video game industry as a global media business, one with a strong Japanese presence and with a profound effect on the wider media context.
This module brings the history of philosophy to life by unpacking the meaning behind well-known philosophical quotations (e.g. ‘The unexamined life is not worth living’; ‘One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman’). The quotations will be selected from key thinkers in the history of philosophy, and will be presented in chronological order. They will also be selected so that the material covered complements, but does not overlap with, readings on other philosophy modules. Students are introduced to well-known philosophical quotations in lectures. The lectures provide background context required to understand the quotations. Students then carry out independent research into the meanings of these quotations after the lecture. In workshops they write short summaries of what is meant by these quotations. In seminars they present and discuss these summaries, and have a debate about the plausibility of the philosophical views underlying the quotations they are working on. At the end of the course they combine three of their five summaries into a wiki, and they write a blogpost on one of the quotations that explains its meaning and evaluates the philosophical views and ideas expressed in it.
Students taking this module will improve their skills in reading and writing philosophy. Students will gain skill in explaining complex information in a concise manner to an audience, in practising the intellectual virtues associated with philosophy, in conducting their own independent research and in critically discussing important ideas in the history of philosophy. They will also gain familiarity with modes of writing other than essays (wikis, blogposts). In addition, there is a two-hour information skills workshop provided by the Library.
Students taking this module will develop key skills which are essential for studying philosophy. Students will learn how to approach philosophical texts written in a variety of styles – how to identify arguments, how to distinguish arguments from rhetoric, and how to evaluate arguments. They will also learn how to summarise views accurately, clearly and concisely, and how to write persuasively when presenting their own analysis of the philosophical topics covered. This module also includes lectures on successful presenting, and how to conduct fruitful philosophical discussions. Students will also be advised on understanding and learning from feedback. Students will gain skills in conducting their own independent, enquiry-led research, which is facilitated by a two-hour information and research skills workshop provided by the Library.
The seminar readings cover three particularly engaging philosophical topics: animal ethics, lying and bullshit (epistemology) and aesthetics. Since the lecture content is devoted to developing the skills involved with philosophical practice, this module also features three podcasts which serve as introductions to the three seminar topics.
The module is assessed as follows: seminar participation counts for 10% of the overall grade, a 1,000-word executive summary of any two of the seminar readings counts for 30% of the module result, and a 2000-word essay counts for the remaining 60%. Feedback on the executive summary and the essay is provided online using VITAL. It specifically relates the assessed work to the marking descriptors (which are published online in advance). Feedback on seminar participation is provided informally by the seminar leader (and by the students’ peers). Students will also have the opportunity to discuss their participation by making use of their seminar leader’s feedback and advice hours.
Taking this module will help you to gain skill in reconstructing and evaluating arguments, in analysing, interpreting, and thinking critically about textual and statistical information, and in thinking creatively. There are 100 minutes’ worth of lectures per week and, running from Week 2 onwards, ten weekly online tests. The first two online tests are purely formative. Each of the remaining eight online tests contributes 5% of the module result. A two-hour on-line examination contributes the remaining 60%.
This module introduces students to the main arguments and theories in historical and contemporary ethical theory. Taking this module will enhance your abilities to analyse ethical claims and to identify the philosophical assumptions that underlie them.
This module teaches students how to assess arguments using the formal methods of modern symbolic logic. Taking this module will enhance your ability to work with abstract material and your problem solving skills. It will help you understand logical notation where you encounter it in your reading, and prepare you, where appropriate, for more advanced logical study. The module is taught by lecture (1hr/week) and workshop (2hrs/week from week 2 onwards). There are three assessment components; an online multiple choice test (30%), an in-class test administered in the 9th workshop (40%), and a final exam (1hr, 30%).
