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PHI2001 : Kantian and Post-Kantian Philosophy I: Idealism

Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


In this module we shall introduce the philosophy of 18th and 19th Century German Idealism, with particular reference to the work of Immanuel Kant. The purpose of the module is to investigate the problem of epistemology in the particular context of 18th and 19th Century German Philosophy, epistemology being the problem of how it is possible to know, and what in particular we can know.
To this end we shall read the work of Kant and some of the works of subsequent German Idealists, J. G. Fichte, F. W. J. Schelling, and G. W. F. Hegel.
This course is one semester long, and, for those who are taking it, is meant to prepare you for next Semester’s course, entitled, Cultural Contradictions of Scientific Rationality. This latter will deal with the reactions to Kantian and Hegelian thought in the 19th and 20th Centuries, and in particular lay stress on the ontologies, as opposed to the epistemologies of post-Hegelian thinkers from Schopenhauer to Freud, and beyond. It will investigate a certain irrationality which these thinkers perceived at the base of everything, underlying and to some extent contradicting the rationality which Hegel attempted to trace in the structure of the Being, as well as in the structure of Thought.

Outline Of Syllabus

Kant's First Critique, the Critique of Pure Reason and/or related texts, the nature of experience, knowledge, understood as a relation between a subject and an object, with particular reference to the problem of scepticism.
The nature of reason, with particular reference to the problem of metaphysics.
Kant’s critical response to rationalist metaphysics.
Kant’s particular form of idealism: transcendental idealism.
The gulf between nature and freedom, nature and reason, and the way it is taken up by later German Philosophy.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion241:0024:00Preparation and completion of assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture121:0012:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study521:0052:00Review lecture material and prepare for small group teaching
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

This module introduces central themes in modern philosophy and constitutes a background for PHI2002. Lectures provide students with a systematic account of milestones in the development of modern concepts of knowledge. Students are given a structured reading list and lecture notes. These topics are developed further and discussed in seminars.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A100Essay - 2000 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, and to cite relevant texts and interpret them adequately.

The assessment scheme which the students are given and explained at the start of the module shows clearly how the mark emerges out of expected competences and their link to specialist knowledge. The student is expected to recognise key epistemological concepts of the modern era, be able to position them in the context chosen for the essay and as they are supported by the references to the primary and secondary literature or application niche.

Reading Lists