MA Political Science - Philosophy and Political Theory

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Landmark Papers in Analytic Philosophy

Course unit fact file
Unit code PHIL60312
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course takes a tour through some landmark philosophical papers, ranging across all areas of philosophy. It will introduce you to some texts from areas, authors and epochs that are otherwise underrepresented in our curriculum, and about which a staff member has notable expertise.


This course unit aims to exploit the breadth and depth of research expertise in the Philosophy DA, by offering students a programme of study that is genuinely research-led and which connects with areas of staff members’ ongoing research. The course unit aims to introduce students to some central and classic texts in philosophy, and to develop their ability to interpret and critique those texts in the light of the historical context within which they were written.

Learning outcomes

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


·         Understand and contextualise some key views and arguments of the philosophers and texts studied.

·         Develop their own critical responses to the texts discussed.

·         Present a sustained well-informed and well-organised argument on one of the topics covered.

·         Engage with one another in philosophical discussions a critical yet respectful manner.


On successful completion of this course unit, participants should have developed:

·         Problem solving skills.


Teaching will take place in weekly two-hour seminars. Each week a different tutor will lead the class on an article in an area of philosophy where they have special expertise. Students will be required thoroughly to read the article in advance of the seminar, and to prepare questions or comments on it. The session will then consist of group-based discussion of the article, together with some contextualising from the tutor wherever appropriate. Attendance and preparation are compulsory but not assessed. Marks will be deducted if you fail to attend or prepare without good reason.

Students will also have the opportunity to discuss their private reading and writing assignments one-to-one with the tutor.

Assessment methods

3000 word essay - 100%

Recommended reading

  • Sally Haslanger (2000) “Gender and Race: (What) Are They? (What) Do We Want Them to Be?, Noûs 34 (1):31–55.
  • Kendall L. Walton (1970) “Categories of Art”, The Philosophical Review, Vol. 79, No. 3, pp. 334-367.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 130

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Michael Crawford Unit coordinator

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