Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Code PHIL105
Coordinator Dr L Gow
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2023-24 Level 4 FHEQ First Semester 15


To introduce and develop the academic skills and knowledge necessary for the successful practice of philosophy.

To help prepare students for future academic or professional work by honing core essential reading, writing and presenting skills.

To foster in students an appreciation of the value of philosophy, and the value of the skills developed through studying philosophy.

To introduce students to three central philosophical topics, and to promote understanding, considered reflection, and independent thinking with respect to these topics.

To develop effective critical reading skills.

To develop the ability to present complex ideas orally and in writing.

To enable and promote the practicing of the intellectual virtues associated with philosophical discussion.

To promote the skills involved in producing clear, accurate and concise summaries of philosophical views, arguments and positions.

To further develop the skills involved in writing well-structured, rigorously argued, clearly-written and well-presented philosophical essays.

To expand upon students’ research skills, and provide guidance on assessing the reliability of online resources.

To increase students’ awareness of the importance of feedback, and to provide guidance on understanding and learning from that feedback to develop and improve their future work.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Students will be able to explain and evaluate some work relevant to three topics in philosophy (animal ethics, lying and bullshit (epistemology), aesthetics).

(LO2) Students will be able to conduct discussions in a manner that displays the intellectual virtues associated with philosophy.

(LO3) Students will be able to write successful executive summaries of key texts.

(LO4) Students will be able to write essays that embody a philosophically-informed approach to argumentation.

(LO5) Students will be able to conduct independent research in support of their work, and make use of the Harvard Referencing System.

(LO6) Students will have the skills required to successfully present their work using a variety of digital and non-digital formats.

(LO7) Students will be able to understand how to develop their work in light of feedback received.

(LO8) Students will be able to apply their knowledge and understanding to real world situations (particularly with respect to the first topic covered – animal ethics).

(S1) Students will enhance their abilities in reading and understanding texts and in comprehending abstract material.

(S2) Students will develop their skills in thinking critically, analysing problems and analysing and assessing arguments.

(S3) Students will enhance their ability to identify the issues that underlie debates.

(S4) Students will develop confidence in considering previously unfamiliar ideas and approaches and their ability to identify presuppositions and to reflect critically upon them.

(S5) Students will enhance their ability to marshal arguments and present them orally and in writing.

(S6) Students will develop the ability to perform bibliographical searches, to include (to professional standard) citations and bibliographies in their work and to plan, organise and produce presentations and essays.

(S7) Students will enhance their oral and written communications skills and develop skill in explaining complex material in a precise manner.

(S8) Students will develop their ability to work independently towards enquiry-led research goals.

(S9) Students will develop their ability to quickly identify the most relevant and important information in a text.

(S10) Students will develop their digital fluency through using a variety of technologies and software.

(S11) Students will develop the ability to write to a professional standard, using word-processing software.

(S12) Students will enhance their capacity to participate, in a dispassionate and respectful manner, in debates about controversial and profound matters.

(S13) Students will develop their willingness critically to evaluate and reflect upon arguments, beliefs, proposals and values, both their own and those of others.

(S14) Through developing their analytical and critical skills and observing good standards of academic practice, students will develop their intellectual honesty.

(S15) Students will develop their ability to consider the real world application of the views, positions and arguments discussed.



The philosophical topics covered will be: animal ethics, lying and bullshit (epistemology), and aesthetics in continuous 3-4 week blocks. Readings provided complement, but do not overlap with readings on other modules offered at this level by the Department in the same year of presentation. Students will be expected to read one article/ extract per week (provided online via the module reading list) and come to seminars prepared to discuss what they have read. They will be given a few questions each week to assist and guide their reading. Students are also expected to conduct some secondary research each week (provided online and at the Library via the module reading list, organised into ‘background’ to aid understanding, and ‘further’ to develop and further knowledge). Three podcasts will be available on VITAL to introduce students to each of the three topics. The lectures will be devoted to teaching essential skills, and will cover topics such as:

