Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)


Department: Philosophy


Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap Location Durham


  • At least one module from the following: Ethics and Values (PHIL1011); Knowledge and Reality (PHIL1021); History and Theory of Medicine (PHIL1051); AND/OR Introduction to the History and Philosophy of Science (PHIL1081).


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • Students will be able to: explore some significant theories that seek to explain the relationships amongst individuals, and between individuals and their society.
  • assess the effect and relevance of these theories to European textual production.
  • use one of these theoretical frameworks to reflect upon their cultural environment.


  • Existentialism: Freedom, Existence and essence.
  • Sartrian consciousness.
  • Literature as political action.
  • Camus and the Absurd.
  • Freudian Theory: The Freudian Unconscious.
  • Oedipus, Post-Freudian culture.
  • Feminism: Anglo-American feminism.
  • French feminism.
  • Feminism today.
  • Post modernism: Modernism and Post modernism.
  • Totality and Fragmentation.
  • Post modernism, history and fiction.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • At the end of the module students will be able to: understand and explain the main ideas characterising at least two out of the four theories studied: Sartrian Existentialism, Freudian Analysis, Anglo-American and French Feminisms, Postmodernism.
  • Read designated texts applying at least two of the theoretical frameworks studied: existentialist, psychoanalytic, feminist, post-modern.
  • Analyse philosophical trends, develop and communicate arguments relating to the course syllabus.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • correctly utilise specialist vocabulary
  • grasp, analyse, evaluate and deploy subject-specific concepts and arguments
  • locate, understand, assess and utilise pertinent philosophical (and, where appropriate, historical) sources
  • interpret and criticise relevant texts
Key Skills:
  • express themselves clearly and succinctly in writing
  • comprehend complex ideas, propositions and theories
  • defend their opinions by reasoned argument
  • seek out and identify appropriate sources of evidence and information
  • tackle problems in a clear-sighted and logical fashion

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures deliver basic module-specific information, and provide a framework for further study.
  • Discussion groups provide opportunities for students to test their own understanding of the material studies, and defend and debate different opinions.
  • The Formative essays provides the opportunity for students to test their understanding and knowledge of the module content, and their ability to present and critically evaluate relevant arguments and interpretations, uninhibited by the demands of summative assessment.
  • Guided reading provides a structure within which students exercise and extend their abilities to make use of available learning resources.
  • The unseen examination tests students' overall knowledge and understanding of the module content at the end of the module, and their ability to bring it to bear on new problems under pressure of time.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 22 1 Per Week 1 Hour 22
Discussion groups 9 Fortnightly 1 Hour 9
Preparation and Reading 169
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Written Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Unseen Written Examination 3 hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

Two essays of approximately 1500 words

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University