PHI-10010 - 10 Problems of Philosophy
Coordinator: James Tartaglia Room: CBB 2.014 Tel: +44 1782 7 34315
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 4
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office:

Programme/Approved Electives for 2024/25


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2024/25

This module will introduce students to ten of the most fundamental philosophical problems, and the distinctive way that philosophers approach these problems. Students will acquire a basic understanding of the problems themselves, and the views taken on them by major philosophers. Students will learn to critically assess the various philosophical positions and arguments, and will be encouraged to develop their own personal views. The course incorporates metaphysical problems concerning Free Will and Determinism, Personal Identity, Time, Universals, and Consciousness, as well as epistemological problems concerning Knowledge, Scepticism, and Induction, and problems of philosophical logic concerning Existence.
The ten topic-based lectures are accompanied by ten weekly meetings of small seminar groups. Six of the seminars are devoted to discussion of the topics covered by the module, with quizzes and small group presentations incorporated for the development of oral presentation and team-work skills, all of which are either formatively self- or peer-assessed or summatively assessed through the portfolio. Two of the seminars are dedicated to University-level study such as library and research skills, planning and writing an essay, and two of the seminars are devoted to group exercises, namely tutor-assessed group presenations, and peer-assessment of portfolios.

(1) To introduce the students to some of the main topics in epistemology, metaphysics and philosophical logic.
(2) To introduce the students to philosophical modes of thought.
(3) To introduce the students to core study skills, especially methods of philosophical research, and also to develop some key employability skills.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Describe the distinctive agendas of different areas of philosophy, especially epistemology, metaphysics and philosophical logic: 2
Use library and information retrieval skills. They will be able to identify and access arguments and information from the academic literature, by using the reading lists provided, and also by following up on bibliographical references in the suggested works: 1,2
Reference correctly, using the Harvard system, and will know how to research effectively, use the internet and other web-based resources such as WebCT, and avoid plagiarism: 1,2
Identify principal arguments, summerise and critically engage with texts. They will be able to distinguish between original statements and secondary commentary: 1,2
Build coherent arguments based on the views of various philosophers, and begin to form independent philosophical views and positions, always supported by argument and research: 1,2
Talk about and present complex philosophical ideas, both in formal and informal contexts: 1,2
Plan a programme of research, and organise time effectively to enact this programme: 1,2
Apply philosophical ideas to novel questions, thereby demonstrating robust understanding: 1,2
Define and work with key philosophical concepts, and apply them to ten of the most central problems of philosophy, such as the mind-body problem and the problem of induction: 1,2

Study hours

10 hours attendance at lectures.
10 hours attendance at seminars.
20 hours preparation for seminars.
55 hours study and preparation for Precis and Critique.
55 hours study and preparation for Essay.

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Critique weighted 50%
Precis and Critique of Two Articles
Students will choose two articles from those they have studied by this point in the module. For each, they will write a precis of an argument within the article, followed by a critique. Total length: 1000 words.

2: Essay weighted 50%
1000 word essay.
Students must write on one topic from a list of five questions.