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Topics in Theoretical Philosophy - PHI00020M

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  • Department: Philosophy
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Rob Trueman
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2020-21

Module summary

Some philosophers like to take a "language-first" approach to metaphysics; they think that the philosophy of language can shed new light on old metaphysical puzzles. Other philosophers think that this is a terrible mistake: metaphysics concerns the world itself, whereas the philosophy of language concerns only how we speak about the world. In this module, we will explore a number of issues at the intersection of metaphysics and the philosophy of language. Our aim will be to decide for ourselves whether metaphysics should be approached language-first.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2020-21

Module aims

  • To consider some key issues in Theoretical Philosophy, especially issues in Metaphysics, the Philosophy of Language, and Philosophical Logic.
  • To encourage students to engage philosophically with the issues and offer their own critical reflections
  • To enhance philosophical skills of argument and debate through seminar discussion and written work

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module students will have had the opportunity:

  • To discuss philosophically and critically topics in Theoretical Philosophy
  • To pursue these topics through a study of seminal discussions by major philosophers from the early modern period to the present day.
  • To improve philosophical skills of argument and debate through seminar discussion and written work


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

Written feedback will be received 4 weeks after the submission for summative work and within 2 weeks for formative work.

Indicative reading

Preliminary Reading:

Tim Crane (1995), The Mechanical Theory of Mind

Kim Sterelny (1990), The Representational Theory of Mind


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.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.

Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.

Course changes for new students