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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2020 - 2021

Module Title
Module Code

Online Module Resources

NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 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 the history of Western philosophy. Grounded in direct textual engagement, the module examines how different philosophers, from ancient through to contemporary periods, have approached fundamental questions regarding the nature of the good, the true, and the beautiful. In this module students develop their wider knowledge, and enhance their skills in comprehension, analysis and synthesis. Students are expected to attend lectures and seminars, and to engage with relevant texts.

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.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Independent Study48Assigned Readings
Independent Study53Independent Learning & Exam Preparation
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

Socrates & the Sophists: why should we be moral?

Ethics and objectivity

The nature of reality and the nature of knowledge

Scepticism and Descartes’ cogito

The ‘death of God’

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment% Examination Weight%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
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
Indicative Reading List

  • Plato,: 2005, Early Socratic Dialogues, Penguin,
  • Plato: 1974, Republic, Penguin,
  • Descartes: 1972, Discourse on Method & Meditations, Penguin,
  • D.E. Luscombe: 1997, Medieval Thought, Oxford UP,
  • Alasdair MacIntyre,: 1967, A Short History of Ethics, Routledge,
  • Roger Scruton: 1981, From Descartes to Wittgenstein: A Short History of Modern Philosophy, Routledge,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes