Undergraduate Philosophy courses
The main undergraduate courses offered in Philosophy at UKZN (Howard College Campus) are listed below. Some of these courses are also offered at our Pietermaritzburg campus, but other parts of the philosophy major there are different.
Phil101 – Introduction to Philosophy (semester 1)
In this course students encounter a selection of classic positions in the history of philosophy, and are introduced to the skills required to interpret and reason about these positions. The mix of topics and readings varies from year to year, but usually includes some of the following:
- What is knowledge? What can we actually know?
- How is the mind related to the body?
- What makes life worth living?
- What is philosophy?
The course involves a mixture of lectures and tutorial sessions (link) and students are assessed on the basis of a mixture of written essay assignments, tests and a final examination.
Phil 102 – Philosophy and Ethics (semester 2)
This course engages with a number of introductory topics in philosophy and ethics. Students will learn about some of the most enduring philosophical questions, and about some of the ways philosophers have attempted to respond to those questions. The mix of topics and readings varies from year to year, but usually includes some of the following:
- What makes an action good or moral?
- Does life have a meaning?
- What are the best ways of distributing goods and rights?
- What is justice?
As with Philosophy 101, this course involves a mixture of lectures and tutorial sessions (link) and students are assessed on the basis of a mixture of written essay assignments, tests and a final examination.
Prerequisites: None (although we recommend Philosophy 101)
Phil 205 – Being and knowing (semester 1)
This course focuses on questions of knowledge and justification. On the one hand we develop the reasoning skills of students by teaching more about the logic of arguments, and how to distinguish good and bad arguments. On the other, we look at some issues regarding the nature and possibility of knowledge. This course is required for students majoring in philosophy.
Prerequisites: 96 unspecified credit points. (Philosophy 101 recommended.)
Phil 206 – Ethics (semester 2)
This course is about ethical problems in the lives of ordinary people. The problems we will focus on include such everyday issues as humour (joke-telling), sex (promiscuity, adultery and homosexuality), the physical punishment of children, eating meat, smoking and drug-taking, forgiveness, giving aid (the extent to which we are obliged to help those of the world’s poor who are starving to death), gambling, copyright violation and gossip. These topics are not only engaging but also very important, affecting the way in which we lead (or should lead) our daily lives.
Prerequisites: 96 unspecified credits.
Our third year courses are more specialised, and change from year to year. For 2015 course information, see this page.
Graduate Philosophy courses
We offer a variety of modules at honours and masters level, as well as supervision for dissertations and theses at masters and doctoral level. Information about these advanced courses will be added in the future.