Courses in English
The Department of Philosophy regularly offers courses in English, which are usually open to everyone, although sometimes they do require advanced knowledge of the discipline. Be sure to also check the Seminars and reading groups section for other regular academic activities which are sometimes given in a less formal manner.
For a full list of courses offered in English by the University please consult this list.
Fall semester 2020
Introduction to Philosophy FLFI.00.113 (6 ECTS)
Fri 10-12 Jakobi 2-336, weeks 2-12
An introduction to a diverse handful of philosophical questions and to the argument-based approach to answering these questions that is typical of contemporary analytic philosophy. For all students interested in the topic. The following fields will be covered:
* Ethics (two topics)
* Metaphysics (two topics)
* Epistemology (two topics)
* Political Philosophy (two topics)
* Philosophy of Mind (two topics)
Introduction to History of Philosophy FLFI.01.111 (6 ECTS)
Roomet Jakapi, Pärtel Piirimäe, Toomas Lott
Tue 16-18 Jakobi 2-337, weeks 2-15
The course focuses on the ideas and arguments of some key thinkers in Ancient Greek and Early Modern Philosophy such as Plato, Sextus Empiricus, Cicero, Descartes, and Locke. More specifically, the course will concentrate on the historical development of skepticism in the context of epistemology, moral and political philosophy. Seminar texts will include both primary and secondary literature.
Nietzsche's Gay Science FLFI.01.120 (3 ECTS)
Wed 16-18 Jakobi 2-337, weeks 2-12
This course will be focused on reading Nietzsche's The Gay Science. We will study the text in its entirety and focus on explicating some key aphorisms. There will be a special emphasis on Nietzsche's conception of self-cultivation.
Memory, History and Tradition FLFI.02.146
Wed 12-14 Jakobi 2-337, weeks 1-15
From the Platonic notion of memory as a wax block to Hegel's historical consciousness and Nietzsche's critique of historicism, the link between past and present has been an object of philosophical debate. The writings of Maurice Halbwachs on collective memory emphasize that memory is not entirely individual, but linked to particular groups. Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics foregrounded the importance of interpretation, tradition and historical consciousness. Freud, on the other hand, was more interested in the traumatic aspect of past experience, rather than the past as a repository of tradition. The course ends with Derrida's hauntology as a substitute for ontology. In our discussions, we will examine what it means to be conscious of the past, to be influenced, determined or even haunted by past events. An underlying theme throughout the course will be the inability to fully capture and represent past experience in the present.
Main Topics in Ethics FLFI.02.148 (6 ECTS)
Semyon Reshenin, Jay Zameska
Mon 16-18 Jakobi 2-337, weeks 2-15
The course introduces the students to the main problems and terms in ethics: what are ethics and morality? Descriptive vs evaluative judgments. The origin of moral norms. Are values subjective or objective? Are moral standards universal or relative to culture? Responsibility. Moral motivation. Self-interest. The course also gives a brief overview of the main theories of ethics: ethics of virtue, utilitarianism, Kantianism, contractualism. In seminars, students read and discuss central texts that deal with the aforementioned topics.
Classics in Moral Philosophy FLFI.02.153 (6 ECTS)
Mon, Thu 12-14 Jakobi 2-337, weeks 2-11
The central focus of this seminar will be David Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature (books 2 and 3). Hume said: "Nothing is more usual in philosophy, and even in common life, than to talk of the combat of passion and reason, to give the preference to reason, and to assert that men are only so far virtuous as they conform themselves to its dictates." Focusing on books 2 and 3 of his Treatise, we will see how Hume's theory of the passions and moral theory aimed to overcome such a simplistic picture of human psychology and moral virtue. We will try to understand and evaluate Hume's famous statements that reason is and ought to be the slave of the passions, and that you cannot derive an 'ought' from an 'is'. We will compare Hume's own picture with contemporary Humean and anti-Humean approaches to practical philosophy, as regards the analysis of emotions, the theory of moral judgment, and the nature of virtue and vice.
Epistemology FLFI.02.156 (6 ECTS)
Mon, Thu 18-20, Jakobi 2-336, weeks 2-14
The course covers topics considered standard within an introduction to epistemology course. These include: the analysis of knowledge, the analysis of justification, sources of knowledge, scepticism, disagreement, the ethics of belief, the role of context in knowledge, amongst others. In order to join the course, some previous knowledge of philosophy is expected.
Social and Ethical Aspects of Engineering FLFI.02.160 (3 ECTS)
Kadri Simm et al.
100% Web-based, weeks 4-16
Social and value dimensions of technologies. Overview of ethical theories. Environmental ethics and engineering. Research ethics and professional ethics. Moral relativism and cultural context of engineering. For everybody interested in the topics.
What’s the Point of Teaching Ethics? FLFI.02.167 (3 ECTS)
Wed 14-16 Jakobi 2-327, weeks 2-14
The course is dedicated to discussing the foundations, functions and mechanisms of ethics as a field and practice. Interdisciplinary sources from moral philosophy to moral psychology and beyond will inform our debates. This will be a reading-group seminar.
Philosophy of Biology Reading Group FLFI.03.094 (3 ECTS)
Edit Talpsepp-Randla, Eveli Neemre
Tue 14-16 Jakobi 2-337, weeks 3-12
The reading group is a preparatory course for an intensive workshop "Biology as Process: Philosophical Background and Implications" with John Dupre in September 2020, see more on https://socialsciences.exeter.ac.uk/sociology/staff/dupre/. The topics to be discussed range from the question of taxonomic monism vs pluralism to the criticism of evolutionary psychology, values in science, human nature etc. The focus is asking those questions from the perspective that sees the ontology of biological entities as processes, not static objects.
