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2019/20 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

FREN2120 The Foundations of Modern French Thought

20 creditsClass Size: 20

Module manager: Nigel Saint / Matthew John
Email: n.w.saint@leeds.ac.uk / m.g.john@leeds.ac.uk

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 View Timetable

Year running 2019/20

Pre-requisite qualifications

Satisfactory completion of Level 1 French or equivalent

This module is mutually exclusive with

FREN2125The Foundations of Modern French Thought

Module replaces

FREN2121/2122

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This course provides a stimulating and accessible introduction to France's extremely rich philosophical tradition. French thinkers have played a crucial role in the formulation and development of modern Western thought. Descartes's investigation of the bases and possible limits of human knowledge is a key text in its emphasis on the power of human reason. In the 18th century, the century of the Enlightenment, all forms of culture and writing bear witness to an extraordinarily fertile period, when human knowledge, reason, society and politics are all rethought in the light of authority being vested in humanity itself. Later 19th century thinkers develop this in the direction of founding scientific studies of society and humanity's place within it (e.g. sociology and socialism). In the 20th century, existentialism, structuralism, post-structuralism and post-modernism have been internationally influential on the development of contemporary thought. This course enables students to make connections across theories of culture, and theories of politics and society, as well as gain an insight into some of the key philosophical questions: how do we live, what do we live for, how do we justify our values, how do we argue for change? All teaching is in English.Pre-requisite: Completion of Level 1 French course or equivalent at the discretion of the Course DirectorFor further information please contact Rochelle Harris in the Department of French r.a.harris@leeds.ac.uk

Objectives

On completion of this module, students should be able to:

- Interpret and analyse critically the main thinkers of modern France
- Understand the nature of philosophical thinking
- Evaluate the importance of French philosophy in the evolution of French culture and society in the evolution of French culture and society
- Appreciate the significance of the philosophical background for twentieth century thought
- Demonstrate oral and written skills of argumentation, persuasion, debate, and formal presentation.



Syllabus

France has an extremely rich philosophical tradition, and French thinkers have played a crucial role in the formulation and development of modern Western thought. We begin with Descartes's investigation of the bases and possible limits of human knowledge, which constitutes a key text in shifting the emphasis towards the power of human reason. We then continue with the 18th-century Enlightenment, followed by 19th-century accounts of the history of mankind and the study of society. The 20th-century section looks at existentialism, structuralism, post-structuralism and post-modernism. The aim of this course is to offer an introduction to this body of literature, and to enable students to make connections across theories of culture, and theories of politics and society, as well as gaining an insight into some of the key philosophical questions: how do we live, what do we live for, how do we justify our values, how do we argue for change?

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Lecture201.0020.00
Seminar101.0010.00
Private study hours170.00
Total Contact hours30.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

50 hours background reading for lectures and seminars; 90 hours preparation for seminar presentations; 15 hours researching for essay; 15 hours revision for exam

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Progress is discussed in the seminars and there are opportunities to submit unassessed essays.

Methods of assessment


Coursework
Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2,000 words (in English)50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated


Exams
Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 30/04/2019

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