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Early Post-Kantian Moral, Legal, and Political Philosophy - PHI00095M

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  • Department: Philosophy
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. James Clarke
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Module summary

This module introduces students to the moral, legal, and political philosophy of early post-Kantian philosophers such as Erhard, Fichte, Maimon, Rehberg, and Schmalz.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2022-23

Module aims

This module aims to:


(i) provide an introduction to the moral, legal, and political philosophy (the “practical philosophy”) of early post-Kantian philosophers such Erhard, Fichte, Maimon, Rehberg,
and Schmalz.
(ii) consider how the practical philosophy of the early post-Kantians might illuminate central issues and debates in practical philosophy.
(iii) enable students to develop their skills in critical analysis, argument, and communication.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, students should have an in-depth and systematic understanding of some key debates, positions, and arguments in early post-Kantian moral, legal, and political philosophy.

They should also be able to:

• analyse complex theories and arguments, displaying critical awareness

• synthesize information and ideas from a variety of sources at the forefront of the discipline

• evaluate research critically

• show originality in the discussion and evaluation of ideas from the philosophical literature in developing their own arguments

Students should show the ability to work autonomously and self-critically on an extended essay that goes beyond the core framework that is provided in teaching sessions.

Module content

The early post-Kantians (philosophers such as Erhard, Fichte, Maimon, Rehberg, and Schmalz) applied the insights and methods of Kant’s “Critical Philosophy” to central issues in moral, legal, and political philosophy. In so doing, they developed positions and arguments that are striking for their originality and philosophical significance. In this module, we explore the practical philosophy of the early post-Kantians by engaging critically with recent translations (some of which have yet to be published) and cutting-edge scholarship.

Topics considered will include some or all of the following:

  • The nature of human rights and arguments for their existence.

  • The legitimacy of revolution and the morality of revolutionary action.

  • Ideology and ideology critique.

  • The relationship between law and morality.

  • The relationship between theory and practice.

Assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay 4000 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules

None

Additional assessment information

The formative essay plan will be submitted in Week 8 of the Autumn Term. The plan should be no longer than two sides of A4 and in 12 point type.

The summative essay is due by 12 noon on Monday, Week 2 of the Spring Term.

Reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
Essay/coursework
Essay 4000 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

Feedback on the formative essay plan will be returned before the end of term.

Feedback on the summative essay will be returned within 4 weeks of submission.

Indicative reading

  • Beiser, F. C. Enlightenment, Revolution, and Romanticism: The Genesis of Modern German Political Thought, 1790-1800 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press).

  • Clarke, J. A. and Gottlieb, G. (eds.) Practical Philosophy from Kant to Hegel: Freedom, Right, and Revolution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021).

  • Erhard, J. B. “Devil’s Apology”, trans. J. A. Clarke and C. Rhode, British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 27 (1):194-215.

  • Fichte, Johann Gottlieb, Contribution to the Correction of the Public’s Judgments on the French Revolution, trans. J. Church and A. M. Schön (New York: SUNY Press, 2021).

  • Maimon, S. “On the First Grounds of Natural Right”, trans. M. Nance and J. Yonover, British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 29 (1):157-172.

  • Rehberg, A.W. “On the Relationship between Theory and Practice”, trans. M. L. Gregory, British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 29 (6):1166-1176.

  • Schmalz, T. A. H. “The Pure Natural Right”, trans. J. Church and A. M. Schön, British Journal for the History of Philosophy (currently only available in e-format).



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.