BASS Politics and Criminology

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
20th Century Analytical Philosophy

Course unit fact file
Unit code PHIL20242
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


What is analytic philosophy? What is its nature and what are its methods? In this course we will seek to answer these questions by examining key contributions from leading historical figures who shaped the evolution of the discipline. The course will begin with the origins of the tradition in the work of Russell, Frege, and Wittgenstein – examining what was distinctive about their approaches and ideas – before charting their influence over subsequent philosophers throughout the twentieth century and until the present day.


The course aims to:

  • provide an understanding of the nature and development of the analytic tradition in philosophy
  • provide historical background for some of the contemporary debates in the analytic tradition
  • introduce students to some of the key writings in the tradition
  • introduce students to some of the techniques and methods of analytic philosophy

Learning outcomes

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

  • familiarity with some of the major strands of philosophy in the analytic 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
Fraser Macbride Unit coordinator

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