This module introduces students to modern metaphysics, with an emphasis on a coherent historical narrative that explains the role that early modern philosophers, especially Rene Descartes and John Locke, have played in the development of our contemporary intellectual culture. The module covers Descartes’ and Locke’s philosophical systems in the early modern period, then goes on to outline the ‘scientific turn’ in philosophy in the late 19th and early 20th century. Taking this module will give students a grasp of why philosophers ask big questions about the nature of reality, and how those questions bear on their everyday lives and political experiences. The module is taught by lecture (2 x 1 hour per week) and seminar (1 hour per week). Assessment has two components, a set of 5 short pieces of writing (5 x 150 words) worth 25% of the module mark and spread through the teaching term, and a final essay worth the remaining 75%.
This module introduces students to the main arguments and theories in the history of Western political philosophy. Taking this module will enhance students’ abilities to analyse political arguments and claims and to identify the philosophical assumptions that underlie them. The module is taught by lecture (2 x 1 hour per week in person, or pre-recorded mini-lectures available online, depending on the circumstances) and seminar (1 hour per week). Assessment is via a take home exam (2 hour equivalent, weighted at 90% of the module mark) and a 5-10 minute seminar presentation (weighted at 10% of the module mark). Seminar presentations may be recorded by students, if in-person presentation is not possible.
Artists, art-critics and the general public ordinarily provide their own accounts as to what art means and why it is valuable. In this module, such accounts are subjected to critical scrutiny: seemingly obvious answers give rise to nuanced and complex questions, in true philosophical fashion. To a large extent, this is accomplished through close attention to particular artworks from a variety of genres. The module also includes a guided activity component, which leads to the preparation of a reflective log in an authentic-learning context. By completing this module, one’s intuitions about the significance and the meaning of art will be liable to modification and fine-tuning, will become dialectically informed, and will stand up to challenge in real-world situations.
Your second year will consist of entirely optional modules.
This module familiarises students with some of the key texts, concepts, and arguments from the most prominent and influential ancient Greek philosophers. The module will focus particularly on concepts raised in the dialogues of Plato and in Aristotle’s Metaphysics and Nicomachean Ethics. The ancient Greek understanding of philosophy as both an intellectual and political practice within the ancient city-state will form the backdrop of the views and arguments discussed. Taking this module will enhance one’s abilities to analyse influential philosophical accounts and theories and to identify what the ‘examined life’ stands for in various contexts, both ancient and contemporary.
This module deals with business ethics and the social responsibility of business organizations. It is designed to inform decision-making about ethical challenges arising in business. It will help students identify and manage difficult ethical dilemmas they are likely to encounter in their future career. It is not intended to convert sinners into saints, to preach ethical truths, or to convey the wisdom of moral philosophers. However, it will develop students’ analytical skills in ethical reasoning and provide them with a substantive framework to deal with ethical challenges. The module is taught by lecture (2 x 1 hour lectures per week) and workshops (2 during the semester, 2 hours each). Assessment is via case study analysis (40%) and an open book examination (60%). There will also be formative tests during the term. This module is identical to PHIL272, except that it runs in Semester 1.
This module deals with business ethics and the social responsibility of business organizations. It is designed to inform decision-making about ethical challenges arising in business. It will help students identify and manage difficult ethical dilemmas they are likely to encounter in their future career. It is not intended to convert sinners into saints, to preach ethical truths, or to convey the wisdom of moral philosophers. However, it will develop students’ analytical skills in ethical reasoning and provide them with a substantive framework to deal with ethical challenges. The module is taught by lecture (2 x 1 hour lectures per week, or a set of recorded mini-lectures available online if necessary) and workshops (2 during the semester, 2 hours each, which may occur online if necessary). Assessment is via case study analysis (40%) and an open book examination (60%). There will also be formative tests during the term. This module is identical to PHIL271, except that it runs in Semester 2.
