PP2EM2-Early Modern Philosophy 2

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

Module Convenor: Dr Severin Schroeder

Email: s.j.schroeder@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
An introduction to the thought of two of the greatest philosophers of the 18th century, David Hume and Immanuel Kant.

This is a module in ‘modern’ philosophy (i.e. philosophy from 1640 onwards). It studies, firstly, the empiricist epistemology and metaphysics of David Hume, including their relationship to the earlier empiricist philosophies of Locke and Berkeley; secondly, the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. The module therefore complements PP2EM1, although the two modules may be taken independently. Among the topics we will consider in Hume’s philosophy are: knowledge, belief, scepticism; induction and causation; personal identity and the self. With Kant we shall be concerned with his doctrine of transcendental idealism, his account of mathematics as synthetic a priori, his attempt to establish the causal maxim, and his criticism of the ontological argument.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of this module, students will be able to give an overview of the central views of Hume and Kant. They will be able to assess the main arguments, and understand why the issues covered are important. They will have a good idea of how Kant stands in relation to the ‘British Empiricists’, Locke, Berkeley and Hume.

Additional outcomes:
Students will develop skills of abstract thinking, which in turn will help promote their critical thinking skills and their general evaluation of arguments. Their discussion of the issues will also develop their oral skills and build on their ability orally to articulate abstract arguments and concepts.

Outline content:
In the case of Hume, the two primary texts are A Treatise Of Human Nature, book 1 (1739) and his first Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748). Both are out of copyright and available in many different printed editions. The recommended editions are:
• Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding edited by Beauchamp (Oxford Philosophical Texts)
• Hume, A Treatise Of Human Nature, edited by Norton and Norton (Oxford Philosophical Texts).
Both should be available in the campus bookshop. Both are also available electronically on the internet via the British Philosophy 1600-1900 collection, accessible via the Library catalogue, and on the PP2EM2 blackboard site. Reference to the Hume texts on handouts and reading lists is by Section and Paragraph: for example, section 1, paragraph 6 is written 1.6. You should use this convention when you refer to the text in your notes and essays (but references in the widespread Selby-Bigge edition will also be given). You are strongly advised to obtain your own copy of the first Enquiry, at least, and to bring it to lectures and seminars.

For the Kant part of the course, we will looks at selected sections from the Critique of Pure Reason and also the Prolegomena.

Preparatory Reading:
Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding edited by Beauchamp (Oxford Philosophical Texts)
Kant, Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics (Oxford Philosophical Texts or Hackett)

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
This module will be taught by weekly lectures and a weekly seminar (but the distinction between lecture and seminar is not sharp). There will be weekly readings of original texts and comments. For some texts, questions will be provided in advance – and the answers to them will be discussed in class. Students are encouraged to be active in all classes, asking questions and trying to answer the questions posed by others. To enable this it is crucial that you read the required texts for each seminar. The module’s Blackboard site will contain lecture hand-outs, a reading list, the seminar questions, the essay assignments, and so on.

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:
Two essays of 1500-2000 words each, making up a total of 30% of the module mark.

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:
    One examination of two hours in length, making up 70% of the module mark. The paper is divided into two sections, one on Hume and one of Kant. Students must answer one question from each section.

    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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