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Unit information: Introduction to Philosophy B in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Introduction to Philosophy B
Unit code PHIL10006
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Alan Wilson
Open unit status Not open
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School/department Department of Philosophy
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Unit Information

This unit provides students with an introduction to some of the central debates and issues in practical philosophy, in particular in moral philosophy and political philosophy. The main aims are to give students a basic understanding of the issues in question, as well as to help them acquire and sharpen the necessary critical skills in reading, writing and argument to engage with the debates, and develop their own views in dialogue with them. The unit will take the form of an introduction to the three main divisions in moral philosophy – metaethics, moral theory, and applied ethics – as well as some of the central concepts of political philosophy. These will be approached through the reading of a number of important articles and extracts, including extracts from some of the central texts in the history of moral and political philosophy. Study is primarily theme-based. At the end of the unit, students should have a clear grasp of the nature of the divisions contemporary ethics, their relationship to one another, and their philosophical grounding. They should also have an understanding of the way in which moral philosophers apply the principles and conclusions that are derived from moral theories to particular contemporary moral problems, in order to yield practical conclusions about what we should and shouldn’t do. Finally, they should have a clear understanding of the argument about political legitimacy outlined by the social contract tradition in political philosophy.

Your learning on this unit

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

(1) demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the key historical texts covered.

(2) demonstrate familiarity with some key secondary literature on these texts, and be able to engage critically with it.

(3) engage critically with the authors’ positions and arguments.

(4) demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the key issues in moral and political philosophy covered.

(5) demonstrate familiarity with some key contemporary literature on these issues, and be able to engage critically with it.

(6) be in a position to relate the philosophical issues discussed to the texts read.

How you will learn

Lectures, small group work, individual exercises, seminars and virtual learning environment.

How you will be assessed

Summative assessment: 3 hour Exam (100%) [ILOs 1-6]


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. PHIL10006).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.