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.
Philosophy Courses Held in English: Spring 2021
FLFI.01.105 The Philosophy of Existence (3 ECTS)
Wed 16-18 Jakobi 2-337
In the course of reading major texts of the philosophy of existence, the following topics will be focused on: (1) The cultural and philosophical context the philosophy of existence grows out of; (2) The fundamental philosophical problems and questions pertaining to the philosophy of existence; (3) The place of the philosophy of existence in the wider context of modern philosophy. For everybody interested in the topic.
FLFI.01.111 Introduction to History of Philosophy (6 ECTS)
Roomet Jakapi et al.
Web seminars Tue 16-18
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. For everybody interested in the topic.
FLFI.01.111 Ancient Epistemology (6 ECTS)
Web seminars Wed 18-20
The course focuses on the theories of belief and knowledge developed by pre-Socratic philosophers, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Epicureans, Stoics, and Sceptics. Among others, we will cover the following topics: What's the difference between knowledge and true belief? Is there a distinction between knowledge, expertise, and understanding? What is the relationship between knowledge and happiness and good life? Are there moral experts? Is it possible to avoid skepticism? Do different epistemological views have different ontological implications? For everybody interested in the topic, esp. Classics and History students.
FLFI.01.123 Introduction to the Philosophy of Young Martin Heidegger (3 ECTS)
Wed 14-16 Jakobi 2-337
The course focuses on young Heidegger's quest for philosophy. Through reading Heidegger's earliest lecture courses, we will aim to understand how Heidegger re-thinks philosophy. We will map his criticism of the 'tradition' as well as outline his way(s) towards his own positive account(s). Based on our reading we will then consider critically some dominant secondary interpretations of Heidegger's philosophy. For everybody interested in the topic.
FLFI.02.142 Political Philosophy Reading Group I: Power, Politics and the State, Part 1 (3 ECTS)
Wed 12-14 Jakobi 2-337
The topic of the weekly seminar for spring semester 2021 (3 credits) will be power, politics and the state, with readings by Hannah Arendt (Origins of Totalitarianism), Carl Schmitt (Concept of the State; Political Theology), Michel Foucault (Discipline and Punish), Georgio Agamben (Homo Sacer) and Judith Butler (Frames of War). For everybody interested in the topic.
FLFI.02.142 Political Philosophy Reading Group I: Democratic Authority, Part 2 (3 ECTS)
Wed 14-16 Jakobi 2-336
The topic of the seminar for spring semester 2021 (3 credits) will be David Estlund's book "Democratic Authority: A Philosophical Framework". Critics of democracy often argue that democracy gives political power to ordinary people who have no special knowledge about political matters and, hence, democratic governments should tend to make poor decisions. Estlund argues against this claim and tries to show that democracy is, in fact, more capable of making good decisions than its alternatives and that this epistemic virtue of democracy is an important part of its claim to legitimacy. This book was a huge influence on modern debates about democratic theory and is essential for understanding them. The seminar will be of interest to anyone studying political philosophy and/or political science.
FLFI.02.143 History of Political Thought (6 ECTS)
Mon 12-14 Jakobi 2-336
Beginning with Greek tragedy, the course will examine fundamental questions in the long tradition of political thought. Who is a citizen? Why should we obey the law? When is civil disobedience higher than the law? What is freedom and how is related to equality? What is political obligation? Why do individuals have the right to be treated with dignity and respect? Comprised of three parts: ancient, medieval and modern; the readings are selections from classical authors, rather than from secondary sources. Basic concepts such as justice, the rule of law, citizenship, power, liberty, equality, reason and representative government are traced from their origins in Greek thought to their development in the Renaissance to show how they guide political thinking today. For everybody interested in the topic.
FLFI.02.154 Metaethics (6 ECTS)
Tue 10-12, Thu 14-16 Jakobi 2-337
What is it to make a moral judgment? On the one hand, moral judgments are an expression of our emotional and practical subjectivity. They certainly can express our attitudes and lead us to action. Yet they are not treated as mere matters of taste, and they seem to be objectively true or false, regardless of what anyone in particular may think. Analyzing this tension, the course will give a critical overview of the main questions and theories in contemporary metaethics, and relating these theories to issues in philosophy of language, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind. For everybody interested in the topic (some previous knowledge of ethics is expected).
