Global Opportunities

PHI1010 : Rationalism and Empiricism

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


The aims of this module is to introduce students to some of the key debates in epistemology (theory of knowledge). Students will be introduced to and encouraged to reflect upon some of the central ideas and conceptual systems from the Modern Age. The module will be centred upon the debate between rationalism and empiricism, engaged in by such figures as David Hume and John Locke on the side of empiricism, Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz on the side of rationalism.

Outline Of Syllabus

Students will cover some key thinkers associated with rationalism and empiricism, including but not limited to:
-       Descartes
-       Spinoza
-       Leibniz
-       Locke
-       Berkeley
-       Hume

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture101:0010:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion120:0020:00Essay preparation and completion
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities101:0010:00Specific research or reading activities developed and directed by academic staff.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00Tutorials
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study105:0050:00Review lecture material, prepare for small group teaching and assessment.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will introduce key themes and ideas relevant to empiricism and rationalism, which will pave the way for studying Kant in Stage 2.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A902000 word essay
Prof skill assessmnt1A10Seminar attendance is given a mark
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The student chooses a title from a list of questions. These questions encourage independent research using the lecture content as a foundation and makes it possible to assess knowledge acquisition, interpretive skill and theoretical understanding as well as the analytical, creative and critical potential of students. The essay tests the ability to think creatively, self-critically and independently as well as managing one’s own work to set time limits.

Reading Lists