Undergraduate Modules

This is a concise description of the undergraduate philosophy curriculum for 2021. 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 Introduction to Philosophy

12 Credits (Description from 2022)

The two semester modules at first-year level introduce students to four main subfields of philosophy, namely metaphysics, epistemology, political philosophy and ethics. This module introduces students to two of these subfields, namely epistemology and metaphysics with reference to the work of a range of scholars from the Global South and the West. Students will become acquainted with the nature of philosophical reflection by exploring a number of classical philosophical themes in each subfield. 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 judgment and discernment.

 

FIL 120 Introduction to Philosophy

12 Credits (Description from 2022)

The two semester modules at first-year level introduce students to four main subfields of philosophy, namely metaphysics, epistemology, political philosophy and ethics. This module introduces students to two of these subfields, namely ontology political philosophy and ethics 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 subfield. 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

20 Credits (Description from 2022)

The content of this module engages the historical emergence of contemporary African philosophy in relation to the Western canon. The first quarter traces the history of modern western philosophy, recounting key positions in epistemology (e.g., Descartes, Kant), metaphysics (e.g., Heidegger, Putnam), ethics (e.g., Bentham, Levinas) and political philosophy (e.g., Rawls, Habermas). The content of the second quarter considers recent works of African philosophy, as critical responses to, but also positions independent of, the Western philosophies with regard to epistemology (e.g., Menkiti, Ikuenobe), metaphysics (e.g., Mbiti, Ramose), ethics (e.g., Tut, Gyeke) and political philosophy (e.g., Biko, Fanon).

 

FIL 220 Philosophy in Context

20 Credits (Description from 2022)

In this module contextually relevant aspects of human reality are reflected on through philosophy considered as contextually relevant practice. Students will engage issues of social, political, or economic relevance in contemporary (South) Africa, the Global South and beyond. A range of themes may be investigated, such as structure and agency, social imaginaries, issues of social justice, gender and sexuality, the ethics of science and technology, the role of art and others.The focus is on key themes and debates of contemporary relevance and may include issues from any of the sub-disciplines of philosophy such as political philosophy, moral philosophy, epistemology, aesthetics, philosophy of mind and AI, and philosophy of science.

 

FIL 310 Self and Subjectivity

30 Credits (Description from 2022)

In this module the focus is on understanding humankind, its knowledge and its relation to reality. This module traces the development of the conceptions of ‘self’ and ‘subjectivity’ in any given philosophical tradition in Africa, more generally the Global South or the West, by focusing, among others, on issues such as the nature of the human mind, existentialism, the nature of personal identity, the relation between personal identity and morality, the nature of subjective experience and the issue of free will.

 

FIL 320 Philosophy in Context

30 Credits (Description from 2022)

In this module contextually relevant aspects of human reality are reflected on through philosophy considered as contextually relevant practice. Students will engage issues of social, political, or economic relevance in contemporary (South) Africa, the Global South and beyond. A range of themes may be investigated, such as structure and agency, social imaginaries, issues of social justice, gender and sexuality, the ethics of science and technology, the role of art and others. The focus is on key themes and debates of contemporary relevance and may include issues from any of the sub-disciplines of philosophy such as political philosophy, moral philosophy, epistemology, aesthetics, philosophy of mind and AI, and philosophy of science.

 

ENRICHMENT MODULES

 

Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences

 
FIL 251 Introduction to Moral and Political Philosophy 

10 Credits (2022)

In this module students are equipped with an understanding of the moral issues influencing human agency in economic and political contexts. In particular philosophy equips students with analytical reasoning skills necessary to understand and solve complex moral problems related to economic and political decision making. We demonstrate to students how the most important questions concerning the socio-economic aspects of our lives can be broken down and illuminated through reasoned debate.

Examples of themes which may be covered in the module include justice and the common good, a moral consideration of the nature and role of economic markets on society, issues concerning justice and equality, and dilemmas of loyalty. The works of philosophers covered may for instance include that of Aristotle, Locke, Bentham, Mill, Kant, Rawls, Friedman, Nozick, Bernstein, Dworkin, Sandel, Walzer, MacIntyre, Bujo, Wiredu, and Gyekye.

 

BPE 211 Professional Ethics

6 Credits (2022)

In the first quarter of this module students are equipped with an understanding of the moral issues influencing human agency in economic and political contexts. In particular philosophy equips students with analytical reasoning skills necessary to understand and solve complex moral problems related to economic and political decision making. We demonstrate to students how the most important questions concerning the socio-economic aspects of our lives can be broken down and illuminated through reasoned debate. Examples of themes which may be covered in the module include justice and the common good, a moral consideration of  the nature and role of economic markets on society, issues concerning justice and equality, and dilemmas of loyalty. The works of philosophers covered may for instance include that of Aristotle, Locke, Bentham, Mill, Kant, Rawls, Friedman, Nozick, Bernstein, Dworkin, Sandel, Walzer, MacIntyre, Bujo, Wiredu, and Gyekye. In the second quarter of the module the focus is on professionalism, careers and ethics. Codes of ethics in business and professions, professional codes, as well as ethical issues in the accountancy profession are discussed.

 

Faculty of Health Sciences & Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences

 
FIL 155 Introduction to the Philosophy of Medicine 

6 Credits (2022)

This module consists of two components: firstly, a philosophy of science component which provides an introduction to scientific reasoning and philosophical debates on scientific method; and secondly, a philosophy of medicine component which focuses on the relation between causation and the concept of disease and on the nature of evidence-based medicine.

 

Degree Programmes

 
BSocSci Option: Philosophy, Politics and Economics [PPE]

A PPE qualification is an internationally recognised ‘brand’, respected for its rigorous training, that immediately gives students entrance into a variety of careers related to economic or political policy making, from journalism to diplomatic service. This qualification will enable students, once they are employed in the public or private sector, to respond in a sensitive, rational and innovative manner to moral problems and challenges within their politico-economic context. Please click here to download the pamphlet on the BSocSci Option: Philosophy, Politics and Economics Degree Course.

 

Other Degree Courses

Published by Rene Le Roux

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