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Throughout the 2021-22 academic year, we will be prioritising face to face teaching as part of a blended learning approach that builds on the lessons learned over the course of the Coronavirus pandemic. Teaching will vary between online and on-campus delivery through the year, and you should read guidance from the academic department for details of how this will work for a particular module. You can find out more about the University’s overall response to Coronavirus at: https://warwick.ac.uk/coronavirus.

PH201-30 History of Modern Philosophy

Department
Philosophy
Level
Undergraduate Level 2
Module leader
Barnaby Walker
Credit value
30
Module duration
20 weeks
Assessment
20% coursework, 80% exam
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

Has modern science shown that objects are not coloured? Is scepticism about our ability to know and understand the world an essential part of a rational, enlightened outlook? Is Berkeley right that the idea of a perceived object existing ‘without the mind’ involves a ‘manifest contradiction’? Can human thought and action be understood as part of the natural world? Does the notion of God play an essential role in moral thinking? How useful is the schema ‘rationalism vs empiricism (plus Kant’s attempt to combine insights from both traditions)’ in understanding the evolution of 17th/18th century philosophy?

These are some illustrative examples of the questions we will be tackling as part of this two-term exploration of (some key episodes in) the history of modern philosophy.

Module aims

The first part of this module, taught in the autumn term, covers the metaphysical and epistemological thought of three of the great Empiricist philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries – John Locke, George Berkeley, and David Hume. In this part of the module will look at the views of these philosophers on substance, qualities, ideas, causation and perception.

The second part of this module, taught in the spring term is devoted to Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. The following topics will be covered: Metaphysics, Space, the Categories, Objectivity, Self-Awareness, Substance, Causation, Scepticism.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

Term 1 will focus on Locke, Berkeley and Hume, term 2 on Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. We will look at the historical context shaping, and occasionally shaped by, the thinking of our protagonists (reformation, scientific revolution, enlightenment). We will also examine some crucial disagreements between them, e.g. over the nature of human rationality and the question of which aspects of reality, if any, are mind-independent.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • 1. Demonstrate an understanding of the key ideas and arguments in the texts and topics covered in the module
  • 2. Critically engage with the main arguments of the texts, and articulate their own views of the relative strengths and weaknesses of these arguments.
  • 3. Demonstrate sensitivity to some of the main differing interpretations of the key ideas and arguments presented in the texts.
Subject specific skills

At the end of this course students will understand, and be able critically to think about, Kant’s views and arguments regarding some of the central topics of the Critique of Pure Reason, including space, perception, self-awareness, causation, God.

Transferable skills

At the end of this course, students will have the ability

  • to interpret complex texts in the light of their historical contexts
  • to understand and adjudicate highly complex scholarly debates regarding both interpretative and substantive questions

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 18 sessions of 2 hours (12%)
Seminars 18 sessions of 1 hour (6%)
Private study 246 hours (82%)
Total 300 hours
Private study description

No private study requirements defined for this module.

Costs

No further costs have been identified for this module.

You do not need to pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Students can register for this module without taking any assessment.

Assessment group D7
Weighting Study time
Written Assignment - Term 1 Material (1000 words) 10%

1000 word essay (Term 2 material)

Written Assignment - Term 2 Material (1000 words) 10%

1000 word essay (Term 1 material)

Online Examination 80%
  • Online examination: No Answerbook required
Feedback on assessment

Students will receieve written feedback on both short essays and their examination answers.

Past exam papers for PH201

Courses

This module is Core for:

  • Year 2 of UPHA-VL78 BA in Philosophy with Psychology
  • Year 2 of UCXA-Q8V7 Undergraduate Classical Civilisation with Philosophy
  • Year 2 of UHIA-V1V5 Undergraduate History and Philosophy
  • Year 2 of UPHA-V700 Undergraduate Philosophy
  • Year 2 of UPHA-VQ72 Undergraduate Philosophy and Literature

This module is Core optional for:

  • Year 2 of UPHA-V7ML Undergraduate Philosophy, Politics and Economics

This module is Optional for:

  • Year 2 of UMAA-GV19 Undergraduate Mathematics and Philosophy with Specialism in Logic and Foundations
  • Year 2 of UPHA-V7ML Undergraduate Philosophy, Politics and Economics
  • UPHA-V7MM Undergraduate Philosophy, Politics and Economics (with Intercalated year)
    • Year 4 of V7MQ Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Bipartite) with Intercalated Year
    • Year 4 of V7MI Philosophy, Politics and Economics - Philosophy/Economics Bipartite (Philosophy Major) (with Intercalated year)

This module is Core option list A for:

  • Year 2 of UPHA-V7ML Undergraduate Philosophy, Politics and Economics
  • Year 2 of UPHA-V7MW Undergraduate Politics, Philosophy and Law

This module is Core option list B for:

  • Year 2 of UMAA-GV17 Undergraduate Mathematics and Philosophy
  • Year 2 of UMAA-GV19 Undergraduate Mathematics and Philosophy with Specialism in Logic and Foundations
  • Year 2 of UPHA-V7ML Undergraduate Philosophy, Politics and Economics
  • Year 2 of UPHA-V7MW Undergraduate Politics, Philosophy and Law

This module is Option list A for:

  • Year 3 of UMAA-GV17 Undergraduate Mathematics and Philosophy
  • Year 4 of UMAA-GV18 Undergraduate Mathematics and Philosophy with Intercalated Year
  • UMAA-GV19 Undergraduate Mathematics and Philosophy with Specialism in Logic and Foundations
    • Year 3 of GV19 Mathematics and Philosophy with Specialism in Logic and Foundations
    • Year 4 of GV19 Mathematics and Philosophy with Specialism in Logic and Foundations

This module is Option list B for:

  • Year 2 of UHIA-V1V5 Undergraduate History and Philosophy
  • Year 2 of UMAA-G105 Undergraduate Master of Mathematics (with Intercalated Year)
  • Year 2 of UMAA-G100 Undergraduate Mathematics (BSc)
  • Year 2 of UMAA-G103 Undergraduate Mathematics (MMath)
  • Year 2 of UMAA-G106 Undergraduate Mathematics (MMath) with Study in Europe
  • Year 2 of UMAA-G1NC Undergraduate Mathematics and Business Studies
  • Year 2 of UMAA-G1N2 Undergraduate Mathematics and Business Studies (with Intercalated Year)
  • Year 2 of UMAA-GL11 Undergraduate Mathematics and Economics
  • Year 2 of UECA-GL12 Undergraduate Mathematics and Economics (with Intercalated Year)
  • Year 2 of UMAA-GV17 Undergraduate Mathematics and Philosophy
  • Year 2 of UMAA-GV18 Undergraduate Mathematics and Philosophy with Intercalated Year
  • Year 2 of UMAA-GV19 Undergraduate Mathematics and Philosophy with Specialism in Logic and Foundations
  • Year 2 of UMAA-G101 Undergraduate Mathematics with Intercalated Year

This module is Option list E for:

  • Year 2 of UPHA-V7MW Undergraduate Politics, Philosophy and Law