PP3WIT-Philosophy of Wittgenstein

Module Provider: Philosophy
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn 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:
A study of Wittgenstein’s later philosophy, based on the Philosophical Investigations, and on Friedrich Waismann’s presentation of Wittgenstein’s views in his Principles of Linguistic Philosophy.

This module will introduce students to Wittgenstein’s later philosophy, especially his masterpiece Philosophical Investigations. The main focus will be on his critique of his earlier work (the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus), his provocative conception of philosophy, and his contributions to the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind. The module will combine an introduction to the development and historical background of Wittgenstein’s thinking with textual exegesis and a critical discussion of the main arguments.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of this module, students will be able to relate Wittgenstein’s later work to central ideas in the Tractatus, to explain key ideas in Wittgenstein’s later work (the nature of philosophy, meaning as use, rule following, private language argument), and to assess their relevance to current philosophical debates. Students’ oral skills will be improved by their presentation of material on a given topic in the seminar section of this module, and group interaction will be encouraged by discussion in both lectures and seminars.

Additional outcomes:
Students will gain a valuable perspective on other topics studied in their philosophy degree, notably in philosophy of language and philosophy of mind. Through reading and discussing passages of the Philosophical Investigations students will improve both their hermeneutic and their logico-analytic skills.

Outline content:
The module will cover the later Wittgenstein’s criticisms of his own earlier views (in the Tractatus), his new philosophical method and its application to problems in the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind.

Introductory Reading:
O. Hanfling, Wittgenstein’s Later Philosophy, Palgrave 1989
S. Schroeder, Wittgenstein: The Way Out of the Fly-Bottle, Polity 2006

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures, seminars and supervisions. Seminars normally begin with a student presentation.

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 60
Written assignment including essay 30
Oral assessment and presentation 10

Other information on summative assessment:
2 x 2,000-2,500 word essays. Relative percentage of coursework: 30%

Seminar Presentation
15 minute seminar presentation to count for 10% 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:
    Examination of this module is by coursework (30%), oral presentation (10%) and by final exam (60%). The final exam will be two hours in which time you will be required to answer two questions from a choice of six.

    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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