Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2017-2018 (archived)


Department: Philosophy


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2017/18 Module Cap Location Durham


  • A 'level 2' Philosophy module.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To introduce students to the work of the influential philosopher of modernity, Immanuel Kant, and to the work of 19th c. philosophers, including Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, who were strongly influenced by Kant and critically responded to him, and to introduce students to the philosophy of Wittgenstein.


  • The module begins with a detailed examination of Kant's greatest work, The Critique of Pure Reason, and discusses such issues as a priori knowledge, space and time, transcendental idealism, the thing-in-itself versus appearance, objectivity, and thought and experience.
  • The module continues with examinations of the philosophies of later German thinkers whose work was influenced by Kant. Authors to be discussed are taken from a list inlcuding Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche.
  • Topics examined in Terms 2-3 include Nietzsche and Wittgenstein.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • The module will have provided students with knowledge, continuous with that acquired on the Modern Philosophy 1 module, of the main tendencies in the modern Western philosophy up to and including the 20th century. Students will have been equipped with an understanding, based on first hand acquaintance with seminal texts, of how several central philosophical issues - those of realism versus idealism, for example, and the objectivity or otherwise of truth - have been addressed by extremely influential philosophers.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • 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 provide module-specific information and help students to understand and read a number of difficult texts.
  • Discussion groups provide opportunities for students to seek clarification of written and lecture material, to test their own understanding of the authors and issues discussed, and to defend and debate their own points of view.
  • Guided reading helps students acquaint themselves with relevant learning resources and to widen their knowledge beyond that acquired through lectures and tutorials.
  • The Formative essays enable students to express and test their understanding of the texts and issues examined in the module.
  • The unseen examination tests students' familiarity with set texts and their ability to bring to bear the knowledge acquired on the module upon particular topics 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: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
three-hour unseen written examination 100%

Formative Assessment:

Two essays one in Michaelmas and one in Epiphany of approximately 2000 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