How to approach reading philosophical texts, in their varying forms.
How to identify, summarise and evaluate arguments.
How to be a successful presenter.
How to conduct positive and fruitful philosophical discussions.
How to write well-structured, fully relevant philosophy essays.
How to identify relevant secondary literature, and to evaluate and use online resources.
How to use the Harvard referencing system.
How to use feedback to approach future work.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching Method 1 - Lecture
Description: Starting in week 1. Each lecture involves a stream captured PowerPoint presentation and video. Lectures require students to actively engage with their learning through discussions, question & answer time, exercises and activities (some of these make use of various technologies such as mentimeter, thus contributing to students’ digital fluency). The lectures focus on essential study skills – reading, writing, presenting, discussing, learning from feedback. Examples used in lectures to illustrate these skills come from the topics and readings covered in the seminars. Lectures also provide a guiding framework for enquiry-led, independent research.
Attendance Recorded: Yes
Notes: 11 x 50 minute lectures, starting in Week 1.

With hybrid/online teaching, lectures will be asynchronous and online only. They will consist of short presentations by the lecturer (eg video powerpoint presentation with subtitles) followe d
by a learning exercise which should take 15-20 minutes, followed by another presentation by the lecturer.

Teaching Method 2 - Seminar
Description: Starting in week 1 where students discuss the readings in small groups, facilitated by a seminar leader. The aim of the seminar is for students to put into practice the skills they have learnt during lectures. Seminars thus offer opportunities for students to respond to tutor- and peer-set questions, deepen understanding, apply ideas, develop arguments and build confidence through large and small group discussion. Two of the eleven seminars will involve a formative assessment task. In the first, students will work in groups of approx. 4 to produce a poster presentation of the topic/ reading for that week. The focus will be on clear, accurate, relevant descriptions (in preparation for the first assessed assignment). The second formative assessment will be an enquiry-led debate. Students will be given time to prepare for the d ebate in the seminar, and the focus will be on engaging with and presenting arguments (in preparation for the second assessed assignment). Seminar leaders will email general feedback to the group after the session (what went well, tips on how to improve, further resources etc). The emphasis is on students discussing the topic and reading material, facilitated and guided by a seminar leader. Students are given questions to help guide their reading before each seminar.
Attendance Recorded: Yes
Notes: 11 x 50 minute seminars, starting in Week 1.

If seminars need to be online, they will be synchronous and will involve students being allocated to smaller groups within the seminar to start with, to carry out a learning exercise/ discussion. Then the groups will report back through a general ‘chat’ using online platform functionality.

Teaching Method 3 - Podcast
Description: Three podcasts introducing the three seminar topics will be available on VITAL f or students to listen to and revisit whenever they choose. The aim of these podcasts is to provide students with some background information about the topics and readings.
Attendance recorded: No
Notes: Each podcast will be approx. 1 hour, and students can listen to them as often as they like.

Teaching Method 4 - Workshop
Description: 1 x 2 hour workshop on research skills provided by the library. 30-60 minutes (2020/21).
Attendance Recorded: No
Notes: The aim of the workshop is to prepare students for independent and enquiry-led research.

In hybrid/online, this will be delivered asynchronously with the opportunity for a synchronous Q&A chat.

Self-Directed Learning:
Independent study consists of: study of the set reading; further independent research; executive summary and essay preparation; reflection on the feedback provided by markers on assessed work and formative assignments; use of online support materials.

There will be further opportunities for self-directed learning in the case of hybrid/online teaching through the learning exercises provided within lectures and seminars.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 11



Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 126


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Assessment 4 - Small group, in-seminar poster presentation Reassessment opportunity: No         
Assessment 5 - Debate Reassessment opportunity: No         
Assessment 3 - Essay Reassessment Opportunity: There is a resit opportunity. Anonymous assessment: Yes Penalty for late submission: Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission.    60       
Assessment 2 - Executive Summary Reassessment Opportunity: There is a resit opportunity. Anonymous assessment: Yes Penalty for late submission: Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission.    30       
Assessment 1 - Seminar Participation Reassessment Opportunity: Yes - 750 word report Duration/size: Participation during the 11 x 1 hour scheduled seminars (excluding week 1)    10       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.