Modules

AY 2020/21 Undergraduate Modules

The undergraduate modules offered in AY 2020-2021 are listed below. Please access the individual LumiNUS course pages for more details, and plan your timetable using the following tools:



Semester 1

GEK1067/GET1029 Life, the Universe, and Everything

by LOY Hui Chieh


Modular Credits: 4; Workload: 2-1-0-0-7; Prerequisite(s): Nil; Preclusion(s): PH1102E, GEK1067; Cross-listing(s): GET1029

Description:

GEK1067/GET1029 offers an opportunity to grapple with some of the most enduring challenges to human thought. Our starting point is a conception of ourselves as free and conscious beings equipped with bodies that allow us to observe and explore a familiar external world. Successive lectures investigate alternative conceptions of the human condition, such as ones in which we are unfree, or non-spirituous, or inhabit a world whose fundamental nature is hidden from our view. Different conceptions bear differently on the further question of what we should value and why. Discussion is both argument-driven and historically informed.

*GEK1067/GET1029 replaces PH1102E as the essential introductory module for the PH major and minor from AY2016-17.

LumiNUS

GEK2041/GET1025 Science Fiction and Philosophy

by John HOLBO


Modular Credits: 4; Workload: 2-1-0-0-7; Prerequisite(s): Nil; Preclusion(s): PH2225, GEK1041; Cross-listing(s): GET1025

Description:

This module considers science fiction as a mode of philosophical inquiry. Science fiction stories are used to examine fundamental questions of metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. Topics include the nature of time, space, religion, nature, mind, and the future. Specific topics may include such issues as genetic enhancement, environmental ethics, and implications of encounters with non-human life forms.

Sub-area(s): Metaphysics, Epistemology, Mind, Language

LumiNUS

GEK2048/GET1026 Effective Reasoning

by LEE Wang Yen


Modular Credits: 4; Workload: 2-1-0-0-7; Prerequisite(s): Nil; Preclusion(s): PH2111, GEK2048; Cross-listing(s): GET1026

Description:

What is good reasoning? We will try to answer this question by studying the mechanics of reasoning. Students will learn what an argument is, what the difference between validity and soundness is, and what it means to say that an argument is valid in virtue of its form. They will also be introduced to various strategies and pitfalls in reasoning. In addition, to hone their analytical skills, students will be given arguments—drawn from philosophy and other areas—to unpack and evaluate. It is hoped that in the process of learning what counts as good reasoning, one will become a better reasoner.

Sub-area(s): Metaphysics, Epistemology, Mind, Language

LumiNUS

GEM2006/GET1028 Logic

by Ben BLUMSON


Modular Credits: 4; Workload: 2-1-0-0-7; Prerequisite(s): Nil; Preclusion(s): PH2110, CS3234, MA4207 and GEM2006; Cross-listing(s): GET1028

Description:

An introduction to classical logic. The first half of the course introduces propositional logic, using the techniques of truth-tables and linear proof by contradiction. The second half of the course extends the use of linear proof by contradiction to predicate logic. Emphasis is placed on applying the techniques to philosophical arguments.

LumiNUS

GES1041 Everyday Ethics in Singapore

by CHIN Chuan Fei


Modular Credits: 4; Workload: 2-1-0-2.5-4.5; Prerequisite(s): Nil; Preclusion(s): Nil; Cross-listing(s): Nil

Description:

This module examines the ethical dimensions of everyday life in Singapore. It focuses on moral dilemmas that arise in the nation’s pursuit of ‘happiness, prosperity, and progress’. We will explore how moral reasoning from multiple perspectives applies to local concerns such as equality, meritocracy, multiculturalism, immigration, and marriage. This will challenge us to identify moral problems created by social and technological changes, combine ethical principles with practical constraints, and balance the interests of individuals and communities. We will also consider how moral dialogue can be cultivated in Singapore’s multicultural society, so as to manage diverse traditions and divergent values.

