Full time 12 Month(s), Part time 24 Month(s)
This flexible programme allows you to pursue and develop your interests across the whole range of philosophy. It builds on a core module, which introduces you to central disciplinary skills and knowledge, with choice from a wide range of optional modules in the various sub-disciplines.
You will take five taught modules each assessed by a 5,000 word essay. Your modules will be taught in groups, or by one-to-one supervision. The programme culminates in the writing of a 20,000-word dissertation in a subject area of your own choosing.
The flexibility of the programme means that it would suit your needs whether you intend to go on to a PhD, are stepping into philosophy from another discipline, or simply want to deepen your understanding of the subject to develop your career.
You will study a range of modules as part of your course, some examples of which are listed below.
Philosophy is a various and contested discipline, about which we can and should ask metaphilosophical questions: What is philosophy? How ought we to go about doing it? What is its purpose or value? What kinds of knowledge does it produce? What is the relation between it and other disciplines, e.g. literary criticism, history, psychology? Or between it and other forms of writing, e.g. poetry, fiction, political rhetoric? Is philosophy as currently practiced in Anglo-American universities problematically Western or male? Is university philosophy real philosophy?
The aims of this team-taught module are (1) to give students a tasting menu of some of the topics and approaches of contemporary professional philosophy as done here at Lancaster, and (2) to help students to reflect on metaphilosophical questions, both in the discipline and in their own practice.
Apart from the introductory week 1, the module has three parts: Part A (weeks 2-5) consists of short talks by philosophy staff on their current research and on the metaphilosophical issues it raises, followed by moderated discussion. Part B (weeks 6-8) consists of close reading and discussion of a classic, opinionated introduction to philosophical ethics and to its metaphilosophy: Bernard Williams’s Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy. For MA Philosophy students, this part also counts as the disciplinary segment of PPR400 Theories & Methods. Part C (weeks 9-10) will be taken up with work and presentation on essays in progress.
David Edmunds, Nigel Warburton, et al., ‘What is Philosophy?’, Philosophy Bites podcast, http://philosophybites.com/2010/11/what-is-philosophy.html Genevieve Lloyd, The Man of Reason (2nd edn, Routledge 1993)G. E. R. Lloyd, Disciplines in the Making: cross-cultural perspectives on elites, learning, and innovation (Oxford University Press 2009): chapter 1Sarah A. Mattice, Metaphor and Metaphilosophy: philosophy as combat, play, and aesthetic experience (Lexington Books 2014)Soren Overgaard, Paul Gilbert, & Stephen Burwood, An Introduction to Metaphilosophy (Cambridge University Press 2013)Nicholas Rescher, Metaphilosophy: philosophy in philosophical perspective (Lexington Books 2014)Richard Rorty, Philosophy and Social Hope (Penguin 1999)Timothy Williamson, The Philosophy of Philosophy (Blackwell 2007)
You can get a sense of the range and style of contemporary Anglo-American professional philosophy by browsing the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online, http://plato.stanford.edu/
The module involves the negotiation, design and delivery of a research project whose precise topic will be determined by the student and the project supervisor.
The dissertation will be 20,000 words in length and is designed to provide students with the opportunity to consolidate their existing knowledge and skills base while developing new knowledge and skills made possible by its project-orientated nature.
The module serves to consolidate postgraduate research and learning support by providing opportunity for students to engage theories, methods and skills of direct relevance to their studies. The module is core for all PPR PGT students and complements core subject and discipline-specific module provision. The first five sessions of the module treat generic theories, methods and skills relating to postgraduate study and research. The next three sessions are given over to subject-specific input which is delivered separately by disciplinary specialists. The contents of these three sessions will be determined relative to discipline-specific needs. The final two sessions are dedicated to workshop discussions and presentations in respect of student projects.
· The academic research process. · Project planning, design and process management. · Ethics in postgraduate research. · Resource identification and review processes. · Data acquisition techniques and issues. · Analytical and interpretative approaches. · Academic conventions (e.g. making an argument, writing, referencing). · Subject specific methods and skills. · Workshop discussions and project planning presentations.