Jacob Stegenga’s Medical Nihilism FLFI.03.111 (3 EAP)
Tue 12-14 Jakobi 2-337, weeks 2-15
The course aims to introduce an important recent development in philosophy of science and philosophy of medicine — the argument Jacob Stegenga presents in defence of medical nihilism. The course develops students' abilities to work with primary sources in philosophy of science, to assess them critically, and to see them in a wider context.
Introduction to Logic FLFI.04.078 (6 EAP)
Indrek Lõbus, Sergei Sazonov
Tue 10-12 Jakobi 2-336, weeks 2-15
This course introduces the systems of propositional logic and first order predicate logic and their respective model theoretic semantics and deductive systems. It is explained how logic is used to reconstruct and analyse arguments and the semantics of natural language. For all the students interested in the subject matter.
Logic II FLFI.04.087 (6 EAP)
100% Web-based, weeks 2-15
The course will introduce some of the more important additions to propositional and first-order predicate logic as well as some philosophically interesting alternatives to classical logic. The course will explain both how to use these modifications to check the validity of arguments and the point of doing so. For all students who have successfully passed some introductory course in logic.
Phenomenology and Historical Thinking in European Intellectual History FLFI.05.030 (6 EAP)
Mon 10-12 Jakobi 2-337, weeks 2-16
The course explores intersections between phenomenology and modern historical thinking. With that aim in mind, the phenomenological movement emerging during the first half of the 20th century is set within the context of modern historical thought that had shaped European intellectual scenery since the second half of the 18th century. By first mapping the main questions and themes of historicist thinkers, such as Johann Gottfried Herder, Leopold von Ranke, and Wilhelm Dilthey, the course explores the reception of modern historical thinking among phenomenologists like Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, and others. Considering how the two major intellectual strands in modern thought were initially viewed as conflicting and mutually exclusive, the course traces ways in which phenomenology ultimately incorporated historical themes and questions, paving the way to a particular phenomenology of history.
Philosophical Disagreements HVFI.01.003 (6 ECTS)
Kadri Simm et al.
Thu 16-18 Jakobi 2-327, weeks 1-15 (or fully Web-based)
Elective course for PhD students from all over the University. The first module focuses on critical thinking and argumentation skills (3 ECTS), the second module introduces the students to various interdisciplinary philosophical topics (3 ECTS). The course has no prerequisite subjects. It is possible to participate in only one module of the course (Argumentation Theory or Philosophical Disagreements); passing the first module is not required for participation at the second module. For doctoral students from all specialties, MA students in philosophy and related fields.
Individual Study in Philosophy for Visiting Students FLFI.00.118 (6 ECTS)
Francesco Orsi et al.
This course allows visiting students to work on a philosophy project (a paper, part of their thesis, etc.) under the individual supervision of a member of staff, to be chosen from the current list of staff members, with previous agreement by the teacher in charge (Francesco Orsi). Only for visiting students, all study levels.
(only for graduate students in philosophy)
Research Seminar FLFI.00.116 (6 ECTS)
Francesco Orsi et al.
Thu 14-16 Jakobi 2-327, weeks 2-16
Lecturers from the different Chairs will introduce students in their first semester to the research topics that they are working on or have worked on in the near past. Each meeting will be devoted to discussing a text (or more texts) written by the lecturer themselves or by other relevant authors. Compulsory for 1st year MA students in philosophy, optional for visiting MA students in philosophy.
MA Seminar FLFI.00.098 (3 ECTS per semester)
Francesco Orsi, Alexander Davies
Fri 12-14 Jakobi 2-336 (1st year), Jakobi 2-337 (2nd year), weeks 1-15
The MA seminar is structured in four parts covering four semesters. The first part consists of seminars training students for basic study and research skills (including how to approach your research topic, how to find relevant literature, how to read research literature, how to present your work in written and oral form, how to find and apply for conferences on your topic, etc.). The second part is more specifically aimed at training presentation and question&answer skills. In the third and fourth part students present their work in progress and give feedback to their peers. During the two semesters, specific seminars are held to provide professional insight and practical help with PhD and non-academic options after MA studies. Compulsory for MA students in philosophy, optional for visiting MA students in philosophy.
Doctoral Seminar FLFI.00.016 (2,5 ECTS per semester)
Wed 16-18 Jakobi 2-336, weeks 1-16
Planning, writing and discussing philosophical papers. Compulsory for doctoral students in philosophy, optional for visiting PhD students in philosophy.
Individual Study in History of Philosophy / Practical Philosophy /Philosophy of Science / Theoretical Philosophy I-III
Francesco Orsi et al.
The first specialisation course provides the student with an overview of the field; the content of the course will be composed individually, depending on the student's previous background.
In the second course, to be completed in the second term, the composition of courses and research work should pay special attention to the background necessary for developing the envisaged MA project. Thus, in this course, the ECTS should be acquired for research assignments, course work and individual reading courses that deepen the student's knowledge of a specific narrow field of research.
In the third course, to be completed in the third term, the course should now be composed primarily of work done in the research group, individual reading and research assignments that are substantial for the MA thesis.
All individual study has to be planned together with one’s supervisor and recorded in the student’s semester plan. These courses do not require pre-registration in SIS.
Only for MA students in philosophy.
Readings in History of Philosophy / Practical Philosophy /Philosophy of Science / Theoretical Philosophy (6 ECTS each)
Francesco Orsi et al.
Individual (reading or combined) courses planned together with one’s supervisor(s) and the relevant Chairs. These courses do not require pre-registration in SIS.
Only for PhD students in philosophy.