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2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PHIL2915 How to Live Together: Topics in Political Philosophy

20 creditsClass Size: 120

Module manager: Jessica Keiser

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

Pre-requisite qualifications

PHIL1080 The Good, the Bad, the Right, the
Wrong; or PHIL1555 Philosophy for PPE

This module is mutually exclusive with

PIED2602Justice, Community and Conflict

Module replaces

PHIL2321 Political Philosophy

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module introduces students to some of the central concepts, theories, and debates in political philosophy. The module covers core ideas in an area of philosophy that broadly investigates how we should live together and what we owe one another as political actors.


In studying this module, you will explore foundational issues in political philosophy. By engaging with these ideas, students will explore fundamental political questions, which may include:

* How should the benefits and burdens of social cooperation be distributed among members of society?
* What is the nature of political liberty?
* What is the source of human rights?
* Why should we care about equality?
* Should there be limits to free speech?

Lectures will guide students through the topics. Seminars are an opportunity for students to discuss their own views on the concepts, theories, and arguments explored in the module in depth.

Learning outcomes
On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

1. Accurately explain some arguments and positions central to political philosophy

2. Critically evaluate concepts, texts and theories central to political philosophy

3. Coherently develop and defend your own position in political philosophy

Skills Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of the module students will have demonstrated the following skills learning outcomes: 

4. Communicate ideas and understanding clearly and concisely, using appropriate academic language (Academic and Work Ready skill)

5. Critically analyse source material and demonstrate independence of thought (Academic and Work Ready skill)

6. Search for appropriate material to support knowledge and analysis of topics (Academic, Work Ready, Digital and Sustainability skill)

7. Conform to standards of academic integrity including when and how to appropriately acknowledge someone else’s work (Academic and Work Ready skill)


This module will cover a variety of core topics in political philosophy. Topics may vary each year. Typical examples include the nature of justice; theories of human rights; democracy and its alternatives; what makes equality valuable; free speech and its limits; among others.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours176.00
Total Contact hours24.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Formative assessment in this module is designed to facilitate (i) differentiated instruction, (ii) active student reflection on skills development, and (iii) student choice. In addition to the formative feedback available to students in office hours and seminar-based activities, students are invited to complete one piece of formative work which will receive written feedback. In this module, students are given three options:

1. essay plan
2. literature review
3. exposition and critique of a philosophical argument or position

By giving students a choice, this formative assessment takes account of variations in prior knowledge and skill development, and it enables the instructor to respond to students’ individual needs. It also builds students’ academic self-conception and encourages them to take ownership over their intellectual development. To do this, and to ensure that students get the formative feedback they need, each student is required to select an option after critical reflection on the skills that they judge they most need to work on. They are asked to read and reflect on (i) the feedback they received in previous summative assessments, (ii) the PRHS marking criteria for their upcoming summative assessment, and (iii) the specific guidance provided on the summative assessment in this module. These exercises encourage students to engage with previous feedback, think about current expectations, and take an active role in honing their knowledge and skill development.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3000-word essay100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

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: 29/04/2024 16:19:43


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