Philosophy Independent Project
This unit enables students to undertake independent work to produce a philosophical dissertation/project on a topic of their choosing in the wide area of philosophy. 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. Dissertations are highly valued by employers, as students here demonstrate the ability to work independently and individually motivated, bringing together information from various sources and synthesising these into a coherent piece of work.
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", a book more influential than any other. Without Hegel it is difficult to understand any thought after 1807. Marxism, Psychology, Sociology – and the Second World War are unthinkable without Hegel’s work. We will especially be looking at the question of consciousness and self-consciousness, at the famous master-slave dialectic and, finally, at the historical existence of our human spirit.
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. Why was it that philosophy up to the middle of the 19thcentury never really discussed this problem, while the 20thhas brought forth many thinkers who speak of embodied perception and the embodied mind, thereby situating us in the world of everyday action.
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.
Theism and Paganism: Philosophy of Religion II
In this unit you will investigate advanced topics in the Philosophy of Religion. You will draw out the historical development of philosophical and theological thought, especially on the background of Plato’s, Leibniz’, Spinoza’s and Schelling’s thought, while then moving on to contemporary problems of the development of atheism and the theological response to these challenges. What are the problems confronting theology and faith in an age after Nietzsche’s proclamation that ‘God is Dead’? How do other religions, like Buddhism, for example, see the crisis of European Civilization?
Key Themes in the Analytic Tradition
This course will explore some of the key developments in twentieth century analytic philosophy, with particular reference to the philosophy of language.
Philosophy of Literature
An analysis of the key concepts of twentieth century linguistics and the philosophical study of literature and language. This unit introduces students to the cornerstones of contemporary linguistics and the 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 Education
This unit has been especially developed to further the career of those of our students who are thinking about taking up a career in teaching in schools, might these be primary or secondary schools or college. The course will provide an in-depth investigation into the idea of education as it has developed over the ages, but brought into perspective by the influential educationalist John Dewey. Starting from this basis, students will apply what they have learned to the practice of education: They will discuss the practice of teaching and develop a teaching plan for and the delivery of a session in a school more or less within Greater Manchester. Students will deliver these sessions supervised by a member of Manchester Met staff, presenting their experience to their fellow students back at university in form of a presentation.
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.
Heidegger and the Crisis of Philosophy
The unit provides a reading of a key passages of the most influential book of twentieth century philosophy: Heidegger's 'Being and Time'. This unit will concern itself with a careful interpretation of Martin Heidegger's philosophy developed in this work from 1927. Students will discover the intricacies of a philosophical argument which investigates into the question of everyday life and they will come to understand why this work was praised as a renewal of philosophy, reengaging with the fundamental problems of human existence in its questioning of life, death and moral existence.
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 onwards, bears the title "aesthetics".