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PPR309: Practical Philosophy
Tutor: Sam Clark
Practical Philosophy starts from problems which any thoughtful person will eventually raise for herself: How should I live? What do I owe to other people, and what to myself? What are the goals, demands, and legitimate rewards of my job: doctor, soldier, journalist, manager, bureaucrat, teacher, scientist, politician…? What should I do and be, as a citizen of a particular country? or of the world? or as a parent, a lover, or a child? When should I rebel against these roles?
This course takes up these questions as they arise in a particular practical problem, field of endeavor, or area of ethical concern. It uses philosophical and other literature, and the central philosophical techniques of critical reading, rational argument, and consideration of strange possibilities, to develop understanding, expand imagination, and work towards answers. The issue pursued will vary from year to year, but may include: death, education, capitalism, war, and the family.
The aim of the course is to develop philosophical skill, knowledge, and imagination which can be applied to practical problems; the method of development is in-depth practice on a particular case, via close reading and discussion of fairly demanding reading assignments.
In Lent 2013, the topic of this course is capitalism, the form of life which has transformed the world over the last few hundred years and which deeply shapes how all humans now live. We will pursue central concerns including freedom, property, work, individuality, and the nature and conditions of human flourishing. Our readings may include material by F. A. Hayek, John Locke, Amartya Sen, Henry David Thoreau, Karl Marx, Max Weber, and William Morris, amongst others.
I haven't decided the topic for Lent 2014 yet, so if you're registering for then, please check the 2013 Handbook for details when it comes out.
On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1 essay of 5,000 words.
2 workshops (2 hours) one each at the start and end of term, and 1 seminar (2 hours) weekly for the remaining eight weeks. In addition, there is an optional essay-planning tutorial.
Introductory Reading for Lent 2012
F. A. Hayek The Constitution of Liberty (Routledge 1960)
William Morris News From Nowhere (various edns)
Amartya Sen Development as Freedom (Oxford University Press 1999)
Richard Sennett The Craftsman (Penguin 2008)
Erik Olin Wright Envisioning Real Utopias (Verso 2010)
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|Department of Politics, Philos ophy and Religion County South, Lancaster University,
LA1 4YL, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1524 594260 Fax: +44 (0) 1524 594238 Email: email@example.com