Cooley, L. 2003. Dissertation Writing in Practice. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Creswell, J. 2003. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Thousand Oaks: Sage. Grix, J. 2010. The Foundations of Research. 2nd ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Locke, L. F., Silverman, S. J., and Wyrick Spirduso, W. 2004. Reading and Understanding Research. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage. McMillan, K. 2011. Study Skills for International Students. Harlow: Prentice Hall, 2011. Potter, S. (ed.) 2006. Doing Postgraduate Research. 2nd ed. London: Sage. Preece, R. A. 1994 Starting Research: an Introduction to Academic Research. London: Pinter Publishers. Thody, A. 2006. Writing and Presenting Research. London: Sage. Walliman, N. 2005. Your Research Project. 2nd ed. London: Sage. Welsh, J. 1979 The First Year of Postgraduate Research Study. Guildford: Society for Research into Higher Education. Wilkinson, D. 2005. The Essential Guide to Postgraduate Study. London: Sage. Wisker, G. 2008. The Postgraduate Research Handbook. 2nd ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
This module critically focuses on three interconnected concepts—autonomy, paternalism and consent—that are of key importance for ethics, political philosophy and applied philosophy, and that are the focus of wide discussion in moral psychology and philosophy of mind. In the first couple of weeks be begin by looking at the notion of liberty (some senses of “autonomy”, as we shall see, are pretty much the same as “liberty”) and then raise some puzzles about how we should best characterize “personal autonomy”. Weeks 3-5 focus on different ways that autonomy can be undermined, with or without the knowledge of the agent herself. In weeks 6 and 7 we turn to a distinctive kind of restriction on autonomy: paternalistic actions (or policies) restrict agents’ autonomy for the agents’ own interests. Paternalism is a particular problem in medicine because doctors may know a lot more about a patient’s best medical interests than the patient herself. Traditionally this has underpinned a practice of medical deception. In week 8 we turn to informed consent as a “solution” to the problem of medical paternalism: informed consent requirements oblige doctors to disclose information about risks and benefits of treatments (and non-treatment), so that patients can make their own decisions. In biomedical ethics this is standardly justified by appeal to a principle of: respect for autonomy. In week 9 we end up with an interesting contemporary development in discussions of paternalism. Libertarians in political philosophy are people who give a very high value to individual liberty and autonomy. Libertarians are typically opposed to state policies which seek to protect individuals’ best interests. Is there scope for a “libertarian paternalism”? The final week is an essay outline presentation and discussion session.
1. Liberty and autonomy – why are they important?
2. Personal autonomy: how and when are we autonomous?
3. Autonomy undermined 1: addiction
4. Autonomy undermined 2: oppressive socialization
5. Autonomy undermined 3: advertising
6. Paternalism: overriding autonomy for the agent’s own good
7. Medical paternalism and medical deception
8. Informed consent
9. Nudge? Libertarian paternalism
10. ESSAY OUTLINE PRESENTATION WEEK
A detailed handbook with reading lists, study questions and suggested essay questions, will be provided at the first session.
Tutorial rather than lecture or seminar based, this module provides opportunity to undertake a concentrated and focussed study of a topic, theme or subject which is of interest to the student and for which appropriate supervisory coverage and academic resourcing are available. Student learning is facilitated by five hours of tutorial support.
The subject specialist tutor who supervises the student will: • advise on whether the student’s planned area of research is appropriate • give guidance regarding the nature and format of the essay• give guidance on the planning of the essay• give feedback on a draft of the essay provided by the student
The student will: • formulate a topic as a clearly defined research problem• produce a reading list of relevant literature• produce the outline/early draft of an essay on the basis of the research for comments by the supervisor
Assessment is a 5,000 word essay.
The aim of this module is to develop the skills and virtues of a postgraduate-level philosopher and scholar of philosophy, by guided practice in close reading and reasoned discussion of selected works in moral, political, and social philosophy. No attempt at broad survey will be made. The module will instead be run as a reading group on a small number of high-quality texts, to be chosen in consultation with those taking it each year. Seminars will be moderated discussions of set reading introduced by a student presentation or by the convenor. Assessment will be by 5,000 word essay on a topic chosen by the individual student and developed in consultation with the convenor.