This module introduces students to academic work that challenges the conventions of mainstream gaming, or what has been called ‘queer game studies’. It examines the relationship between queerness and play, and how the formalising of play into games, especially digital and technological games, has sustained and promoted societal norms. Themes covered include the representation of marginalised identities, queer reclamation of ‘failure’ and the ways that technology can reproduce or subvert social structures. Students will learn to reexamine the conventions of game design with a view to conceiving a wider range of possibility for games, as well as engaging with the fundamental concepts of academic queer theory. The module is taught in 2-hour design workshops, with an introductory lecture in the first week. Assessment consists of a 1000-word design sketch for a game (40%) and a 1500-word coursework essay (60%). The textbook for the module is Ruberg & Shaw eds ‘Queer Game Studies’ (2017), Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Games are ubiquitous today; even if you don’t think you play them, you do, via schemes like loyalty cards. This module examines the role of games in contemporary society, and the ways in which this has been reflected within contemporary literature. Throughout this module, we will consider the relationship between games and literature in relation to three key areas—“Ludic Literature”, “Gaming Cultures”, and “Games of the Future”—with each area involving the analysis of particular literary texts to consider what they reveal about contemporary society and its interests in games and gaming. Illustrative authors include: Raymond Queneau and members of the OuLiPo, Orson Scott Card, William Gibson, Daniel Suarez, and Ernest Cline.
The second-year module Immersive Media and Virtual Worlds explores the histories, theories, and industries related to the production of immersive experiences, digital technologies and virtual realities and worlds. In particular, the module will focus on video games and cinema.
Taking this module will introduce students to some topics in contemporary epistemology. These will include some traditional questions about knowledge, and some of the main views that have been held about them. The module will also cover contemporary topics such as expertise, bias, epistemic justice, scientific knowledge, ignorance and fake news. Because these topics are relatively new, students will have the opportunity to engage with new and cutting-edge research in these areas. They will also have the opportunity to reflect on their own practices, especially on how they access information online.
This module is cognate with politics and economics, as well as with the philosophy of mathematics, and is required for students taking Mathematics and Philosophy. It is taught via 11 one-hour lectures and 11 one-hour seminars. There are online quizzes and short writing tasks associated with each lecture, which together are worth 10% of the module mark. During term-time students write an essay, which counts for 30% of the mark. A seen two-hour examination contributes the remaining 60%.
This module familiarises students with some of the main issues, theories and arguments in contemporary political philosophy. Taking this module will enhance your abilities to analyse political arguments and theories and to identify the philosophical assumptions that underly political claimsregarding such controversial issues as justice, freedom and equality. Thus the module is highly appropriate to students studying politics, economics and other disciplines where identifying and assessing the assumptions and ideologies underlying claims and policies is important. The module is taught by lecture (1 hour per week) and seminar (1 hour per week). Assessment is via a 2 hour exam (comprising 60% of the module mark) and a 2,000 word essay (30% of the module mark). Students also take it in turns to give one 5-10 minute seminar presentation that provides the remaining 10% of the module mark.
This module teaches students how to construct consistency trees and derivations for first-order logic. PHIL127 is a prerequisite for this module and students on programmes other than GV15 Mathematics and Philosophy must have obtained a mark of at least 60% for PHIL127. Taking this module will enhance your ability to work with abstract material, your problem-solving skills and your personal resilience. It will help you understand logical notation when you encounter it in your reading and prepare you for more advanced logic study. In 2021-22, this module will be taught via support materials, pre-recorded work examples, asynchronous online discussion, and by live online workshops and online drop-in sessions. It will be assessed using continuous assessment, both formative and summative. Each week, students will receive detailed feedback on their work.
Metaphysics deals with the largest and most fundamental questions concerning the nature of reality. What are the basic ingredients of reality? What is it to persist? Why is there anything at all? What is the nature of matter? What is the nature of space and time? Is space more than nothingness? Are the past and future as real as the present? What, if anything are you? In this module we will introduce you to current thinking on the central issue of metaphysics, as well as the differing views as to the nature of metaphysics itself. The module is taught via one weekly lecture, and one weekly seminar. It is assessed by a two hour examination worth 60% of the overall module mark, an essay 30% and a seminar presentation 10%.
