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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 TP153
School 59
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Ian Leask
Semester 2: Ian Leask
Autumn: Ian Leask
Module TeachersIan Leask
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only

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. develop enhanced insight and reflexivity regarding their own values, principles and outlook
7. enjoy an enhanced appreciation of key elements in Western intellectual culture

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture22No Description
Independent Study103No 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

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, his dualism, and the response of Elizabeth of Bohemia.

'Natural Theology' Considers a variety of arguments for (and against) the existence of God, with particular focus on Aqu
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
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. T.Saunders): 2005, Early Socratic Dialogues, Penguin, Harmondsworth,
  • Plato: 2008, Gorgias, Oxford UP,
  • Plato (ed. G.Ferrari): 2012, Republic, Cambridge UP,
  • Catherine Wilson: 2003, Descartes’ “Meditations”: An Introduction, Cambridge UP,
  • David Hume (ed.J.Gaskin): 2008, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion & Natural History of Religion, Oxford UP,
  • Julia Annas: 2003, Plato: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford UP,
  • Descartes (ed. John Cottingham): 2017, Meditations on First Philosophy, 2nd Ed.,, Cambridge UP,
  • Alasdair MacIntyre: 2002, A Short History of Ethics, Routledge, London,
  • Annette Baier: 2011, The Pursuits of Philosophy: An Introduction to the Life and Thought of David Hume, Harvard UP,
  • Brian Davies: 2004, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion, 3rd Ed., Oxford UP,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
BAJHBachelor of Arts (BAJH)
HMSAStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
HMSAOStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
IESAStudy Abroad (Institute of Education)

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