PP2GP1-Global Philosophy 1

Module Provider: Philosophy
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Shalini Sinha

Email: shalini.sinha@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module introduces students to the philosophical investigation of contemporary global issues from a cross-cultural perspective. The particular topics will vary, but will include substantial content from outside the contemporary Anglophone ‘mainstream’ of philosophy.

Typical questions include: What is the self?  Is there such a thing at all? How are gendered selves and identities constituted and experienced? Are such identities desirable? What sorts of rationalities underpin capitalism? What is money and what is the nature of debt? Can debt and money be eliminated? Is war just a form of social sacrifice? Do non-violent political action and ‘terrorism’ meet in the ethics of self-sacrifice that underpin them?

We will be particularly interested in cross-cultural conversations on these topics, with figures such as (i) contemporary feminist and Continental philosophers such as Judith Butler, Theodore Adorno and Jean-Paul Sartre; (ii) post-Kantian European philosophers such as Schopenhauer and Nietzsche; (iii) Buddhist philosophers including the Buddha, the Dalai Lama, and Thich Nhat Hanh; (iv) other Indian philosophers such as Gandhi; (v) African thinkers such as Frantz Fanon; (vi) contemporary and historical Islamic philosophers.

There is potentially a huge range of topics to cover, so the precise content will vary from year to year.


This module encourages students to develop ways of doing philosophy that are both inclusive and cosmopolitan by reflecting on contemporary global issues from the philosophical perspective of a variety of cultures and religions, and diverse gender and racial groups. Students will examine current debates in global philosophy, cultivate skills in oral and written argument and develop a sense of how a conversation between different philosophical traditions is both possible and warranted, and how dialogical philosophical approaches can be developed to investigate problems and issues in multicultural societies in a globalized political economy.  This module will build on the introduction of cross-cultural philosophical perspectives in PP1PWR and the introduction to feminist and other ‘radical’ philosophies in PP1RA.

Assessable learning outcomes:

Students will gain competency in the core concepts, theories, and methodologies of a range of cross-cultural and interdisciplinary approaches to contemporary global issues.  They will learn to engage in cross-cultural philosophical dialogue using and to apply the tools of philosophical approaches outside the contemporary ‘analytic’ tradition. They will learn to critically apply these to problems of global relevance. In doing so, students will learn skills of argumentation and presentation and come to acquire skills of research and enquiry by designing their seminar presentations, undertaking research for coursework essays, and learn to critically appraise what they learn. They will develop personal effectiveness and self-awareness by learning to communicate in one-to-one discussions, and in group discussions in seminars and lectures using a range of means (speaking, essay-writing, presenting and designing slides).  Students will learn to reflect critically on their progress, their strengths and weaknesses, and the goals they wish to achieve. 

Additional outcomes:

This module encourages students to approach social and civic responsibilities through values of inclusiveness and diversity by addressing the perspectives of different genders, races and cultures on a host of contemporary issues.  It gives students an opportunity to enhance their multicultural awareness and intercultural competencies by considering cross-cultural approaches in the study of philosophy and applied philosophy.

Outline content:

Topics covered on the module will typically include elements from the following list: (1) the metaphysics, phenomenology, and ethics of self and identity, broadly conceived, and of gender and race identity in particular, from Buddhist, African, Feminist, and Continental perspectives; (2) the critique of reason and capitalism in Gandhi and/or contemporary Continental philosophy; (3) conceptions of debt and money in Indian and Continental philosophy and anthropology; (4) the ethics and politics of fear and self-sacrifice in non-violent political action, war and ‘terrorism’ from Gandhi to Buddhist self-immolation and the political actions of al-Qaeda.

Global context:

This module will situate students’ understanding of ‘Philosophy’ in a global context and develop an understanding of the diverse ways there are of doing philosophy in an increasingly globalized world. It will greatly enhance the resources students have for developing intercultural competencies in a global context.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module is taught by lectures and seminars. Students are expected to attend 20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars. All students are required to write two essays from a list of questions supplied by the module convenor and to give one seminar presentation. In addition, in weeks in which a student is not giving a presentation, they will be required to write a short précis of the topic for discussion at a given seminar class. Students are encouraged to be active in all classes, asking questions and trying to answer the questions posed by others. A reading list and sample questions will be given out at the start of the module. 

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 assignment including essay 90
Oral assessment and presentation 10

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Formative assessment methods:

Students will write a short précis of the topic for discussion for every seminar class in which they are not doing a presentation. Some lectures may involve quizzes.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (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.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Written assignment, to be completed in August

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 11 May 2018


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