Examples of MA courses
Below are examples of MA level courses that we gave for the academic year (2018/2019) .
For a full list of courses offered in English by the University please consult this list.
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.
FLFI.01.105 The Philosophy of Existence (3 ECTS)
Thu 14-16 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.02.154 Metaethics (6 ECTS)
Mon 14-16 (Jakobi 2-337), Wed 14-16 (Jakobi 2-336)
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.02.164 A World Without Morality? (3 ECTS)
Tue 12-14, Jakobi 2-327
The seminar will involve reading and critically discussing a series of texts on the following questions: Is a world without morality (without moral thought, concepts, sentiments, institutions etc.) possible and desirable? What would be lost? What would be gained? What is the peculiar role of morality in our individual and social lives? Is there room for a reduction of morality's importance? Is there room for different kinds of morality? The texts will be philosophical, but will include references to relevant scientific disciplines and theories (like psychology and evolutionary theory). For advanced BA and graduate students interested in the topic; philosophical background is desirable.
FLFI.02.166 From Human Vulnerability to Flourishing and beyond. Philosophy of Martha Nussbaum (3 ECTS)
Tue 16-18, Jakobi 2-337
Martha Nussbaum is undoubtedly one of the most influential amongst contemporary liberal philosophers. Her work is wide-ranging and interdisciplinary to the core as she has researched, taught and written on topics ranging from classics and literary theory, law, human and social development to issues in contemporary moral and political philosophy. During this course we will together read articles and chapters from a selection of her publications with the aim of gaining insights into her broad and influential corpus. Criticisms of Nussbaum will also be given space. For all the students interested in the subject matter.
FLFI.03.105 Science and the Deep Past (3 ECTS)
March 18-21, Jakobi 2-114
The deep past is difficult to study: the remnants of it are often scattered and incomplete, and the relevant sciences (palaeontology, archaeology, geology) cannot perform experiments. What explains the success of these sciences in the face of such challenges? Is there anything distinctive about historical sciences compared to other sciences? What do such sciences teach us about the nature of history? Are there lessons to be drawn about knowledge generally from our knowledge of the past?
For all the students interested in the subject matter. Participants are expected to read the book before the workshop: Currie, Adrian 2018. Rock, Bone and Ruin: An Optimist's Guide to the Historical Sciences MIT Press.
FLFI.04.018 Philosophical Methodology (3 ECTS)
Tue 14-16 Jakobi 2-337
The course gives an overview of various philosophical methods and asks if there is something that is distinctive about them when compared to scientific methods. For MA students in philosophy.
FLFI.04.054 Formal Semantics (6 ECTS)
Mon 12-14 Jakobi 2-337, Wed 12-14 Jakobi 2-428
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.
FLFI.04.068 Philosophy of Language (6 ECTS)
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.
FLFI.04.075 Intellectual Conduct (3 ECTS)
Wed 16-18 Jakobi 2-337
In this course we focus on the issue of how to conduct one's intellectual life. More specifically, we'll consider these fundamental themes: Knowledge, Truth, Evidence, Rationality, and Belief; Group Disagreements; Disagreement with or among Experts; Special Problems with Evidence; Cognitive and Social Bias; and Religious belief. For all MA and PhD students interested in the subject matter.
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 ECTS 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.