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Module descriptions

7AAN2095 Twentieth-Century Continental Philosophy

Credit value: 20
Module tutor: Dr Sacha Golob


• Formative assessment: one 2,000–3,000-word essay, due by the end of the semester or as otherwise instructed.
• Summative assessment: one 4,000-word essay (100%)

Teaching pattern: one weekly one-hour lecture and one weekly one-hour seminar. 
Pre-requisites: none
Sample syllabus: 7AAN2095 module syllabus 2016-17.
Additional information: due to the popularity of this module student demand is likely to be high and as a result not all students may be able to enrol on it. 

The following is a rough outline of the topics and texts to be covered, and some suggested sample reading. 

• Sartre, Being and Nothingness. Main topics: his theory of consciousness, self-consciousness and intentionality, his account of radical freedom and choice, the nature of 'existentialism'. 

• Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception. Main topics: Phenomenology as a philosophical method, the fundamental importance of embodiment and motor skills, the links between Merleau-Ponty’s position and contemporary, analytic philosophy of mind, the implications of his theory for aesthetics. 

• Foucault History of Sexuality vol. 1/Discipline and Punish. Main topics: the nature of power, the rise of biopower in the modern state, the 'invention of sexuality' as a case study in the construction of subjectivity. 

• Sample readings: McCulloch, Using Sartre; Noë Action in Perception (analytic exploration of themes very close to M-P); Foucault, History of Sexuality Vol. 1. 

Further information

Module aims

This module introduces some of the most influential thinkers within modern ‘continental’ philosophy. The course aims both to highlight key points of contact with analytic philosophy, and to capture and analyse some of the features that make the ‘continental’ tradition distinctive.

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:

  • a capacity to acquire a firm grasp of the philosophical content the most important developments in 20th Century philosophy.
  • an ability to ascertain the significance of works within their philosophical, historical and cultural background.
  • skill in the careful analysis of language and argument as a means of exposition, as an instrument of refutation and as a dialectical process of engaging with other philosophers.
Past syllabi

7AAN2095 module syllabus 2014-15 (pdf)

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

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