PP2GP1-Global Philosophy 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: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Shalini Sinha

Email: shalini.sinha@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module introduces key thinkers and issues in global and feminist philosophy. Some of the claims we will examine include: Gender is an illusion, male and female ‘sex’ attributes are social constructions!  Race categories are racist, they should be abolished! Persons are ‘processes’; self and identity are conceptual impositions that mask our true nature! The ethics of action lies in intention, not impact! Self-immolation is an ethical form of political protest! Gandhi and Islamist suicide bombing share an ethics of sacrificial dying! Debt is founded on violence! We should undertake dying with full awareness, by meditative fasting! Bare awareness continues in sleep and death!

We will engage in philosophical conversations with (i) contemporary feminist and race theorists such as Judith Butler, Sally Haslanger and Naomi Zack on performativist,  constructionist and essentialist approaches to gender and race; (ii) Buddhist philosophers on the metaphysics of self and identity, and the ethics of action; (iii) Jaina philosophers on the omnipresence of life, the hierarchy of beings, and moral action; (iv) Buddhist, Gandhian and Islamist perspectives on sacrificial dying and the ethics of political action; (v) David Graeber on the nature and origins of debt and money; (vi) Jaina conceptions of meditative dying, and contemporary perspectives on suicide and euthanasia; (vii) Indian and Chinese philosophers on consciousness in waking, dreaming, sleep, and death.


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 PP1GJ and the introduction to feminist and other ‘radical’ philosophies in PP1RP.

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 t heir 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 in the module include the following: (1) feminist constructionist, performativist and phenomenological perspectives on gender and sex; (2) skeptic, naturalist and social constructionist approaches to race; (3) Buddhist perspectives on the construction of persons and the appropriative self; (4) the ethics of action: the debate on intention vs impact; (5) Buddhist self-immolation in the Vietnam War; (6) self-sacrifice and the ethics of dying in Gandhi and contemporary Islamist mo vements; (7) the nature of debt and money; (8) Jaina meditative dying, suicide and euthanasia; (9) states of consciousness: waking, dreaming, dreamless sleep and death.

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
Total hours for module 200

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 presentation, First written assignment: 30%; Second written assignment: 60%

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 Convenor 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: 4 April 2020


Things to do now