What is Philosophy? Methods, Aims, Debates

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 module are (1) to give you a taste of some of the topics and approaches of contemporary professional philosophy as done here at Lancaster, and (2) to help you to reflect on metaphilosophical questions, both in the discipline and in your own practice.

This module will usually comprise of three parts: