Undergraduate Modules

This is a concise description of the under-graduate philosophy curriculum for 2019. While course titles will remain constant, the specific course content as described below may vary from year to year depending on our teaching capacity and the research interests being pursued by various staff members.

 

FIL 110 Metaphysics and epistemology

The two semester modules at first-year level introduce students to the four main branches of philosophy as understood by the department of philosophy at the University of Pretoria, namely metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and political philosophy. This module introduces students to two of these branches, namely epistemology and metaphysics with reference to the work of a range of scholars from the Global South and the West. Through an introduction to the history of philosophy students will become acquainted with the nature of philosophical reflection by exploring a number of classical philosophical themes in each of these two branches. Throughout the module there is an emphasis on developing those critical thinking, reading and writing skills that are required in philosophy, while students become acquainted with the power of critique as critical judgment and discernment.

 

FIL 120 Ethics and political philosophy

The two semester modules at first-year level introduce students to the four main branches of philosophy as understood by the department of philosophy at the University of Pretoria, namely metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and political philosophy. This module explores the relationship between three of these branches, namely ethics, metaphysics and political philosophy and the emphasis is on texts by African and Western scholars. Students will become acquainted with the nature of philosophical reflection by exploring a number of classical philosophical themes in each of the three branches. Throughout the module there is an emphasis on developing those critical thinking, reading and writing skills that are required in philosophy, while students become acquainted with the power of critique as critical judgment and discernment.

 

FIL 210 Contesting modernities

This course introduces and explores Modernity as a both a culturo-historical phenomenon and as a philosophical category which is instrumental in explaining the encounter between the colonial European civilization and the native civilisations of the colonised, with particular reference to the African experience. We conceptually sketch the nature of Euro-American Modernity, African Colonial Modernity, the linkages between these two modernities, as well as discontinuities and contestations within and between them. The epistemological and socio-ontological ramifications of these are highlighted as we focus on the philosophic dimensions of the historical-political developments surrounding these contestations. Pivotal to our explorations is the nature of the self-knowledge (subjectivity) of a postcolonial subject, his/her existence in the “twoness” of a world framed by the culturo-intellectual reality of the entanglement of Western and African  Modernity. The works of Emmanuel Kant, Georg W. F. Hegel, Jéan-Paul Sartre, Frantz Fanon, Steve Biko and Kwame A. Appiah serve as points of reference in this critical study.

 

FIL 220 Philosophy in context

This module explores the relationship between three main branches of philosophy, namely metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. Situated in the field of philosophy of mind, it explores a thematic that is of global socio-political relevance, namely the ethics of artificial intelligence with specific reference to the moral status of autonomous weapon systems.

 

FIL 310 Self and subjectivity

This module explores the relation between contemporary metaphysics and political philosophy. The focus of the module as a whole is philosophical anthropology and contemporary metaphysics, and seeks to interpret philosophically the facts that the sciences have discovered concerning the human condition with reference to the work of Sartre, Foucault, Bourdieu and Agamben.

 

FIL 320 Philosophy in context

In this module students will philosophically engage issues of socio-political relevance in contemporary (South) Africa, poised at the intersection of three main branches of philosophy, namely ethics, (African) political philosophy and epistemology. While the first term of the module explores the discourse on ‘epistemologies of the South’, the second term is situated at the intersection of economic anthropology, moral philosophy and political philosophy.

Published by Keolebogile Mbebe

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