Manchester Metropolitan University

BA (Hons)

Environment, Technology & Philosophy

2017 entry

Features and benefits of the course

  • You will be able to study philosophy on its own or in combination with another subject (psychology, politics, international politics, sociology, or english).
  • Our philosophy degree was graded as excellent in the most recent teaching quality audit.
  • Our focus is teaching. We have gained excellent results - some of the best in the country in the National Student Survey.
  • The philosophy team is friendly, supportive, and passionate about the subject. Together they provide a stimulating environment for new students of philosophy.
  • The department places a strong emphasis on embedding key employability skills, for example in information technology, communication, and team working.

About the course

This course is available in three pathways:
• Philosophy
• Environment, Technology and Philosophy
• Ethics, Religion and Philosophy, which concentrates on ethical values and the philosophy of religion, reflecting on Nietzsche's famous dictum that God is Dead and the contemporary problem of the relation between science and religion.

The three pathways share a common first year.

Typical units of study may include

Year 1

Year 1 consists of four core units, designed to initiate you with the activity of philosophising, to acquaint you with the activity of reading original texts, and to introduce you to a range of basic themes and concepts in the tradition of philosophy - including ethics, and metaphysics.

  • Death, God and the Meaning of Life
  • Ethics and Social Philosophy
  • Introduction to the History of Philosophy
  • Mind, Reason and Reality

Core Units
Death, God and the Meaning of Life

This unit begins with early philosophical thought on religion and the importance of our awareness of our own death, in order to see how this has been received by contemporary philosophy. This will help develop your understanding of the centrality of ethical and religious thought today, including where we place our hope in the progress of the natural sciences. You will study texts by Plato, St. Anselm, Camus, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Freud, Sartre, de Beauvoir and Arendt, among others. 

Ethics and Social Philosophy
This unit will introduce you to some significant theories in the history of moral philosophy and examples of their application in practical situations. You will study the origins of moral philosophy in the Greek world and go on to look at the scope of the moral, presuppositions of morality, the nature of the good, Kant, the possibility of perfection, ethical issues in equality, practical ethics, and individual liberty and social obligation.
Introduction to the History of Philosophy

The unit introduces some of the major issues in the philosophical tradition via the work of some of its most celebrated authors, such as Plato, Aristotle, and Descartes. The issues covered are: what it is to be human, what philosophy is, what thought is, what is true and what is real, and the nature and extent of the knowledge of reality that the mind can acquire.

Mind, Reason and Reality
This unit will provide you with an introduction to logic, and to fundamental issues in epistemology and metaphysics on the basis of readings of Early Modern philosophical texts. The first half of the unit aims to provide you with a grounding in critical thinking and elementary symbolic logic, whilst the second half is concerned with fundamental problems relating to the nature of knowledge and reality, such as the 'problem of the reality of external world' and the 'mind-body problem'.

Year 2

The core units, which you will study in Year 2, will develop the themes from Year 1, focusing on the study of particular philosophical texts in the tradition of European philosophy. You will also have the opportunity to choose from a range of optional themed course units, for example, Nietzsche and Sartre, phenomenology and virtues and values.

  • Metaphysics
  • Science, Technology and the Environment

Option units:

  • Engaging the HUmanities
  • Greek Philosophy: The Presocratics, Plato and Aristotle
  • Nietzsche and Sartre
  • Phenomenology
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Virtues and Values

Core Units
Metaphysics

This unit will address fundamental issues in metaphysics on the basis of key texts in Early Modern Philosophy. It aims to provide you with a thorough grounding in the central philosophical area of Metaphysics by means of in depth study of the key issues and key thinkers of the Early Modern period.

Science, Technology and the Environment

This unit examines the philosophical concepts behind debates over the role of science and technology in relation to ecological change, examining seminal ideas about what nature, science and technology are. It is increasingly acknowledged that human actions and inventions are playing a crucial role in shaping the earth's eco-systems. Advances in science and technology are seen both as having caused the accelerating degradation of the environment and as providing the chief means of responding to imminent ecological catastrophes. This unit will enable a critical assessment of such claims by identifying their underlying philosophical assumptions. The unit comprises three blocks of study: 1) Science and the Idea of Nature; 2) Technology as a Philosophical Question; 3) The Metaphysics of Environmentalism. In the first block students will study the difference between the Ancient Greek and modern ideas of nature, and critically examine the philosophical rationale behind the modern, enlightenment project of mastering nature through knowledge. The second block will be devoted to the examination of various philosophical concepts of technology. The third block will consider the metaphysical and ontological foundations of contemporary environmentalism, and critically examine its assessment of the uses and abuses of science and technology.

