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Study information

Philosophical Frontiers

Module titlePhilosophical Frontiers
Module codePHL2042
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Adrian Currie (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Philosophical Frontiers is a unique opportunity to explore cutting-edge philosophy in small-group environments. The module focuses on a newly published or forthcoming philosophical monograph from any tradition or specialization. There is likely to be direct contact with the author towards the end of the module, either by email, skype or a visiting lecture. Teaching is seminar-based, with a focus on student-led discussion and learning. Although there are no pre-requisites, the intensive nature of the module requires a keen interest in philosophy and a commitment to seminar attendance. Due to the research focus, it is good preparation for your undergraduate thesis.

Module aims - intentions of the module

  • You will critically engage with work on the frontiers of philosophy through reading a recently published or forthcoming monograph.
  • You will learn research skills in both self-motivated and group contexts.
  • You will develop core philosophical skills such as critical reflection, argumentation and clarity of expression.
  • Examining a cutting-edge monograph will help you cover new research methods and trends; understand the importance of sustaining a philosophical project beyond the journal-article format; and about situating philosophical work within disciplinary context.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate familiarity with a cutting-edge philosophical monograph.
  • 2. Understand how to consider new philosophical work in context.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Understand and engage with philosophical arguments.
  • 4. Develop your own philosophical ideas.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Provide clear and concise written and oral communication skills.
  • 6. Demonstrate comprehension of complex ideas and writing.
  • 7. Show creativity, enabling lateral thinking, new ideas and problem-solving skills.

Syllabus plan

The syllabus is focused around a single monograph, which will vary from year to year and is chosen by the module convenor. Each week will involve reading a single chapter, with the occasional supplementary reading where appropriate.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity22Weekly 2-hour lectures/seminars or 1 hour lecture + 1 hour seminar.
Guided Independent Study50Weekly assigned readings
Guided Independent Study30Preparation for class discussion
Guided Independent Study48Preparation for essay

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan100 words1, 3, 4, 7Written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay702500 words1- 7Written
Seminar presentation & either PowerPoint slides or handout.2010 minutes, 10 PowerPoint slides or 2-sided handout1, 2, 5, 6Written
Reading reports (The mark will be an overall mark for the set: you will have 8 chances to submit a reading report, and if you submit at least 5 reports over the semester, you’ll get the full 10% (each report is worth 2%, up to a total of 10%).105 reports x 25 words3, 5, 6You will get feedback on these assignments in three ways: (1) reading reports will form the basis of tutorial discussion, so you will receive (and offer) feedback from your peers during class; (2) convenor provides general feedback during classes; (3) you can receive individual feedback on request.

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Essay2500 word essay1-7August/September reassessment period
Seminar Presentation1-1 presentation1, 2, 5, 6August/September reassessment period
Reading Reports750 word paper summary3, 5, 6August/September reassessment period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Each year the module will differ depending on the selected monograph, but here is an indication of the kinds of options that could be explored:

Nguyen, Thi (forthcoming). Games: Agency as Art, Oxford University Press.

Potochnik, Angela (2017) Idealization and the Aims of Science, Chicago University Press

Stoljar, Daniel (2018) Philosophical Progress: in defence of a reasonable optimism. Oxford University Press.

Alexandrova, Anna (2017). A Philosophy for the Science of Wellbeing. Oxford University Press.

O’Connor, Cailin (forthcoming). The Origins of Unfairness. Oxford University Press.

Key words search

Research; monograph; cutting-edge

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date