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.
Fall semester 2018
Introduction to Philosophy FLFI.00.113 (6 ECTS)
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. The following fields will be covered: Ethics (two topics), Metaphysics (two topics), Epistemology (two topics), Political Philosophy (two topics), Philosophy of Mind (two topics)
Body and Soul in Early Modern British Philosophy FLFI.01.109 (3 ECTS)
The course focuses on the views that early modern British philosophers held on the nature of body and soul.
Bioethics FLFI.02.038 (3 ECTS)
The course will focus on a selection of bioethics topics, from the traditional issues of abortion, euthanasia, organ donation etc., to the more speculative ones pertaining to reproductive technologies, genetics etc. The course employs a problem-based learning methodology which allocates with students the rights and the responsibilities regarding the precise focus, questions and agenda of the seminars. This interdisciplinary course will mostly make use of philosophical bioethics literature but will also include critical materials from social and natural sciences.
Main Topics in Ethics FLFI.02.148 (6 ECTS)
Stijn Van Gorkum
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.
Ethics and Philosophy of Sex FLFI.02.155 (6 ECTS)
The course examines philosophical and ethical questions related to sexuality. We will begin by analyzing the nature of sex, discussing a range of theories of sex including sex as essentially connected to reproduction, sex as a language or expression of love, "plain sex" theories that regard pleasure and desire as essential, and sexuality as a social construct. Then, we will consider more closely the ethics of sexual behaviour. Here we will examine concepts such as perversion and objectification, in particular under the lights of long-standing ethical traditions such as natural law theory, Kantianism, utilitarianism and feminism. In the final part of the course we will examine more specific ethical issues, such as the nature of sexual consent, pornography, and the rights of the disabled to sexual satisfaction.
Parenting: A Practical Philosophy Reading Seminar FLFI.02.163 (3 ECTS)
Parenting has not been an important topic in philosophy texts. Nevertheless, parenting is a universal social practice that certainly deserves thinking about - perhaps even much more so than the many other traditional philosophy topics. During this course we will together read selected articles from various disciplines with the aim of reflecting upon questions like what does it mean to parent (and is it an ethical thing to bring a child into the world in the first place), what are the universal vs culturally specific aspects of parenting, are there any normative aspects, where does the justified dependency/autonomy balance lie in child-parent relationship etc.
Reading Group on Memory, Time and Modernity FLFI.02.165 (3 ECTS)
The course will examine key thinkers who have contributed to philosophical reflections on time such as Augustine, Heidegger, Benjamin and Koselleck. We will ask how conceptions of time are related to temporal distinctions of modern and postmodern. Although the course is open to all students who have already taken some introductory course of philosophy, it is intended for upper-level students.
Philosophy of Biology FLFI.03.084 (3 ECTS)
The course addresses the following topics from the perspective of philosophy of science: different concepts of 'species', the questions related to biological classification, the structure of evolutionary theory, units of natural selection, questions related to the notion of 'gene' etc.
Philosophy of Inductive Risk FLFI.03.104 (3 ECTS)
Inductive risk most generally is the risk that a conclusion made on the basis of empirical data turns out to be incorrect – the risk of accepting the conclusion when it is false or rejecting it when it is true. During this term's research seminar we discuss issues related to the notion of inductive risk in science. What is inductive risk exactly? What is the connection between inductive risk and values? Do values play an inevitable role in science or is value-free science possible?
Introduction to Logic FLFI.04.024 (3 ECTS)
Logic I introduces modern philosophical logic and its use in the analysis of arguments and natural language semantics. The students should acquire a solid understanding of the main notions of formal syntax and semantics. They should also acquire the ability to translate natural language sentences into first-order predicate logic, and reconstruct arguments and test their validity. Students should also acquire the ability to carry out proofs in the object language (FOL).
Logic Seminar FLFI.04.062 (3 ECTS)
The seminar provides students taking the Logic I course with a class in which they can check their understanding of the material taught in the largely online Logic I course. The course introduces modern philosophical logic and its use in the analysis of arguments and natural language semantics via weekly seminars. Students will develop an enhanced understanding of propositional logic, predicate logic, natural deduction and the translation of arguments from a natural language into a formal logic.
Conceptual Ethics FLFI.04.073 (3 ECTS)
Philosophy seems to be a discipline particularly concerned with concepts. These are often "ordinary language concepts", such as knowledge, truth, freedom, or justice. People casually use such terms, yet it is hard to elucidate their meaning in different terms. Much of philosophy appears to be concerned with how to analyse such important concepts. According to another approach to philosophical methodology, however, philosophers should not just analyse ordinary concepts, but evaluate and improve them. It is the latter approach to philosophy - as concerned with evaluating and improving concepts - that will be investigated in this course. We will look into how philosophers could improve concepts for both practical (political, ethical) and theoretical purposes.
Philosophy of Atheism and Agnosticism FLFI.04.074 (3 ECTS)
This course will examine the evidential basis for both atheism and agnosticism, with particular attention paid to the scientific and philosophical arguments offered in favour of those two views. Having passed the course, the students: (a) Understand the arguments for and against central claims regarding atheism and agnosticism. (b) Can critically evaluate those and their own arguments concerning those two views.
Introduction to Estonian Culture FLFI.05.006 (6 ECTS)
The course begins with an overview of some signs in contemporary Estonian culture, and continues to read them in historical perspective, with particular attention to material culture of daily life (food, textiles, housing), transportation and innovation; social and ritual events (country fairs, customs practiced at birth, marriage, death), and the phenomenon of the folk song. The deeper dynamics of Estonian culture are approached through the secular and sacred imprint of colonization, town vs village (city vs rural) dialectics, cultural hybridity, and the perplexities of "becoming modern" in a provincial corner of Europe, recognized by its self-described identity.
Philosophical Disagreements HVFI.01.003 (6 ECTS)
Kadri Simm et al.
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 in the second module.