PP2CPP-Contemporary Political Philosophy

Module Provider: Philosophy
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Level:5
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2014/5

Module Convenor: Prof David Owens

Email: d.owens@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
The module will discuss central debates within contemporary political philosophy, and in particular to issues which arise within the liberal-egalitarian tradition.

Aims:
To introduce students to central debates within contemporary political philosophy, and in particular to issues which arise within the liberal-egalitarian tradition.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Having attended lectures and seminars and undertaken the weekly reading assignments, students should be able to explain and evaluate competing answers to some of the central questions within contemporary political philosophy, such as the following. Should the state be neutral between competing conceptions of the good? Should the state treat its citizens as equals and, if so, what does that involve? What is tolerance and it is a good thing? The module will also develop students' analytical abilities to reason and write with clarity and precision, to reliably reconstruct complex philosophical arguments, and to evaluate their soundness and validity.

Additional outcomes:
In addition, the seminars will help students develop the capacity to present and defend their views in a public forum

Outline content:
The module will be structured around two notions which are central to the liberal-egalitarian tradition in political thought: liberty and equality. We’ll consider the writings of authors like Mill, Rawls, Nagel, Scanlon and Raz.

Recommedended Introductory Readings:
A. Swift – Political Philosophy: A Beginner’s Guide (Second Edition) (Polity 2006)
J.S. Mill – On Liberty

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The format for this module is a mixture of lectures and seminars. Students are encouraged to be active in all classes, asking questions and trying to answer the questions posed by others. Handouts are given for this module, including reading lists.


Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Guided independent study 170
       
Total hours by term 200.00
       
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 70
Written assignment including essay 30

Other information on summative assessment:
Coursework
2 x 1,500-2,000 word essays worth 15% each.

Electronic Submission
All coursework should be submitted electronically via Blackboard and in hard copy to the Philosophy office.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    The final exam, worth 70%, will be two hours in which time you will be required to answer two questions from a choice of six.

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Re-examination in August by written examination only.

    Last updated: 8 October 2014

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