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Module descriptions

7AAN2018 Foundations of Phenomenology


Credit value: 20
Module tutor: Professor Mark Textor


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


  • Summative assessment: one 4,000-word essay (100%)
  • Formative assessment: one 2,500-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.
Pre-requisites: none
Sample syllabus: Please see the Past syllabi section below for an indication of the syllabus for this module.

In the late 1920s, the British phenomenologist Gilbert Ryle ran a lecture course with the title “Bolzano, Brentano, Meinong and Husserl: Four Austrian Realists”. In Oxford, this course was known as “Ryle’s three Austrian mountain railway stations and a parlour game”. This module will revisit two of the Austrian railway stations (Brentano, Husserl) and explore the connections between them. Time permitting, other philosophers in the same tradition, such as Ryle and Sartre, will also be considered. The main topics will be intentionality, consciousness and time-perception, and the module will be essential for anyone who wants to get to grips with the development of continental philosophy. 

Further information

Module aims

This module aims to introduce students into the philosophy of the Phenomenological tradition in particular, and thereby to ‘Continental’ philosophy at large, via an examination of Brentano, Husserl and, time permitting, others such as Ryle or Sartre. The main topics will be intentionality, consciousness, and time-perception.

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:

1) a firm grasp of the philosophical content of certain important developments in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Continental Philosophy, at the foundation of the Phenomenological tradition;

2) an ability to ascertain the significance of works within their philosophical, historical and cultural background;

3) skill in the careful analysis of primary texts from the history of philosophy;

4) an ability to draw ideas and arguments from historical philosophical debates, and to apply these judiciously to contemporary ones.

Past syllabi

7AAN2018 module syllabus 2014-15 (pdf)
7AAN2018 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. 

Blank spaceThe 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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