Module Catalogue 2017/18

PHI3003 : Meaning, Truth and Language

  • Offered for Year: 2017/18
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Lisa Foran
  • Lecturer: Dr Michael Lewis
  • Owning School: Philosophical Studies & Combined Honours
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Code Title
PHI2001Knowledge and Human Interests
PHI2003Ethics and the Modern World
Pre Requisite Comment

One of the above modules required

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



This module aims to introduce students to principal themes in the philosophy of language, which will involve the interpretation and criticism of major texts in the phenomenological tradition.

It will explore different philosophical conceptions of language, focusing on the legacy of Heidegger's existential phenomenology. We will discuss his accounts of being-in-the-world, anxiety and art, as well as investigating Levinas's criticisms of Heidegger.

Outline Of Syllabus

Introduction: Language, Thinking and Phenomenology
Husserl: Phenomenology as a Rigorous Science?
Husserl, the transcendental reduction and Phenomenological methodology
The limits of epistemology: Heidegger’s criticisms of Husserl
Heidegger and the question of the meaning of being
Heidegger’s existential analytic of Dasein
Heidegger on language and signification
The limits of ontology: Levinas’s criticisms of Heidegger
Levinas, Phenomenology and the reduction
Levinas on the question of relation
The ethical turn of Phenomenology
The religious turn of Phenomenology

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

Students will
•       become acquainted with themes in the philosophy of language and the principal theories of Phenomenology developed from the early twentieth century to the present day;
•       come to recognise the impact that Phenomenology has on our understanding of epistemology, ontology and ethics;
•       acquire a good grasp of the central notions of phenomenological methodology, existential analysis and the transcendental reduction.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Students will:
•       be able to use the terminology of Phenomenology;
•       develop advanced skills of analytical and critical thinking;
•       develop an advanced ability to engage critically and sensitively with key texts drawn from a variety of traditions.

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Assessed
    • Data Synthesis : Assessed
    • Active Learning : Assessed
    • Literacy : Present
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Assessed
      • Synthesise And Present Materials : Assessed
      • Use Of Computer Applications : Present
  • Self Management
    • Self Awareness And Reflection : Present
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Goal Setting And Action Planning : Present
      • Decision Making : Present
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Innovation And Creativity : Present
      • Initiative : Present
      • Independence : Assessed
      • Problem Solving : Present
      • Adaptability : Present
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Oral : Present
      • Interpersonal : Present
      • Written Other : Assessed
    • Team Working
      • Collaboration : Present
  • Application
    • Social Cultural Global Awareness : Present

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion601:0060:00Preparation and completion of essays
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture201:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching201:0020:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1100:00100:00Review lecture and other source material, prepare for small group teaching
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures introduce central themes in the philosophy of language and provide an introduction to basic concepts and techniques in Phenomenology. Seminars permit of student discussion of these themes. Seminars will also see students hermeneutically engaging with philosophical texts taught at an advanced level. Reading and reflecting on books and articles will take place in private study.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A502000 words
Essay2A502000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essays test the ability to think creatively, self-critically and independently as well as managing one’s own work to set time limits. This assessment method also gauges the students’ ability to move between generalisation and appropriately detailed discussion, to cite relevant texts and interpret them adequately, to discover examples in support of or to challenge a position, and to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant considerations.

Students will be assessed on their knowledge of the central themes in the philosophy of language and provides an introduction to basic concepts and techniques in Phenomenology, and on their skill to sensitively interpret texts drawn from a variety of ages and traditions.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes

Original Handbook text:

Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2017/18 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2017/18 entry will be published here in early-April 2017. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.