This course is at Upper Intermediate level and so would not be suitable for people who are new to studying philosophy. It would be an ideal continuation course for students who have previously studied on our Intermediate level courses and who now want a course that will look at the work of a particular philosopher in some depth. It may also be suitable for people who have had some previous grounding in Philosophy and who now want to study in more depth.
Although you should have some previous experience of studying philosophy it is not expected that you need to have a great deal of familiarity with the specific thinkers mentioned in the course description, as this is what the course will aim to provide.
We will examine the work of, amongst others, Alisdair MacIntyre, Patrick Deneen, John Gray, Michael Sandal, John Millbank, Larry Siedentop, James Burnham, Rob Dreher, René Girard, Ivan Illich, Alain Badiou, Michael Foucault, Slavoj Zizek, Jacques Rancière and Ernesto Laclau & Chantal Mouffe. We will cover, amongst other themes: community, pessimism, freedom, flourishing, justice, religion, communism, agonism, human nature, democracy and various technological and technocratic developments in modernity, and their impact on political thought and organisation.
By the end of the course, students will be able to discuss multiple contemporary issues in politics and philosophy more broadly.
The course will be run online using Zoom for the live class sessions and either the Moodle page for the course or some other system for the distribution of the electronic resources for the session sitting alongside this. Although there will be some adjustments that need to be made for the online version of this course, we will aim to keep the experience as close as possible to that of a face to face course taught in the Centre.
The course will consist of lectures and seminars, and all the reading material will be available on Moodle. Progress will be assessed in terms of student participation - engagement in seminars and with the material. It will be possible but not mandatory for students to present to the class each week
All the reading materials will be provided. Students are expected to keep up with the reading each week.
The course will be run on Zoom, please make sure you have installed it in advance of your first class on your computer or mobile device. You can sign up for free here:
You will need a microphone (it's fine to use whatever is built into your device) and camera, so we can see you via video. You may also want to use headphones during the session.
You can participate in class sessions through the use of a computer, laptop, tablet or other similar internet enabled device. Please note that if you only have access to a smartphone, you will be able to attend the class sessions and participate in them but you will find it more difficult to benefit from the full range of materials and activities involved in the course if this is your only means of connection.
Make sure you have a small space to work in during the session and that as far as possible that you can keep this space quite and clear of interruption so that you can concentrate on what is happening in the class.
By signing up to the course you are consenting to being on camera. The content of the lesson may occasionally be recorded by the tutor for internal education and training purposes but any such recordings will not be made available to anyone outside of the Mary Ward Centre organisation without us asking you again for further permission to do so
Other Advanced level Philosophy courses at the Mary Ward Centre or other similar establishments. Other courses in the Humanities and Social Sciences with a strong emphasis on theory and the study of the mind and human behaviour(e.g., Psychology, Economics, Sociology, Anthropology, History
Kierkegaard fears that in the modern world people are giving up what it means to be a self in the profound sense of ethical integrity and spiritual depth. He says, 'a self is the last thing the world cares about and the most dangerous thing of all for a person to show signs of having. The greatest hazard of all, losing the self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss - an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. - is sure to be noticed.' According to Kierkegaard, the loss of a self leads to all manner of social, political, and ethical injustices - in short, it leads to despair. In this course we will examine Kierkegaard's existential philosophy of becoming an authentic 'self' ready to meet one's social responsibilities with ethical and spiritual integrity. We will explore Kierkegaard's double approach: to understand what causes people to lose a sense of self and to understand how to become a self in the Kierkegaardian sense.
Philosophy in the second half of the 20th century was faced with the demands of formulating an adequate response to the world after the second world war: the rise of different forms of totalitarianism, the horrors of the war itself and the role of technology in bringing this about became urgent issues. We will examine two forms of response to this situation. Firstly, we will examine how Critical Theory attempted to explain and move beyond the social contradictions that had been laid bare during this period. Following on from this, the question of the place of language in our relations with the world came to a central focus of attention, giving birth to the ideas of structuralism and post-structuralism. In this part of the course we will engage with the work of Lacan, Derrida, Foucault and Deleuze.
This is an online course. Do we need to secure our claims of knowledge before understanding what is absolutely true? How do we know what we know? What is the relation between our consciousness and the external world? Is the process of knowing immediate or mediated? Who is free in the master-slave relation? What is an ethical act in relation to the state? What does the death of Christ reveal to us? What is absolute knowing? G.W.F. Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit seeks address these questions through an examination of the development of self-consciousness and the cultural-historical forms it takes in what he calls 'spirit'. This is Hegel's most revolutionary text, and has influenced all subsequent philosophy, Marxism, feminism, anti-colonial theory, existentialism, and postmodernism.
Nina Power has a Philosophy BA and MA from the University of Warwick and a PhD from Middlesex University. She taught Undergraduate Philosophy at the University of Roehampton for thirteen years, and has taught courses for multiple institutions including GCAS and Indiethinkers. She is the author of multiple articles and of the books One-Dimensional Woman (2009) and What Do Men Want? (2002). She is the Senior Editor for Compact Magazine. Her interests include: the intersection of religion, philosophy and anthropology; feminism; the work of Ivan Illich, Georges Bataille, Simone Weil, René Girard, Giorgio Agamben. Nina is committed, above all, to enthusiasm in teaching - her own and that of others. You can access Nina's website here: https://ninapower.net/ and her book here: https://www.penguin.co.uk/authors/135643/nina-power