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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Introduction to Philosophy: Central Issues
Module Code TP132
School 59
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Ian Leask
Semester 2: Ian Leask
Autumn: Ian Leask
Module TeachersIan Leask
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 7.5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module provides a formal and systematic introduction to important themes, issues and concepts in Western philosophy. Grounded in the history of the topic, the module will examine how different philosophers, from ancient through to contemporary periods, have approached fundamental questions regarding the nature of reality, values, and truth. As well as considering the emergence of Western philosophy, students will consider a range of different arguments regarding values, truth, reality, the self, the existence of god, and the organisation of society. The module aims to provide a solid foundation for subsequent study.

Learning Outcomes

1. comprehend central issues and themes in the history of Western philosophy;
2. situate and assess these issues and themes in their wider historical and cultural context;
3. understand the wider social, political and cultural significance of these issues and themes;
4. engage in close analysis and interpretation of important philosophical texts;
5. develop and demonstrate enhanced analytical and interpretative skills;
6. enjoy an enhanced appreciation of key elements in Western intellectual culture;
7. develop enhanced insight and reflexivity regarding their own values, principles and outlook;
8. synthesize their knowledge of different aspects of philosophy in the Western tradition.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24Presentation and overview of main issues
Independent Study101No Description
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

From Myth to Reason: The Emergence of Western Philosophy
Considers the earliest Greek philosophers and their concerns

Why Should We Be Good? Socrates and the Sophists
Considers debates in ancient Athens regarding human nature, the status of ethics and morality, and the nature of 'the good life'

Leaving the Cave: Plato's Theory of 'Forms'
Considers the metaphysical speculation of Plato, regarding wider reality and truth

Scepticism and the Self: Themes in Descartes' "Meditations"
Considers Descartes' search for certainty and his treatment of the subject

'Natural Theology'
Considers a variety of arguments for (and against) the existence of God, with particular focus on Aquinas, Descartes and Hume

Individual and Society: Issues in Political Philosophy
Considers a variety of arguments regarding the nature of politics and the ways in which society might be organised.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
EssayAssignment based on material covered in lectures100%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Plato (ed. Trevor Saunders): 2005, Early Socratic Dialogues, Penguin, Harmondsworth,
  • Plato (trans. R.Waterfield): 2008, Gorgias, Oxford University Press,
  • Plato (ed.G.R.F. Ferrari): 2012, Republic, 10th, Cambridge University Press,
  • Julia Annas: 2003, Plato: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press,
  • Descartes (ed. John Cottingham): 2017, Meditations on First Philosophy, 2nd, Cambridge University Press,
  • Catherine Wilson: 2003, Descartes’ “Meditations”: An Introduction,, Cambridge University Press,
  • Alasdair MacIntyre: 2002, A Short History of Ethics, Routledge, London,
  • D.E.Luscombe: 1997, Medieval Thought, Oxford University Press,
  • David Hume (ed. J.C.A.Gaskin): 2008, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion & Natural History of Religion, Oxford University Press,
  • Annette Baier: 2011, The Pursuits of Philosophy: An Introduction to the Life and Thought of David Hume, Harvard University Press,
  • Brian Davies: 2004, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion, 3rd, Oxford University Press,
Other Resources

57877, website, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 0, Entries on: Socrates; Plato’s Middle Period Metaphysics; Descartes; Hobbes’s Moral and Political Philosophy; Hume on Religion,
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