‘Moral, political, and social philosophy’ will be understood broadly, to cover historical and contemporary philosophical work on topics including, but not limited to: modernity, capitalism, liberalism, and alternative possibilities; the nature of human rights; individuality, community, and cultural difference; political authority and the authority of law; nationhood, borders, and cosmopolitanism; human well¬being; freedom and global unfreedoms; equality and global inequalities; utilitarian, deontological, and virtue ethics; the natures of value, of agency, and of practical rationality.
Possible texts include, for example:
Erik Olin Wright, Envisioning Real Utopias (Verso 2010)Iris Marion Young, Justice & the Politics of Difference (Princeton University Press 2011)Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, Democracy & Capitalism (Basic Books 1986)Elizabeth Anderson, Value in Ethics and Economics (Harvard University Press 1993)James Griffin, Well-Being (Clarendon Press 1986)Peter Railton, Facts, Values, and Norms (Cambridge University Press 2003)Martha Nussbaum, The Fragility of Goodness (Cambridge University Press 1986)Christine M. Korsgaard et al., The Sources of Normativity (Cambridge University Press 1996)Joseph Raz, The Morality of Freedom (Clarendon Press 1986)Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self (Cambridge University Press 1989)J. David Velleman, The Possibility of Practical Reason (Oxford University Press 2000)Nomy Arpaly, Unprincipled Virtue (Oxford University Press 2003)Bernard Williams, Shame and Necessity (University of California Press 1994)Thomas Pogge, World Poverty and Human Rights (Polity Press 2002)Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom (Oxford University Press 1999)
This module will involve an in depth study of a number of contemporary debates in the philosophy of mental disorder. Topics will vary from year to year, but may include the following:• What is mental disorder? Students will be introduced to some of the key accounts of mental disorder: What is the relationship between evolutionary dysfunction and disorder? Are disorders necessarily harmful?• Antipsychiatry/ postpsychiatry - The antipsychiatrists (and more recently postpsychiatrists) argue that the very concept of mental disorder is dubious. Are mental disorders substantially like physical disorders? Or, do diagnoses of "mental disorder" simply label behaviour that is unusual, socially stigmatised, or bad?• Classification - Are mental disorders "natural kinds"? To what extent are values involved in the construction of psychiatric classifications?• Conceptualising cultural variations - Do mental disorders vary from culture to culture? Would cultural variation mean that a disorder is less "real"?• Realism and constructionism about mental disorder - What does it mean to say that a disorder is real or constructed?• Meaning and the limits of reduction - Can symptoms be reduced to faulty brain states? Or, do symptoms such as "delusion" resist reduction?• Responsibility and disorder - Are those with mental disorders responsible for their actions? Are psychopaths ill or simply evil?• Identity and mental disorder - Can a disorder be central to someone's identity?• Values in psychiatric reseach - In what ways is research in psychiatry value-laden? What are the advantages of user-led research?
Bolton, D. (2008). What is mental disorder?: an essay in philosophy, science, and values. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Bolton, D. & J. Hill (1996) Mind, Meaning and Mental Disorder.Oxford: Oxford University Press.Bracken, P., & Thomas, P. (2005). Postpsychiatry: mental health in a postmodern world. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Cooper, R. (2005) Classifying Madness. Dordrcht: Springer.Cooper, R (2007) Psychiatry and Philosophy of Science. Stocksfield: Acumen.Foucault, M. (1988). Madness and civilization: A history of insanity in the age of reason. LLC:Random HouseGlover, J. (2014). Alien Landscapes?: Interpreting Disordered Minds. Harvard: Harvard University Press.Hacking, I. “Making up people” pp99-114 in Hacking (2002) Historical Ontology. Harvard: Harvard Uuniversity Press.Murphy, D. (2006). Psychiatry in the scientific image. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Szasz, T. (1960) The myth of mental illness American Psychologist, 15, 113-118.Wakefield, J. (1992) The concept of mental disorder - On the boundary between biological facts and social value. American Psychologist. 47, 373-388. Zachar, P. (2014). A metaphysics of psychopathology. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.
The concept of spirituality is a powerful analytic tool when it comes to the examination of various binaries in Western culture: the sacred and the secular, society and the individual, authority and the subject, the this-worldly and the other-worldly. In some instances, 'spirituality' as a form of life emphasizes the shift in importance from one to the other elements of binary sets (from institutional authority to the subject); in others, it even challenges the binary (between this- and other-worldly concerns). This module seeks to bring the insights and disciplines of Asian (and other) studies to bear on the theories that arose in Western contexts. In this way, a richer, global understanding of paradigms, trends and presuppositions can emerge in the study of spirituality and its relationship to religion, society, secularism, modernity and other conceptual categories. The module will look at experiences of Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist and Shinto (amongst other) traditions in order to query the binaries mentioned above in very different, complementary and sometimes incompatible ways relative to those familiar to the Western, (post-)Christian experience. The major topics will be: Situating the concepts of religion and spirituality in Asian traditions; Practical Spirituality: asking for this world; Practical Spirituality and Pilgrimage; Possession: healing beyond mind/body dualisms; Possession: class, religious and gender identities; The Goddess: What has She done for women?; Sexing spirituality: and Hindu women's rituals; Religion, Spirituality and the environment. There will be weeks given over to student presentations and discussions.
Upon successful completion of the module, the student will have gained knowledge of the relevance of the concept of 'spirituality' in Asian religious and cultural traditions; explored various theoretical and empirical strategies in the study of Asian spiritualities; and learnt to study spirituality in Asian traditions in terms suited to and derived from their native contexts.
Alter, Joseph. 2004. Yoga in Modern India: The Body Between Science and Philosophy. Princeton: PUP
Davdal, Sonal (ed.). 2006 Looking for directions: Towards an Asian spirituality, Sutton: South Asian Concern
Ghadially, R. (ed.) . 1988. Women in Indian Society: A Reader. New Delhi: Sage Publications
Gosling, D.L. 2001. Religion and ecology in India and South East Asian. London: Routledge
Obeyesekere, G. 1981. Medusa's Hair. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
Pintchman, Tracy. 1994. The rise of the Goddess in the Hindu tradition. Albany: State University of New York Press
Ramaswamy, Vijaya. 1997. Walking naked: women, society, spirituality in South India. Shimla: Indian Institute of Advanced Study
Reader, I. and George Tanabe. 1998. Practically religious: worldly benefits and the common religion of Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press
The module examines the problems posed by human co-existence, specifically with regard to divergent understandings of how we should live and how we should see or describe ourselves. The module begins by examining the notion of cultural conflict and highlighting the cultural aspects of historical and contemporary disputes. This leads into a discussion of the history of toleration as a response to cultural conflict, highlighting historical sources of toleration and co-existence in a range of different areas and regions. Building on this notion of traditions of toleration, the module then examines and problematizes the shift in conceptions of toleration, away from the notion of toleration as inaction in the face of vehement objection towards the notion of toleration as acceptance or affirmation.
This theoretical work leads into the applied element of the module, in which five topical case studies are examined: i) groups, identities and states, with regard to labelling of places, such as Derry/Londonderry and Falklands/Las Malvinas; ii) health, ‘socialised’ healthcare and narcotics in the US; iii) public displays of sexuality, through the examples of the prosecution of Oscar Wilde and the practice of bacha bazi in Afghanistan; iv) bodily autonomy, through examination of the place of male and female genital cutting in Western public discourse and v) blasphemy, explored through the public debate on the Danish Mohammad cartoons and Jerry Springer the Opera.
Examination of these cases will lead into the final week of the course in which the limits of toleration will be discussed and possible policy instruments by which conflicts may be managed outlined.
Select bibliography There is no one single text for this module. However, there will be at least three key readings for each session. These will be made available on Moodle. One key reference text for the module is: Forst, R. (2012) ‘Toleration’, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, E. N. Zalta (ed.), <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2012/entries/toleration/>. Audio material: The Open University’s Multiculturalism Bites contains relevant contributions by Tariq Modood, Will Kymlicka, Martha Nussbaum, Nancy Fraser, Anne Phillips, and Susan Mendus: http://itunes.apple.com/itunes-u/multiculturalism-bites-audio/id449122394. These recordings are free to access, but require iTunes software, which is free to download. Video material: A number of videos will be used as stimuli throughout the course. These will include Cracks in the Mask, which is a documentary about contestation of cultural goods, and ‘It Gets Better’, a youtube video project attempting to curtail the number of suicides among gay teenagers.
