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BAEcon Economics and Finance

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
20th Century Analytical Philosophy

Unit code PHIL20242
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Philosophy
Available as a free choice unit? No


Analytical (or analytic) philosophy is one of the most vibrant traditions in contemporary Western philosophy. We will look at a selection of leading figures in this tradition, including those who started it around the beginning of the 20th century and those who contributed to its development and to the different forms it took in the ensuing decades. We will study some of their seminal works and important problems, methods, techniques and principles that shaped the tradition during the 20th century and that continue to shape it in the 21st. Some emphasis will be laid upon analytical philosophy’s use of symbolic logic as a tool of clarification, analysis and problem-solving. Topics and philosophers covered will vary from year to year and may include (but are not limited to) the metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of science, logic, language, mind and action found in Gottlob Frege, G. E. Moore, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Moritz Schlick, Rudolf Carnap, Otto Neurath, Susan Stebbing, Dorothy Wrinch, C. G. Hempel, Alice Ambrose, Margaret MacDonald, J. L. Austin, Gilbert Ryle, A. J. Ayer, W. V. O. Quine, H. P. Grice, P. F. Strawson, Elizabeth Anscombe, Donald Davidson, Ruth Barcan Marcus, Mary Hesse, Hilary Putnam, Bernard Williams, Richard Rorty, Saul Kripke, David Lewis.


Pre-Requisites: 20 PHIL credits at Level 1

20 PHIL credits at Level 1.


The course aims to:

- provide an understanding of the nature and development of the analytical tradition in philosophy

- provide historical background for some of the contemporary debates in the analytical tradition

- help students to understand some of the central writings in the tradition

- introduce students to some of the techniques and methods associated with the analytical tradition in philosophy

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course unit, students will be able to demonstrate:
- familiarity with different strands of philosophy in the analytical tradition

- appreciation of (some of) the major issues discussed in this tradition

- informed criticism of (some of) the most important positions taken on these issues

- familiarity with the nature of (some of) the techniques and methods associated with the tradition as well as their scope and limits

Teaching and learning methods

There will be a mixture of lectures and tutorials.

Please note the information in scheduled activity hours are only a guidance and may change.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Group/team working
Oral communication
Problem solving
Written communication

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 67%
Written assignment (inc essay) 33%

Feedback methods

The School of Social Sciences (SoSS) is committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to students on their academic progress and achievement, thereby enabling students to reflect on their progress and plan their academic and skills development effectively. Students are reminded that feedback is necessarily responsive: only when a student has done a certain amount of work and approaches us with it at the appropriate fora is it possible for us to feed back on the student's work. The main forms of feedback on this course are written feedback responses to assessed essays and exam answers.

We also draw your attention to the variety of generic forms of feedback available to you on this as on all SoSS courses. These include: meeting the lecturer/tutor during their office hours; e-mailing questions to the lecturer/tutor; asking questions from the lecturer (before and after lecture); presenting a question on the discussion board on Blackboard; and obtaining feedback from your peers during tutorials.

Recommended reading

Bertrand Russell, 'The Philosophy of Logical Analysis', final chapter of Russell’s
History of Western Philosophy (London: Allen & Unwin, 1946).
John Skorupski, English-Language Philosophy 1750-1945 (Oxford, 1993).
Anthony Kenny, A New History of Western Philosophy, Volume 4: Philosophy in the Modern World (Oxford, 2007)

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Michael Crawford Unit coordinator

Additional notes


20 PHIL credits at Level 1.

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