Elective Course in Ancient Philosophy (3 ECTS)
In this seminar, we will take a close look at Plato's Meno, focusing on the epistemological side of this dialogue. We will read the primary text (in combination with relevant passages from Plato's other dialogues), some secondary literature, and a couple of texts from contemporary epistemology. The topics that will be discussed include: Socratic method, Meno's paradox, a priori knowledge and the theory of recollection, the value of knowledge (as compared to true belief), the distinction between knowledge and understanding, and the distinction between (epistemic) justification and explanation.
The Philosophy of Existence (3 ECTS)
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.
Social and Ethical Aspects of Engineering (4 ECTS)
Ave Mets et al.
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.
The Political Philosophy of Hannah Arendt (6 ECTS)
Arendt's reflections on totalitarianism, the banality of evil, freedom, revolution, the rise of the social and the nature of the political mark her as one of the most original thinkers of the twentieth-century. Throughout her work, she focuses on the relationship between the self, the world and the polis - between the person as individual and as citizen - between inclusion in the world and exclusion from it. Linking academic and life experience, Arendt seeks to understand the political questions of her time within the long tradition of political philosophy. The course familiarizes students both with the work of Arendt and its critical reception in subsequent political philosophy.
Main Topics in Ethics (6 ECTS)
Karel Pajus, Stijn Van Gorkum
The course introduces 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.
Metaethics (6 ECTS)
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.
Equality (3 ECTS)
Equality has been an important topic in philosophy texts (as well as others, e.g. religious texts) for a few thousand years. What is the content of this notion? How does one justify equality? Should we rather talk about equality of opportunity, equality of resources or equality of outcomes? If and how should equality be pursued as a social goal? We will be together reading texts from history of philosophy as well as contemporary philosophy (as well as some other disciplines) to find answers to those questions.
Guilt: Conceptual and Moral Aspects (3 ECTS)
Margit Sutrop, Heidy Meriste
As guilt is usually felt in response to one's moral transgressions, it is often viewed as a distinctively moral emotion. In this course, we will explore the connections between guilt and morality in greater detail. Thus, we will consider questions like:
* What is guilt and how does it differ from other related emotions (e.g. shame, regret)?
* Is guilt conceptually tied to morality, or can there also be cases of non-moral guilt?
* Is guilt necessary for morality or could we also conceive a guilt-free morality?
For all the students interested in the subject matter.
Ideological and Historical Foundations of Contemporary Science (3 EAP)
Sciences of earlier societies; conditions for the rise of scientific-technological (technogenic) society from the Antiquity, evolution of scientific questions; conditions for the rise of scientific-technological society from the Middle Ages. For all the students interested in the subject matter.
Steve Fuller's Social Epistemology Reading Group (3 EAP)
The course will focus on reading Steve Fuller, meeting in seminars and discussing the texts. For MA and PhD students who have taken some courses in philosophy of science prior to taking this course.
Why History Matters: The Rational Grounding of Historiography (3 EAP)
Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen, Endla Lõhkivi (March 19-22)
Under the supervision of Guest Professor Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen, contemporary theories, debates and arguments in the philosophy of history and historiography will be discussed.
The course will be based on the book "Postnarrativist Philosophy of Historiography" (Palgrave, MacMillan 2015), and Introduction in Robert Brandom's "Articulating Reasons. An Introduction to Inferentialism" (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).
Philosophical Methodology (3 EAP)
Tuomo Juhani Yli-Vakkuri
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.
Applied Epistemology (6 EAP)
Alexander Davies, Toomas Lott
Epistemology is the study of knowledge and related concepts and practices. Traditional epistemology is abstract, frequently involving the consideration of "far out" thought experiments such as the evil demon who deceives you about everything, broken clocks, stolen Fords, and huge fields of barn facades. Nonetheless a lot of epistemology is applicable and is applied to less bizarre situations and questions: for example, how do you recognize experts, given that you seem to have to be an expert to recognize an expert? What's the difference between a theory you should believe and a conspiracy theory? How does a commitment to making policy decisions democratic square with the need to base policy on the truth (a matter that is not decided by a vote)?
Paradoxes in Philosophy (3 EAP)
In this course we'll examine in great detail some of the most intractable metaphysical paradoxes in philosophy, the kind that have kept philosophers--and logicians and some scientists--confused for many centuries: the Liar, Vagueness, and Material Composition. We will finish the course by considering what these paradoxes mean for our knowledge of reality.
Introduction to Estonian Culture (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.