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Module descriptions

7AAN2004 Early Modern Philosophy


Credit value: 20

Module tutor: Dr John Callanan


  • Summative assessment: one 4,000-word essay (100%)
  • Formative assessment: one 2,500–3,000-word essay


  • Summative assessment: one 4,000-word essay (100%)
  • Formative assessment: 1 2,000–3,000-word essay

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment and by the same methods as the first attempt.

Teaching pattern: one one-hour weekly lecture and one one-hour weekly seminar over ten weeks.
Pre-requisites: Some familiarity with pre-Kantian Early Modern Philosophers (e.g. Descartes, Locke, Hume and/or Leibniz) would be an advantage.
Sample syllabus: 7AAN2004 module syllabus 2016-17

This course provides an introduction to the moral philosophy of Immanuel Kant, via a reading of a seminal text in the history of moral philosophy, Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals. We will also look at some other of Kant’s ethical writings when appropriate. Through a reading of these texts, students will gain a critical understanding of the nature of a Kantian approach to the topics of morality and freedom. 

Further information

Module aims

Students will develop the ability to critically assess Kant’s moral theory.

Students will gain an understanding of what it is to adopt a broadly Kantian approach to these topics, thus preparing them for an understanding of Kant’s contemporary relevance.

Students will develop the ability to distinguish between Kant’s own theories and those merely inspired by Kant’s approach.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, the students will be able to demonstrate intellectual, transferable and practicable skills appropriate to a level-7 module and in particular will be able to demonstrate that they have:

  • A grasp of the core ideas relating to Kant’s moral theory
  • An ability to distinguish different interpretative approaches to those ideas
  • A familiarity with essential secondary sources on Kant’s ethics
  • An ability to critically assess central argumentative claims relating to Kant’s ethics
Past syllabi

7AAN2004 module syllabus 2012-13 (pdf)
7AAN2004 module syllabus 2013-14 (pdf)
7AAN2004 module syllabus 2014-15 (pdf)
7AAN2004 module syllabus 2015-16 (pdf)

Please note that module syllabus and topics covered may vary from year to year.  

More detailed information on the current year’s module (including the syllabus for that year) can be accessed on KEATS by all students and staff. 


Core reading

Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (any edition, available on Ebook Library)

The modules run in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand so there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary depending between years.


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