IPP 508: Nature in Romantic and European Thought

AWAYMAVE - The Distance Mode of MA in Values and the Environment at Lancaster University


The assessment for this module is based on either
1 long essay of 5,000 words or
1 essay of 3,500 words and a portfolio of discussion site contributions

If you would like feedback on an essay plan please send it to me in plenty of time for you to make use of the comments.

Please note there is a penalty of 5 marks for work that is seriously overlength (seriously overlength is defined as more than 10% longer than the maximum or guidline length).


Essay questions

You may choose to write your essay (5000 words) on one of the following topics, or you may propose an alternative essay title of your own (which might arise out of one of the questions from the individual blocks).

Essay titles are:

(1) Is nature socially constructed? If so, in what way? If not, why not?

(2) Why does Kant think that we must regard nature as if it were purposive? What does he mean by this claim?

(3) Critically discuss, with reference to the work of Schlegel, how the German Romantics aimed to 're-enchant' nature.

(4) How does Hölderlin conceive of the relationship between humanity and nature? What is the contemporary relevance of this conception?

(5) What does Hegel understand by the project of a 'philosophy of nature'? What if anything is of value today in this project?

(6) Critically explain how Hegel's account of animals reflects his broader approach to understanding nature.

(7) What implications, if any, does Nietzsche's theory of will to power have for environmental ethics?

(8) What role does the concept of nature play in Nietzsche's thinking of the Übermensch?

(9) How does Heidegger understand the distinction between artefacts and natural beings? How important is this distinction?

(10)Critically explain Heidegger's claim that physis 'loves to hide'.

As with most modules if none of the titles suit your your particular interests you can devise your own title as long as you check with me (Alison) first.


Discussion is an invaluable tool in philosophy - it enables collaborative learning, sharing different perspectives in relation to the course material and an opportunity to express your own critical views.
An essential dimension of discussion for distance learners is the web-based discussion-site. Home students are taking the course at the same time, and following the same course material, so we encourage all students to join in on the discussion. All students on this module, and any MAVE module, will have a user password for the MAVE web based discussion site. You can reach this site from the IEPPP home page or go to: http://ktru-main.lancs.ac.uk/PHLSPHY/MAVE1999.nsf.
In each block, you will be asked to send a contribution to the discussion site. This is usually in response to one of the discussion questions or exercises. If you choose, your discussion-site contributions may count toward your assessment for this course.

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