PHIL 151/3.0 Great Works of Philosophy
Philosophy is generally taken to be the study of the fundamental nature of the world, thought, and action. However, throughout its history, philosophy has understood its own aims and methods in different ways. This course aims to explore many, though far from all, of the changing and varied views on what constitutes philosophy and its relevant practices over time.
This will be achieved by closely reading quite short, yet significant, extracts from various ‘great works’ of philosophy, approaching each text with the questions: what counts as philosophy, what is the aim and method of philosophy? In particular, reflecting on what constitutes the philosophical practices, that is, the doings of philosophy itself, or the application of a philosophical theory. It is an opportunity to have an introductory taste of a broad variety of philosophical approaches, styles, and traditions, and to gain the appropriate initial resources and skills to further explore areas of interest beyond the course.
By the end of this course successful learners will be able to:
- Closely read philosophical texts, in order to identify, discuss, and assess the philosophical arguments therein.
- Discuss and evaluate philosophical ideas, practices and arguments
- Identify and explain some of the various philosophical aims and practices found throughout the history of philosophy, and their relationship to one another.
- Clearly communicate complex knowledge in various settings, applying both recognised formal academic approaches, along with creative and reflective ones.
- Develop the basic skills of academic philosophy writing.
Experiential Learning Opportunities
Previous examples of Experiential Learning Opportunities for this course include a visit to the National Gallery of Scotland to observe the connection between philosophical romanticism and romantic artworks, along with students creating and their own philosophical artworks; and a visit to Bodhisattva Buddhist Centre. Both provided students to analyse and reflect on what constitutes philosophy and/or a philosophical practice.