PP2ISP-Independent Study in Philosophy

Module Provider: Philosophy
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Summer term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Shalini Sinha

Email: shalini.sinha@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

This module will provide Philosophy students with an opportunity to develop an independent interest and produce an extended piece of prose at Part Two. It is intended for those studying Philosophy who need an additional 10 credits. The core of the module will be ontological arguments for the existence of God.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to:
•conceive and plan an essay and bring it to fruition by independent work
•identify and explain the main issues and arguments studied
•locate and assemble information on the subject by independent research
•organise material and articulate arguments effectively
•present material according to scholarly conventions

Additional outcomes:
The module also aims to develop students’ initiative and self-direction, by allowing them to choose a topic, develop a question, and plan an answer, with only a minimal level of supervision.

Outline content:
Students will conceive, plan, and write an extended essay on the topic of the Ontological Argument for the Existence of God. The essay title is ‘Is there any version of the Ontological Argument which stands up to criticism?’ The student will do sufficient research to compare the formulations of St Anselm and Descartes. They will consider published and original objections to both. They will write a paper detailing this research and aiming to establish whether any version of the argument is cogent.
Students will read and respond to the following Core Texts:
- Anselm, Proslogion, Chs 1-5 (reprinted in John Cottingham (ed.), Western Philosophy)
-Descartes, Fifth Meditation, and Objections and Replies, First Set (in Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy, Tr. John Cottingham)

Students will also read and respond to the following contextual material:
-Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, A592ff/B 620ff.
-Ayer, A., Language, Truth and Logic , second edition, London: Gollancz, 1948.Brian Davies, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion , Ch. 5
-Anselm ‘Anselm argues that God cannot be thought not to exist’ in Davies, Brian (ed.) 311-12
-Anselm ‘The Classical Ontological Argument” in Peterson, Michael et al. (eds.) 176-178.
-Plantinga, Alvin ‘A Contemporary Modal Version of the Ontological Argument’ in Peterson, Michael et al. 181-193, 342-352.
-Adams, R., 1971, “The Logical Structure of Anselm’s Argument”.
-Daniel A. Dombrowski, Rethinking the Ontological Argument: A Neoclassical Theistic Response
-Malcolm, Norman. “Anselm’s Ontological Arguments.” The Philosophical Review 69, no. 1
-Findlay, J., 1949, “Can God’s Existance Be Disproved?” Mind 57: 176-83

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
This is identified as a truly independent activity. Students will submit a proposal to the module convenor and be allocated to a supervisor. The student will be expected to meet with the supervisor on three set dates (once to set up the module; then twice more to support ongoing research), but the onus is on the student to work independently.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Tutorials 3
Guided independent study 97
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Other information on summative assessment:
One extended essay of 3,000 words, plus bibliography and footnoting, to be sent electronically to the Philosophy Subject Officer Humss G44 on Monday 22nd August 2016 by 12 noon at the latest.

Formative assessment methods:

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
    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:

    Requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Where a re-sit is permitted, missing or failed coursework elements must be re-submitted by Friday 29th September 2016.

    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

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