PP2HKW-Hume, Kant, and Wittgenstein

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: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Severin Schroeder

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

Summary module description:
This module offers an introduction to the ideas of three great philosophers: David Hume, Immanuel Kant, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, focussing especially on their respective conceptions of philosophy.

This module will introduce students to three markedly different conceptions of the nature of philosophy and of philosophical method: Hume’s empiricism, Kant’s transcendental idealism, and Wittgenstein’s conception of therapeutic conceptual analysis. All three approaches will be studied by looking at particular philosophical problems (such as the basis of knowledge, causation, induction, the nature of mathematical truth, personal identity, other minds).

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of this module, students will have a general idea of the distinct philosophical approaches of Hume, Kant, and Wittgenstein, and of some of their central doctrines and ideas. 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 Hume, and how Wittgenstein responds to some of the same problems as those 18th century philosophers.

Additional outcomes:
Students will have thought more carefully about the nature of their subject. They 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 PP2HKW 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).
For the Kant part of the course, we will looks at selected sections from the Critique of Pure Reason (1781) and also the Prolegomena (1783).
Our reading for the Wittgenstein part of the course will be selected passages from Philosophical Investigations (1953).

Preparatory Reading
A.J. Ayer, Hume: A Very Short Introduction (OUP)
R. Scruton, Kant: A Very Short Introduction (OUP)
S. Schroeder: Wittgenstein: The Way Out of the Fly-Bottle (Polity)

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 commentaries. 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 15
Seminars 15
Guided independent study 170
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 60
Written assignment including essay 30
Oral assessment and presentation 10

Other information on summative assessment:
Two essays of 1500-2000 words each, making up a total of 30% of the module mark, and a seminar presentation, making up 10% of the module mark.

Electronic Submission
All coursework should be submitted electronically via Blackboard.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor 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 60% of the module mark.

    Requirements for a pass:
    A mark of 40% overall

    Reassessment arrangements:
    By written examination only.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 9 January 2017

    Things to do now