This special subject focuses on feminist philosophy, aiming to take participants' knowledge of feminist philosophy and skills in philosophising to advanced levels, led by a tutor who has an active research interest in the topic being considered.
Every year the department runs several Special Subject modules in philosophy, in which students engage in depth with research topics chosen by individual members of staff. These modules offer an opportunity to work on cutting-edge philosophy, in a small group, under the guidance of a subject expert. They are open both to final-year undergraduate students and to MA students (under different codes for administrative purposes).
Special Subject classes are run as seminars or reading groups: the tutor convenes the group, sets reading, and guides discussion, but does not lecture; students are expected to be active, selfdirected,and well-prepared participants.
Depending on student numbers and timetables, MA students may either take seminars with undergraduates or in their own separate groups. MA students also have their own, further meetings with the module tutor.MA students' assessed work for this module will be marked at the appropriate level, distinct from and higher than undergraduates' assessed work, and requiring a greater degree of depth, independence, and knowledge of the appropriate philosophical literature. Guidance will be provided.
This module will examine philosophical accounts of the imagination. It will look at theories of the nature of the imagination and its connections to other mental states, such as attention, emotion, memory, beliefs, intentions, and desires.
In addition, a range of topics focusing on the role of imagining in a number of different domains will also be explored, including moral judgement, practical reasoning, perception, pictorial experience, and modal thought.
Every year the department runs several Special Subject modules in philosophy, in which students engage in depth with research topics chosen by individual members of staff. These modules offer an opportunity to work on cutting-edge philosophy, in a small group, under the guidance of a subject expert. They are open both to finalyear undergraduate students and to MA students (under different codes for administrative purposes).Special Subject classes are run as seminars or reading groups: the tutor convenes the group, sets reading, and guides discussion, but does not lecture; students are expected to be active, selfdirected,and well-prepared participants.
This course will examine some of the core philosophical questions raised by warfare and conflict. We will look at the ethics of war and killing, but also at more neglected philosophical issues in this area, and non-Westernapproaches as well as classic texts in the Western tradition.
We will do so by examining some of the central dilemmas faced by soldiers, policy makers and non-combatants, in the form of a weekly question for discussion. These questions include: Can war be beautiful? When, if ever, should we go to war? What counts as legitimate action in war? What, if anything, do we owe to our enemies? Is soldiering a good life? What does technological development mean for warfare? What should a responsible citizen do when their country is, or looks about to be, at war? Who has the epistemic authority to speak about war? Is war always tragic?
Every year the department runs several Special Subject modules in philosophy, in which students engage in depth with research topics chosen by individual members of staff. These modules offer an opportunity to work on cutting edge philosophy, in a small group, under the guidance of a subject expert. They are open both to final-year undergraduate students and to MA students (under different codes for administrative purposes).
Special Subject classes are run as seminars or reading groups: the tutor convenes the group, sets reading, and guides discussion, but does not lecture; students are expected to be active, selfdirected, and well-prepared participants.
Behaviour, (Hoover, 1993)
What moral obligations do we have towards future generations -to those yet to be born, and to people whose very existence (or non-existence) depends on how we act now?
This module explores this question by examining both a series of practical case studies and some of the main concepts and theories philosophers use when thinking about these issues.
Questions considered include, among a range of others:
How should we weigh quality against quantity of life?
Ought we to try significantly to extend the human lifespan (to 150 years or beyond)?
Is there a moral obligation to refrain from having children, or one to have (more) children?
Should we use selection techniques to minimise the incidence of genetic disorders and disabilities in future populations? Should parents be allowed to determine the genetic characteristics of their future children?
How should the interests of non-human creatures be weighed against those of humans? How strong are our moral obligations to prevent extinctions, and to preserve wildernesses?
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
Duration: 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time.
Entry requirements: An upper second class honours degree, or its equivalent.
IELTS: 6.5 or equivalent.
Assessment: Coursework and dissertation.
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