This module familiarises students with some of the main issues, theories and arguments in contemporary normative and applied ethics. Taking this module will enhance their abilities to analyse ethical arguments and theories and to identify the philosophical assumptions that underly controversial ethical claims. The module is taught by lecture (1 hour per week) and 5 seminar session (2-hour bi-weekly). Assessment is via a 3,500 word essay (75% of the module mark) and a number of class and after class tasks worth 1000 words (10%). Students also give one 10-15 minute seminar presentation that provides the remaining 15% of the module mark.
This module examines the function and design of music in video games (including games-consoles, PCs, and smart-phone ‘apps’). It considers the historical development of music in gaming, the relationship between game-music and technological advance, and the role and function of music in different types of game (and how this dictates compositional choice). This is achieved via a combination of case-study analyses and engagement with appropriate literature and research. Delivery incorporates lectures, workshop/seminars, and directed activity. Assessment incorporates a discursive essay and a portfolio of case-study analyses. The module assumes the study and discussion of case-study examples, but is delivered and assessed in a manner which does not require technical music skills (ie notational literacy or formal analytical method).
This module considers issues of race and racism from a philosophical perspective. Given the philosophical breadth of the topic, this module will cover a wide range of philosophical approaches. These include aesthetics, phenomenology, critical theory, politics, epistemology, language, metaphysics and science. Students will be introduced to these topics in lectures. These lectures provide background context to understanding the topics. Students then read prescribed readings and do independent research in preparation for seminars. This will help students learn how to engage in constructive debate on controversial social topics
At mid-term students will submit an opinion piece in the form of a blogpost. At the end of term students will submit an essay.
Students taking this module will improve their skills in reading and writing philosophy. Students will gain skill in explaining complex information in a concise manner to an audience, in practising the intellectual virtues associated with philosophy, in conducting their own independent research and in critically discussing important social ideas.
This module helps students to gain knowledge of the main philosophical debates concerning the concept of God, such as God’s omnipotence, omniscience, and perfect goodness. It considers, for example, the main arguments for and against God’s existence: the ontological argument, the cosmological argument, the design argument, and the problem of evil. There is one lecture per week and one seminar per week. Each student must give a 10-15 minute long seminar presentation. This counts for 10% of the module mark. An assessed seminar reading analysis (1,000 words) counts for 25%. An examination contributes the remaining 65%.
This module’s emphasis is not on a particular philosophical content, but on the problem solving skills that studying philosophy is meant to train. Students will be involved in three mini-projects, each over a three week period, and each devoted to a particular philosophical problem, which in the context of this module means a philosophical proof or argument that appears to be entirely valid, but whose conclusion is widely seen as unacceptable (as for instance John McTaggart’s proof that time does not exist).
In the first week of each section the problem is introduced and contextualized by the tutor and then discussed with the whole cohort. Working groups are allocated who will then have two weeks to work on the problem. The second week is reserved for a scheduled group work session with the tutor on hand to clarify points of information and present their ideas for formative assessment, followed in the third week by group presentations of the final proposed solutions to the problem.
The module aims to prepare students for a smooth transition into a work placement year and, more broadly, to develop lifelong skills, attitudes and behaviours and support students in their continuing professional development. This will help students lead flexible, fulfilling careers working as a professional in their field, and enable them to contribute meaningfully to society.
This module will introduce students to key concepts and figures in the project of understanding natural language. Students will examine how philosophers have attempted to understand meaning, reference and communication. Students will be introduced to the distinction between semantics and pragmatics and to speech-act theory. They will learn to apply these conceptual and theoretical tools to contemporary debates around freedom of speech and censorship by the semantics and pragmatics of slurs, hate speech, dog whistles and pornographic speech. They will consider feminist perspectives on language. Students taking this module will understand the central concepts in philosophy of language and how questions in the philosophy of language can intersect with issues in philosophy of mind, ethics, political philosophy and feminist theory, and they will be able to apply this understanding to real world cases. The module is taught by lecture (1h each week for the first 6 weeks) and workshops (2h per week). Assessment is via a 750 word essay (comprising 15% of the module’s mark) and a 2500 word essay (comprising 85% of the module mark).
You will take 2 required modules in Game Design Studies, with the remaining modules taken from a range of Philosophy options which includes SOTA300 – the School of the Arts work experience module.
Games and Algorithmic Culture investigates how videogames are responding and contributing to the current technological and cultural changes in the use of AI, data mining, procedurally generated content, metrics and automation. The module provides a fundamental knowledge of the videogame industry and its new markets and trends, such as eSports, live streaming, independent productions, casual and mobile gaming. It explores how these new social, cultural, and aesthetics trends of game culture are framed around a broader algorithmic culture that pervades our contemporary technics of digital production and distribution. The module will enable students to understand the specificity of games as new media, to critically analyse the technical, economic and social factors that frame contemporary digital culture, and identify areas of intervention within the global entertainment industry.
This module introduces students to the major philosophical issues associated with play, games especially digital games and virtual worlds. It examines both the philosophical literature around play and contemporary concerns expressed in relationship to the growth of the video games industry, including addiction, violence, ‘gamification’ and the use of play and software for education and therapy. Students will learn to challenge common assumptions, including their own, about the triviality of play in relation to modern constructions of labour and value, and develop an understanding of how these assumptions underpin both popular and academic discussion of games.
The module is taught by pre-recorded online mini-lectures (approximately 1 hour per week), and a guided online reading group comprising synchronous discussions via video chat and asynchronous discussions via online discussion board, based on a selection of key texts. Assessment consists of a 3-part project: a formative pitching meeting with the module leader in the first 5 weeks of the course, a short report on that meeting (500 words, 35%) including a research plan, and a final essay (2,500 words, 65%).
F FULL ON-CAMPUS TEACHING RESUMES: The module is taught by lecture (1 hour per week) and seminar (1 hour per week). Assessment consists of a 3-part project: a formative pitching meeting with the module leader in the first 5 weeks of the course, a short report on that meeting (500 words, 35%) including a research plan, and a final essay (2,500 words, 65%).
The module intends to familiarise students with central themes of aesthetics and art theory, especially questions about aesthetic judgement, aesthetic experience and aesthetic value. They will be able to strengthen their understanding of the history of philosophy, as well as the connection between theory and artistic practice. The module is taught by lecture (1 hour per week) and seminar (1 hour per week). Assessment is via a 3,000 word essay (85% of the module mark) and one 10-15 minute presentation (delivered during seminars, or recorded if on-line only teaching) that provides the remaining 15% of the module mark.
This module will introduce students to ideas formulated during the classical period of Chinese philosophy. The focus will be on the dialectic between the Daoist and Confucian schools. The module will help students to understand the ways in which Chinese philosophers approached topics that are also discussed in the Western traditions. It will also enable students to understand what is distinctive about the Chinese approaches. There will be one lecture and one seminar per week. Assessment is by examination (60%), essay (30%) and assessed seminar presentation (10%).
Students will choose a topic of special interest related to their programme of study and conduct an independent research project upon up it in consultation with an allocated supervisor. The module is distinctive because the final project output is to be presented as if to a specified target external audience (such as sixth-form students, policy groups or the general public), and use a digital platform (eg website, vlog, animation, podcast). The module thus offers students opportunities to integrate their philosophical skills, knowledge and understanding with applied skills of digital communication relevant in arenas beyond the academic setting.
Students do not need digital skills beyond those they will have already acquired as final year students of Philosophy to take this module. Training is offered via a suite of learning materials as relevant to an individual’s chosen mode of presentation and through scheduled supervised workshops. Advice and support are provided. Students will have the opportunity to offer peer feedback on each other’s outputs before final submission.
