Accessibility statement

Philosophical Analysis - PHI00015C

« Back to module search

  • Department: Philosophy
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Christopher Jay
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24
    • See module specification for other years: 2024-25

Module summary

This module introduces students to (i) some elementary argumentation theory and informal logic, and (ii) the practice of reading texts to extract arguments and/or philosophical ideas from them.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2023-24

Module aims

The module teaches aspects of elementary logic and argumentation via explicit explanation of these things in lectures and close reading of texts exemplifying those aspects. It thereby serves a second, equally important aim: to teach close reading and foster an appreciation of the variety of ways in which philosophy is written and conveyed.

Students will be encouraged to see each text as a text, with a context and style to which attention must be paid in order to understand it; and as an example of the more general points about logic and argumentation in action. Emphasis will be placed upon the dual nature of these texts: as sources of ideas and arguments, the structure of which will be better understood by engaging with the logic/argumentation lectures; and as texts which require engagement on their own terms.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students should be able to:

  • Identify and utilize basic forms of argument (e.g. dilemmas) and logical tools (e.g. contraposition).
  • Present clear and sympathetic interpretations of philosophical texts.
  • Explain the various different things that philosophical texts or philosophical arguments might be trying to achieve.

Module content

Each week in Teaching Weeks 2-10 there will be one lecture on argument/logic and another setting the week’s essential seminar reading in context. Seminar readings will be chosen to exemplify the point about logic or argument explored in that week’s lecture. In seminars, students will be helped to identify the ways in which the text exemplifies the forms of argument etc. discussed in that week’s lecture, as well as being encouraged to critically discuss the substantive arguments presented in the text. In this way, seminars will focus on close reading and philosophical discussion, while lectures will set students up with the tools and contextual knowledge to apply in that close reading and discussion.


Task Length % of module mark
Summative Assessment
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Summative Assessment
N/A 100

Module feedback

Feedback on formative work will be provided two weeks after submission. Feedback on summative work within the statutory time frame.

Indicative reading

Texts might, but might not, include:

Hume, Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Book X

Anscombe, ‘Mr Truman’s Degree’

Plato, Euthyphro

James, ‘The Will to Believe’

Moore, ‘Proof of and External World’

Aquinas, Commentary on Boethius' De Trinitate, q1 art.1 & q2 art.1–4

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.