Likely Optional Units
Engaging the Humanities and Social Science: Interdisciplinary Learning and Practice

This is an innovative cross-departmental unit which provides an opportunity to work in an interdisciplinary context alongside other students from a range of undergraduate programmes within Humanities, Languages & Social Science. 

Greek Philosophy: The Pre-Socratics, Plato and Aristotle

An examination of the origins and early development of key philosophical concepts, themes and problems in the work of the first philosophers. The work of the first Greek philosophers established the basis on which all subsequent scientific enquiry and political theory within the Western tradition rests and it has thereby had a fundamental influence on the historical development of our world. This unit offers students the opportunity to study the origins of both political philosophy and metaphysical enquiry. It shows how the philosophies of Plato and Aristotle, the two greatest Greek philosophers, emerges from a critical engagement with their immediate predecessors (the Pre-Socratics and the Sophists), simultaneously making more precise and narrowing down the enquiries of the earliest Greek thinkers into nature, culture and the human beings relation to both. The course begins with the writings of the earliest Greek thinkers (the `Pre-Socratics'), who, according to Aristotle, in their enquiries into nature, posed the most fundamental of all philosophical questions, the question of what there is. We will next look at the sophists who turned away from the investigation of nature, and instead concentrated on exclusively human affairs, developing the first political theory and philosophy of language. The theories of the sophists concerning politics and language, and the Presocratics' accounts of `what is' will then be used to illuminate Plato's major philosophical work, The Republic, showing how the theories Plato advances concerning truth, reality and knowledge develop the Pre-Socratics' enquiries into nature, and how these epistemological and ontological theories feed Plato's conception of an ideal society, which is fundamentally opposed to the political ideas and practices of the sophists.

Nietzsche and Sartre
This unit allows you to study two of the major thinkers of the last two centuries, improving the understanding of each through comparison with the other, unhindered by the difference in style and content. The first term of this unit investigates the revolutionary impact of Nietzsche's thinking on the history of philosophy. The second part will concern itself with the existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre through the reading of "Being and Nothingness".
Phenomenology
The key question of this unit is: what is phenomenology? and, as a follow up question: what challenge does it pose to customary divisions of philosophy into questionings of fact and of value; of being and of existing; of individuality and collectivity. In the first term, the focus for discussion will be the re-invention of phenomenology by Edmund Husserl (1859-1938); in the second term the challenge posed to his thought by Emmanuel Lévinas (1906-1996) will be discussed.
Philosophy of Religion

This unit introduces students to various core topics and themes in the philosophy of religion. As well as looking at several classical arguments for the existence of God, such as the cosmological argument and the teleological argument, we will explore other central issues in the philosophy of religion, such as whether it is possible to reconcile a belief in God with the existence of suffering in the world, through the associated projects of defence and theodicy. Other key topics to be covered may include: the nature of God and the divine attributes, the rationality of faith, religious experience, pluralism, the place of religion in life.

Virtues and Values

This unit focuses on key areas and themes in moral philosophy, topics in normative and practical ethics from a historical and contemporary perspective. The first term begins with a survey and critical re-assessment of the distinction between consequentialism and deontology in ethical theory, before moving on to examining the alternative approach of virtue ethics in Aristotle's 'Nicomachean Ethics'. The second term will focus on key issues in environmental ethics, the normative and practical implication of Global Justice and the Market. Topics to be studies include the notion of intrinsic value and the extent of its application to nature and conservation of biodiversity, ecological feminism and environmental sustainability. The unit concludes by examining the demandingness of morality in the face of world poverty, and will critically examine notions such as 'freedom' and 'neutrality' in relation to the liberalist conception of the Market. Throughout the unit emphasis will be placed on developing the critical, analytical and conceptual skills needed both to comprehend the complexity of ethical debates in the modern world and to engage with them.

Year 3

Year 3 allows you to develop through independent work via a dissertation of your choice. Additionally, there are various optional units available, which allow you to pursue your particular interests, whether in the form of specialist authors like Heidegger or Wittgenstein, or thematic options like aesthetics, philosophy of the body, and philosophy of literature.

  • Dissertation
  • Green Politics

Option units

  • Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art
  • Bioethics and Moral Dilemmas
  • Philosophy of the Body
  • Kant and Hegel
  • Philosophy of Literature
  • Mind and Action

Core Units
Ethics, Religion and Philosophy Independent Project

This unit enables students to undertake independent work to produce a philosophical dissertationproject on a topic of their choosing in the area of ethics or philosophy of religion.  The dissertation will focus on a carefully defined area within philosophy based on a student's interests and experience. Students will work with an allocated supervisor but will be expected to engage in independent study and reflection as part of their academic study. Student work is guided by formative deadlines for preparatory investigative work and deadlines for draft written materials.

Green Politics

In this unit you will critically examine the nature of ‘green political theory’ and investigate the variety of contemporary radical approaches to ‘green political thinking’. You will in particular look at Radical Ecology, Anthropo- and Eco-Centrism, Deep Ecology, Anarchist approaches to Ecology, the Gaia Hypothesis and at Eco-socialism. This overview of various strands within ecological thinking will be complemented by guest lectures by contemporary activists and theoreticians.

Likely Optional Units
Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art

This unit provides an approach to central issues in Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art on the basis of readings of key texts from the philosophical tradition. It examines important issues within the philosophy of art and aesthetics from Plato to the present day. It is concerned with how the philosophical tradition has addressed the artwork - in its different forms, such as painting, theatre and music - as an object of reflection, and it will attempt to determine the specificity of the modern mode of reflection on art that traditionally, from the 17th century, bears the title "aesthetics".

Bioethics and Moral Dilemmas

In this unit you will examine advanced issues in bioethics and contemporary moral philosophy. Special emphasis will be placed on the concept of autonomy, feminist ethics and moral particularism in understanding specific moral phenomena such as moral dilemmas, regret and forgiveness. You will also examine issues in medical epistemology such as evidence-based medicine, and consider a more ‘value based’ conception of professional judgement inspired by virtue ethics.

Kant and Hegel

This unit will allow students to study two of the most influential philosophies of the last 250 years, which have both in their own ways influenced our contemporary ideas and understanding of the world. The first term of this unit will be dedicated to the thought of Immanuel Kant. His seminal "Critique of Pure Reason" (1781/87) is undoubtedly one of the most influential works of philosophy ever written. In it Kant seeks to discover the limits of what can be known by reason. The book is renowned for its difficulty as much as it is for containing ideas and approaches that are, even today, considered by philosophers to be of the greatest philosophical importance. An in-depth examination of key parts of this text forms the heart of this part of this unit. The second term will be dedicated to a study of Hegel's "Phenomenology of Spirit", especially looking at the consciousness chapter, the master-slave dialectic and ending in the concrete development of the Greek spirit. 

Mind and Action

What is the mind, and how does it relate to the body? These questions have concerned philosophers for centuries, and this unit begins with a survey of some of the answers proposed. Dualists, like Descartes, claim that there is a sharp distinction between mind and body in that the body is physical while the mind is something non-physical, while mind-brain identity theorists claim that the mind just is the brain. These views will be considered along with rival theories such as epiphenomenalism, biological naturalism, and eliminative materialism. The unit then continues to consider debates about the nature of intentional action and consciousness, and links these debates to issues such as personal identity, machine intelligence and animal consciousness.

Philosophy of Literature
An analysis of the key concepts of twentieth century linguistics and the philosophical study of literature and language. This unit introduces the cornerstones of contemporary linguistics and philosophy of language. Beginning with the influential structuralist linguistic of Ferdinand de Saussure, it goes on to examine from a philosophical perspective the privilege accorded to language in the human sciences in the twentieth century, and explores the ways in which the movements of structuralism, post-structuralism and deconstruction have overturned the traditional understanding of the relation between philosophy and literature, and thus fundamentally shifted philosophy's own understanding of its nature and function.
Philosophy of the Body

This unit covers the study of the significance of the philosophical concern with the body in 20th century continental philosophy, principally through the work of Henri Bergson, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Michel Foucault and Julia Kristeva.

Programme Review

Each programme of study that we offer undergoes an annual review to ensure an up-to-date curriculum supported by the latest online learning technology. In addition, we undertake a major review of the programme, normally at 6-yearly intervals, but this can take place at a more frequent interval where required. Applicants should note that the programme currently provided may be subject to change as a result of the review process. We only make changes where we consider it necessary to do so or where we feel that certain changes are in the best interests of students and to enhance the quality of provision. Occasionally, we have to make changes for reasons outside our control. Where there are changes which may materially affect the current programme content and/or structure, offer holders will be informed.

Methods of Assessment

In-class tests, essays, electronic presentations (e.g. websites), and formal examinations.

Assessment Weightings and Contact Hours

10 credits equates to 100 hours of study, which is a combination of lectures, seminars and practical sessions, and independent study. A 3 year degree qualification typically comprises 360 credits (120 credits per year). The exact composition of your study time and assessments for the course will vary according to your option choices and style of learning, but it could be:

Study
  • Year 1 20% lectures, seminars or similar; 80% independent study
  • Year 2 15% lectures, seminars or similar; 85% independent study
  • Year 3 10% lectures, seminars or similar; 90% independent study
Assessment
  • Year 1 25% practical; 75% examination
  • Year 2 25% practical; 75% examination
  • Year 3 15% coursework; 25% practical; 60% examination
Optional foundation year
  • Study 15% lectures, seminars or similar; 85% independent study
  • Assessment 25% practical; 75% examination

Teaching Staff

Your studies are supported by a team of committed and enthusiastic teachers and researchers, experts in their chosen field. We also work with external professionals, many of whom are Manchester Met alumni, to enhance your learning and appreciation of the wider subject. Details of departmental staff can be found at: http://www2.mmu.ac.uk/hpp/staff/

Typical entry requirements

UCAS Tariff points/Grades required

104-112

Minimum 104 at A2 or equivalent (such as BTEC National Extended Diploma at Level 3 DMM or Advanced Diploma) .

Specific GCSE requirements

GCSE English Language at grade C or grade 4. Equivalent qualifications (eg. Functional Skills) may be considered

Non Tariffed Qualifications

106-112 UCAS Tariff Points from Access to HE Diploma in a relevant subject with at least 45 credits at Level 3

International Baccalaureate points

26

IELTS score required for international students

6.0 with no element below 5.5

There’s further information for international students on our international website if you’re applying with non-UK qualifications.

Your career prospects after the course

Because philosophy teaches you not what to think, but how to think, its study naturally leads to the development of many skills that are highly prized by employers, for example the ability to think clearly, logically, and creatively, to communicate articulately and accurately (both verbally and in writing), and to analyse critically and rigorously.

Hence the study of philosophy will instill a set of valuable and effective skills that will have direct application in virtually any area of employment that you choose to enter.

As was noted in an editorial in The Times, "philosophy is, in commercial jargon, the ultimate 'transferable work skill." Philosophy graduates are all-rounders thoughtful, insightful, and versatile.

For all these reasons they are highly sought after by employers.

Philosophy graduates typically possess a number of important transferable skills, such as:

  •  The ability to analyse problems in a rigorous and multi-dimensional way.
  •  The ability to think creatively, self critically and independently.
  •  Problem-solving skills using both analysis and imagination
  •  Self motivation and self-development.
  •  The ability to work autonomously.
  •  Time and priority management skills.
  •  A flexible mind adaptable to managing change.
  • The ability to question received wisdom and to think 'outside the box'.

Our former students have secured employment in areas as varied as:

  • the fast-track civil service
  • teaching
  • the armed forces intelligence corps
  • publishing
  • recruitment
  • journalism
  • media
  • IT
  • banking
  • charities
  • academic research
  • company management
94%

In 2014, over 94% of our graduates went directly into work or further study within 6 months of graduation

DHLE survey 2014, for all respondents available for employment or further study and whose destinations are known

How do I apply for this course?

Applications through UCAS

Remember to use the correct institution code for Manchester Metropolitan University on your application: our institution code is M40

Open Days

Come and find out more about this course and our facilities at our open days.

Book now for the:

Manchester Open Day Wednesday 21st June

Unistats Information

Find out more about Unistats and the Key Information Set.

Find out more about Unistats and the Key Information Set.

Confirmation of Regulator

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is the principal regulator for the University.

Important Notice

This online prospectus provides an overview of our programmes of study and the University. We regularly update our online prospectus so that our published course information is accurate and up to date. Please note that our programmes are subject to review and development on an ongoing basis. Changes may sometimes be necessary. For example, to comply with the requirements of professional or accrediting bodies or as a result of student feedback or external examiners’ reports. We also need to ensure that our courses are dynamic and current and that the content and structure maintain academic standards and enhance the quality of the student experience.

Please check back to the online prospectus before making an application to us.

The provision of education by the University is subject to terms and conditions of enrollment and contract. The current Terms and Conditions Applicable to the provision of the University’s Educational Services are available online. When a student enrolls with us, their study and registration at the University will be governed by various regulations, policies and procedures. It is important that applicants/students familiarize themselves with our Terms and Conditions and the Key Contract Documents referred to within. Applicants will be provided with access to an up to date version at offer stage. This can be found within the Information for Offer Holders document.

Undergraduate Study