Formal assessment is threefold:
a) Research Report (1500 words; 40%). The student, before embarking on the module, will have identified a question or problem which they wish to research and address. The Research Report offers a summary of this, arguments put forward and conclusions drawn. It also confirms the proposed audience and output format.
b) Digital Inquiry Project (40%). Guidance is supplied on appropriate size/length, which will vary according to platform, but be such that the project communicates the findings of the Report in a manner appropriate to the audience and digital format.
c) Reflective Commentary (500 words, 20%). This gives students the opportunity to reflect critically on the process, identifying challenges, how these were addressed and explaining presentational decisions made.
This module familiarises students with some of the main issues, theories and arguments in the existentialist movement from Kierkegaard and Nietzsche through to Sartre and de Beauvoir. Taking this module will enhance your abilities to read challenging philosophical texts in a critical manner. The module is taught by lecture (1 hour per week) and seminar (1 hour per week). Assessment is via an exam (comprising 55% of the module mark) and a 2,000 word essay (30% of the module mark). Students also take it in turns to give one 10-15 minute seminar presentation that provides the remaining 15% of the module mark.
This module familiarises students with some of the main theories and arguments in debates about issues that raise problems for traditional ethics. These include the treatment of disability, the issue of humanitarian intervention and other matters of global concern, such as international justice, and issues raised by what some call the ‘environmental crisis’. The module is taught by lecture (1 hour per week) and seminar (1 hour per week). Assessment is via a 3,500 word essay (comprising 90% of the module mark) due in the January assessment period. Students will have the opportunity to receive formative feedback on a draft essay plan towards the end of the autumn term. Students will also give one 10-15 minute seminar presentation that provides the remaining 10% of the module mark.
This module covers the main normative issues surrounding the delivery of health care in modern societies. It discusses the purpose of health care, the notions of health and disease, just allocation of medical resources, issues of inequity in health dispositions, and problems of prioritising and rationing in health care. It acquaints students with the main theories of health care justice and also covers problems in public health and global health inequalities.
After successfully taking the module, students will able be to explain the main moral and economic problems in the provision and allocation of health care resources. They will have sufficient knowledge of underlying philosophical debates and theories in these areas to engage critically with recent public debates about the just and economically viable provision for health care needs.
The module will be delivered by 8 x 2-hour seminar groups and two 2-hour workshops.
Modes of summative assessments are i) a group presentation (weighted at 15% of the module mark); ii) a brief argument (up to 500 words) in relation to the group presentation, in the style of a "Letter to the Editor" (15%); iii) a 2000-words essay (70%).
This module familiarises students with some of the key texts, concepts and arguments from the post classical Greek and Roman periods. The module will focus particularly on prominent philosophical themes in the writings of Hellenistic and Neoplatonic traditions. Taking this module will enhance your abilities to analyse influential philosophical accounts and theories and to identify the philosophical assumptions that underlie them. The module is taught by lecture (1 hour per week) and seminar (1 hour per week). Assessment is via a 2,500 word essay (85% of the module mark). Students also take it in turns to give one 10-15 minute seminar presentation that provides the remaining 15% of the module mark.
This module will introduce you to the various traditions of belief and practice that are obscured by the labels ‘Hinduism’ and ‘Buddhism’. It will help you to understand the ways in which Indian philosophers approached topics that are also discussed in the Western traditions. It will also enable you to understand what is distinctive about the Indian approaches. There will be one lecture per week, and from Week 2, a weekly seminar. Assessment is by examination 60%, essay 30% and seminar presentation 10%.
Consciousness is sometimes thought of as ‘the final frontier of science’. How does grey, lumpy, brain matter produce the rich inner world of thoughts, feeling and emotions we know from day to day? This module starts with a history of philosophers’ attempts to find a place for consciousness in the universe as it is revealed to us by the physical sciences. It then engages with cutting-edge debates scientists and philosophers are currently having concerning the relationship between mind and brain, and between thought and consciousness. We also look at perception, and at various unconscious influences on our conscious mind. The module is taught by lecture (1 hour per week) and seminar (1 hour per week). Assessment is via a seen exam (comprising 45% of the module mark) and a 2,000 word essay (40% of the module mark). Students also take it in turns to give one 10-15 minute seminar presentation that provides the remaining 15% of the module mark.
This module gives students the opportunity to explore selected areas of conflict in social, political and legal domains. When rights or interests clash, or seem to clash, what philosophical issues are at stake? How should the state adjudicate? Key themes include rights, freedoms and responses to oppression. The module seeks to help students develop a philosophical manner of thought that will enable them to refine their views on other similar issues of public importance, often controversial in nature, which they might encounter later in life. Representative areas for inquiry include questions such as ‘Does the state have the right to display religious symbols in classrooms?’ and ‘How far should midwives be allowed to opt out of assisting with abortions?’, and topics such as freedom and the media, the ethics of immigration, forms of oppression within society, and sexual harassment.
There are no lectures for this module; it is based on student-led research and applied learning, facilitated by the tutor in weekly two-hour workshops. Some content is sensitive, and discussions are carefully moderated to respect this. The assessment asks students to integrate their academic skills with analysis of ‘real-world’ scenarios. There are three research-based applied components: a presentation (15% + submitted materials 5%), case study (2000 words, 45%), and an opinion piece (1000 words, 35%). The opinion piece is published electronically as a course wiki for peer comment prior to formal submission.
Samples and in-class support will be provided.
This is an interdisciplinary module which aims to get students to think critically about imaginative literature and philosophical approaches to literature. It familiarises students with some of the main issues, theories and arguments relating to the ontology, value and structure of literature, as well as concepts in critical theory.
The module discusses key themes at the intersection of philosophy and literature; each year focusing on one such theme. The module is taught by lecture 1 hour per week and seminar 1 hour per week. Assessment is via a take-home exam comprising 60% of the module mark and a 2,000 word essay 30% of the module mark. Students also take it in turns to give one 10-15 minute seminar presentation that provides the remaining 10% of the module mark.
Students will choose a topic of special interest in philosophy and conduct research into this area of interest via reading and private study under the supervision of the supervisor to whom they have been allocated. All students will have the opportunity to participate in the Philosophy Dissertation Showcase.
The course focuses on the philosophical implications of likely (or possible) future technological developments.
The universe is billions of years old, there are billions of stars in our galaxy and billions of galaxies, and thanks to recent discoveries it now seems likely that most stars have planets. Yet so far we have seen no sign of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. What is the significance of this ‘great silence’? Advances in medical technology will soon make possible significant ‘improvements’ to our bodies and minds. How serious are the ethical objections to human enhancement? If teleportation technology were available many of the all too familiar problems associated with ordinary modes of transportation could be avoided.
But is teleportation actually survivable? Computers are advancing all the time, and some say that super-intelligent machines are inevitable. Are they right, and if so, what are the implications? Will it prove possible to upload ourselves into computer-sustained virtual paradises, as some transhumanists hope? Is it likely, as some have argued, that we are in fact living our lives in virtual worlds? If so, how should we conceive of these worlds? Are they as real as the real world? If we could achieve immortality, either through bio-enhancement or uploading, would it be something we could coherently desire? Is time travel really possible? Some quantum physicists maintain that the universe is continually branching. What are the implications for how we think of our lives if they are right about this?
Many of these scenarios and issues have been anticipated in science fiction. While some (‘hard’) sci-fi authors seek scientific plausibility, i.e. they do their best to stick within the known laws of physics, they generally pay far less attention to metaphysical and ethical issues. Yet in working out how we should respond to what the future may bring, metaphysical and ethical considerations are of paramount importance. It is with these that this course will be dealing.
The module is taught by a combination of lectures and seminars. Assessment consists of a seminar presentation (10%), an essay on a relevant topic (2,000 words, 30%) and a take-home exam (60% approx. equivalent to a 2 hour exam).
