PP2HKW1-Hume, Kant, and Wittgenstein 1

Module Provider: Philosophy
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Severin Schroeder

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

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module introduces students 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, free will).

Assessable learning outcomes:

Students will gain 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:

Topics covered on the module will typically include:

Hume’s project, Kant’s transcendental idealism, Kant on mathematics, Wittgenstein’s conception of philosophy, Hume’s philosophy of mind, Wittgenstein’s critique of the inner object conception, Hume’s scepticism, the Representative Theory of Perception,  Hume on induction, Strawson on induction, Hume on Free Will, P.F. Strawson & G. Strawson on Free Will.

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:

1 x 10% oral assessment, 2 x 45% written assignments

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:

Penalties for late submission will be in accordance with University policy. 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

Students are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline, and 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 Summer term

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 17 September 2018


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