FLFI.02.160 Social and Ethical Aspects of Engineering (3 ECTS)
Kadri Simm et al.
100% Web-based (Moodle)
The course consists of two modules. We start with an introduction to and overview of ethical theories and their relevance to engineering ethics. For the second module, the students have to choose 6 themes from the selection of following topics: (all focusing on the social and ethical aspects of particular technologies): automatisation, biomedical technologies, surveillance, AI, military, sex and technologies, populations and technology, costs of technologies. For all non-philosophers interested in the topics.
FLFI.02.177 Public Health Ethics (3 ECTS)
Kadri Simm, Jay Zameska
Thu 16-18, Jakobi 2-327
The course will focus on the many ethical, as well as interdisciplinary (meaning political, epistemic, medical) topics that the practice of public health raises in contemporary world. Should vaccination be compulsory? Is taxing sugary drinks fair and does it help against growing obesity? What kind of political power should public health authorities justifiably have when epidemics strike? For everybody interested in the topics.
FLFI.02.178 Solving eHealth Challenges: Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Ethics (5 ECTS)
Independent work at Moodle (weeks 24-30), two-day workshop on week 36
The course is an online interdisciplinary training program about eHealth sector involving academia, public health administration, SMEs, startups, entrepreneurs, and health business consultants. Within this course, students from the three different universities (La Salle Campus Barcelona - Ramon Llull University (URL) - Spain, University of West Scotland (UWS) - Scotland; and University of Tartu (UT) - Estonia) will work together in interdisciplinary teams with the main objective of solving a real eHealth challenge.
For everybody interested in the topics.
FLFI.03.084 Philosophy of Biology (3 EAP)
Tue 14-16, Jakobi 2-336
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, the questions related to the notion of 'gene' etc. For all the students interested in the subject matter.
FLFI.03.113 Does Being Biological Exclude Being Socially Constructed? (6 EAP)
Fri 10-12, Jakobi 2-337
It is a common claim that one or another human trait is socially constructed. It is also a common claim that one or another human trait is biological, where often this second claim is based on the findings of empirical science. And it tends to be assumed that if a trait is shown to be biological then it is also shown to be not socially constructed. In this course we explore the reasons why this need not be the case. In an empirically informed manner, we will disentangle the different senses of being biological. We will discuss the different senses of being socially constructed. We will see that being biological and being socially constructed need not be mutually exclusive, given many of these different senses. For all MA and doctoral students interested in the topic.
FLFI.04.054 Philosophy of Mind Reading Group I (3 EAP)
Bruno Mölder, Jimena Clavel Vázquez
Thu 12-14 Jakobi 2-322
In this reading group, we will study D.D. Hutto & E. Myin’s book Evolving Enactivism: Basic Minds Meet Content that advocates an enactive turn in cognitive science. Hutto and Myin present a radical version of enactivism according to which basic mental processes are not contentful. This kind of anti-representationalism is one of the most debated issues in the current philosophy of mind. The reading group prepares the students for the upcoming Frege lectures by Daniel Hutto that will be held in Tartu in 2021. For advanced BA students and graduate students interested in the subject matter.
Formal Semantics FLFI.04.054 (6 EAP)
Mon 16-18, Thu 10-12 Jakobi 2-337, weeks 25-34
Formal semantics is the empirical project of providing and testing precise hypotheses about the semantic properties of linguistic expressions. These hypotheses are stated using the tools of formal logic and some related areas of mathematics. The course will introduce the methods of formal semantics by working through a variety of examples of linguistic expression, their semantic behaviour and attempts to construct models of this behaviour in light of the available evidence. For all the students interested in the subject matter.
Formal Semantics: Supplement FLFI.04.077 (3 EAP)
Mon 16-18, Thu 10-12 Jakobi 2-337, weeks 35-39
Supplement course for all the students taking the main course in Formal Semantics (FLFI.04.054).
FLFI.04.068 Philosophy of Language (6 EAP)
Mon 18-20, Thu 18-20 Jakobi 2-336
The course covers main issues in the philosophy of language, introducing the theories of meaning, semantics, and communication. For all the students interested in the subject matter, prior experience in logic is an advantage.
FLFI.04.089 Social Epistemology: Knowledge and Rationality, Identity and Social Justice (6 EAP)
Tue 12-14 Jakobi 2-337
Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that studies concepts such as knowledge, rationality, and belief. Traditionally, (anglophone) epistemology has focused upon the idealised individual - paying little attention to the social world in which all of us carry out our everyday, intellectual lives. In this course we put the abstractions and idealisations behind us to look at the relationship between epistemology, systems of power and injustice, identity, and personal well-being. Topics covered may include: epistemic injustice; conspiracy theorising, terrorism, and democracy; trust, distrust, and self-trust; intellectual virtue and vice; medical epistemology; feminist epistemology; race, ethnicity, power, and ignorance. For all the students interested in the subject matter.
FLFI.04.089 Philosophy of Mental Health (3 EAP)
Wed 10-12 Jakobi 2-336
Mental health and mental illness are rich grounds for philosophical discussion. Questions about how we conceive mental illness and disorder relate closely to central issues in the philosophy of mind. Questions about rationality under the effects of mental illness have significant implications in epistemology. Questions about diagnosis and treatment lie at the intersection of normative and applied ethics. Beyond these relatively abstract concerns, however, mental health and mental illness are of profound and urgent importance to social and individual experience - discussion of which requires care and sensitivity. In this class, we shall explore the philosophical questions around mental health and consider their significance in the real world through key texts on topics such as: conceptions of mental illness and disorder; ethics and psychiatry; mental health, knowing, and rationality; delusions; psychiatry and epistemic injustice. For all the students interested in the subject matter.
FLFI.04.091 Common Themes in Perception and Imagination (6 ECTS)
Jimena Clavel Vázquez
Mon 14-16 Jakobi 2-337
In this course we will discuss common topics to the philosophy of imagination and of perception. We will begin by discussing different views of perception and their content, arguments from illusion and hallucination, imagination and the different processes and states associated with it, the case of mental imagery, and the interaction between perception and imagination. For all students interested in the topic.
FLFI.05.031 Climate Crisis, the Anthropocene, and Contemporary Historical Thought (6 ECTS)
Mon 10-12 Jakobi 2-337
Today's environmental crisis in which humans are increasingly viewed as actors on a planetary scale, shaping and impacting manifold natural systems, has given rise to the hypothesis that we have entered a new geological era, the Anthropocene. This concept has elicited a range of scholarly responses and proposals across humanities and social sciences attempting to negotiate the relationship between the human and the natural. Against this broader background, this seminar course examines current trends in history and philosophy of history. For everybody interested in the topic, esp. philosophy and history students.
HVFI.01.002 Research Integrity: Framework Requirements, Values and Principles of Action (6 ECTS)
Margit Sutrop et al.
Thu 14-18 Jakobi 2-336
The aim of the course is to provide participants with an overview of the key issues of research integrity: making decisions about the authorship of a scientific publication in multi-author publications, obtaining informed consent, processing data, ensuring the protection of privacy and personal data of the subjects involved in the study, obtaining necessary permissions, consents and ethics committee approvals for research and understanding their meaning. The entire course is supported by an e-learning environment that brings together materials that are relevant to different fields of science. From them, the doctoral student chooses 6 EAP worth of assignments. The course is structured in such a way that doctoral students can choose topics and tasks appropriate for their specialty and specifics of research there. The course also includes seminars where doctoral students from different disciplines can experience disciplinary differences in interpreting the Code of Conduct for Research Integrity. For all doctoral students interested in the topic.
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)
MA Seminar FLFI.00.098 (3 ECTS per semester)
Roomet Jakapi, Simon Barker, Jimena Clavel Vázquez
Fri 12-14 Jakobi 2-337 (1st year), Jakobi 2-336 (2nd year)
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,
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.
FLFI.00.097 Practice (6 ECTS )
Practice is a work-related learning experience that follows university regulations and is guided by a tutor. All activities should be agreed prior with the practice coordinator Indrek Lõbus (indrek.lobus [ät] ut.ee). Before practice, the student must compile a goal driven practice plan. After practice, the student must submit a report which includes self-reflection. Finding a practice base is the responsibility of the student and is part of the practice (how to find a job). Tasks and/or placement will be arranged individually: please contact the instructor.
Only for MA students in philosophy.
Additional info and late registrations:
Coordinator Ruth Jürjo
tel (+372) 737 5314
ruth.jurjo [ät] ut.ee