This module is an opportunity for you to undertake a placement in a setting which matches your academic and possible career/industry interests, develop materials and/or undertake tasks within a practical or vocational context, apply academic knowledge from your degree, and develop your personal and employability skills within a working environment. SOTA300 is not open to students who have taken SOTA600.
In studying Philosophy you will learn how to defend your views with reasoned arguments, and to assess the arguments of others. Argumentative skills are learned through attending lectures and reading philosophical texts, developed by group seminar discussions, and formally assessed through essays and exams. You will complete modules to the value of 120 credits per year, from a wide range of options available. Most modules employ a blend of lectures, seminars and online support materials. You will learn by reading and studying outside class time, by attending and participating in classes, by doing coursework and, for dissertations, via one-to-one meetings with a supervisor. There is also scope, both formally in the placement module and informally, for you to develop practical skills by volunteering.
Philosophy employs a mixture of modes of assessment: exams and coursework in many different varieties including essays, oral presentations, dissertations, exercises, and supported independent work (eg in the placement module).
We have a distinctive approach to education, the Liverpool Curriculum Framework, which focuses on research-connected teaching, active learning, and authentic assessment to ensure our students graduate as digitally fluent and confident global citizens.
Studying with us means you can tailor your degree to suit you. Here's what is available on this course.
The Department of Philosophy is based in the School of the Arts, although teaching will take place across the campus. Our staff and students have created an environment where critical, independent thinking flourishes, in a city that has a long tradition of welcoming radical thinkers and philosophers. Our friendly, down-to-earth atmosphere makes the exchange of ideas enjoyable, as well as intellectually stimulating.
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As a student in the School of the Arts, you will be supported to maximise your employability from day one. The School has its own placements and employability officer, and you will have the opportunity to undertake a work placement or a year in industry as part of your programme.
Graduates in Philosophy obtain work in fields such as advertising, the arts, broadcasting, commerce, the civil service, computing, journalism, marketing, politics, law, management, and teaching. Through our third year work experience module, or the Year in Industry route, you have the opportunity during your degree to apply your academic learning to practical contexts and develop a range of skills attractive to future employers.
At Liverpool, our goal is to support you to build your intellectual, social, and cultural capital so that you graduate as a socially-conscious global citizen who is prepared for future success. We achieve this by:
Hear what graduates say about their career progression and life after university.
US District Judge Wendy Beetlestone described her time at University of Liverpool as a “great start” that delivered the “thought discipline” that continues to influence her professional life.
Your tuition fees, funding your studies, and other costs to consider.
Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching and assessment, operating facilities such as libraries, IT equipment, and access to academic and personal support. Learn more about tuition fees, funding and student finance.
We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This could include buying a laptop, books, or stationery.
Find out more about the additional study costs that may apply to this course.
We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to help cover tuition fees and help with living expenses while at university.
The qualifications and exam results you'll need to apply for this course.
My qualifications are from: United Kingdom.
Applicants with the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) are eligible for a reduction in grade requirements. For this course, the offer is ABB with A in the EPQ.
You may automatically qualify for reduced entry requirements through our contextual offers scheme.
|GCSE||4/C in English and 4/C in Mathematics|
|BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma||
Applications encouraged. BTEC applications are encouraged. We evaluate each BTEC application on its merits.
35 overall with no score less than four
|Irish Leaving Certificate||H1, H1, H2, H2, H2, H3|
|Scottish Higher/Advanced Higher||
AAB in Advanced Highers, combinations of Advanced Highers and Scottish Highers are welcome
|Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced||Accepted at grade A including AB at A Level|
|Access||45 Level 3 credits at Distinction|
Many countries have a different education system to that of the UK, meaning your qualifications may not meet our direct entry requirements. Although there is no direct Foundation Certificate route to this course, completing a Foundation Certificate, such as that offered by the University of Liverpool International College, can guarantee you a place on a number of similar courses which may interest you.
Have a question about this course or studying with us? Our dedicated enquiries team can help.
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