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PH2211 Philosophy of Religion

by Saranindra Nath TAGORE


Modular Credits: 4; Workload: 2-1-0-0-7; Prerequisite(s): Nil; Preclusion(s): Nil; Cross-listing(s): Nil

Description:

This module will introduce students to the main issues in contemporary philosophy of religion. Topics covered will be selected from the following (other topics may also be considered): arguments for the existence of God (cosmological, ontological, teleological), argument for atheism (problem of evil), religious pluralism, nature of mystical experiences, the nature of miracles, the nature of religious language. Sub-area(s): Metaphysics, Epistemology, Mind, Language

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PH2224/GEK2040 Philosophy and Film

by John HOLBO


Modular Credits: 4; Workload: 2-1-2-1-4; Prerequisite(s): Nil; Preclusion(s): PH2880A & GEK2040; Cross-listing(s): GEK2040

Description:

"Philosophy and Film" means, in part, philosophy of film, in part, philosophy in film. Philosophy of film is a sub-branch of aesthetics; many questions and puzzles about the nature and value of art have filmic analogues. (Plato's parable of the cave is, in effect, the world's first philosophy of film.) Philosophy in film concerns films that may be said to express abstract ideas, even arguments. (Certain films may even be thought-experiments, in effect.) Questions: are philosophical films good films? Are they good philosophy? The module is intended for majors but - film being a popular medium - will predictably appeal to non-majors as well. (This module is offered as special topics only)

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PH2241 Philosophy of Mind

by TANG Weng Hong


Modular Credits: 4; Workload: 2-1-0-0-7; Prerequisite(s): Nil; Preclusion(s): PH3212; Cross-listing(s): Nil

Description:

What is the nature of mind and its relation to physical body? The mental realm is among the last great unknowns in the modern view of sentient beings and their place in the Universe and is a fertile field of philosophical inquiry. This module examines central conceptual issues surrounding the idea of mind and its relation to physical body. These include the distinction between the mental and the physical, the nature of consciousness, personal identity, disembodied existence, mental representation, and the attempt to tame the mental in purely physical terms.

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PH2243 Epistemology

by Robert BEDDOR


Modular Credits: 4; Workload: 2-1-0-0-7; Prerequisite(s): Nil; Preclusion(s): PH3211; Cross-listing(s): Nil

Description:

Epistemology is the study of knowledge. Epistemologists want to know what knowledge is, how we acquire it, and how we should respond to arguments for philosophical scepticism, according to which there is very little that we know. We shall read the works of philosophers who have grappled with such perennial issues in philosophy, and explore and discuss various theories of knowledge. Along the way, we shall also discuss related issues having to do with justification, rationality, and the reliability of memory, testimony, intuition, sensory perception, and inductive reasoning.

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PE3101P Decision and Social Choice

by Zachary BARNETT


Modular Credits: 4; Workload: 2-1-0-0-7; Prerequisite(s): GEM2006/GET1028; Preclusion(s): PH3249; Cross-listing(s): Nil

Description:

This course is an introduction to decision and social choice theory. The first half introduces the theory of expected utility, according to which rational actions maximise the probability of desirable consequences. The second half introduces utilitarianism, according to which the right action is one which maximises the satisfaction of desire for the population at large. Both theories are controversial for their highly quantitative nature, their demanding conception of rationality and rightness, their insensitivity to risk and inequality, their prioritization of ends over means, and their tenuous relationship to actual human behaviour and morality. These controversies are discussed.

LumiNUS

PH3203 Moral Philosophy

by Neil SINHABABU


Modular Credits: 4; Workload: 2-1-0-0-7; Prerequisite(s): Nil; Preclusion(s): Nil; Cross-listing(s): Nil

Description:

This module is concerned with an area in Moral Philosophy called ‘meta-ethics’. Meta-ethics is a discussion of the nature of ethics. It is a second-order, reflective activity about ethics, and not a first-order discussion of the rights and wrongs of particular issues within ethics. Beginning with non-naturalism, the module proceeds to discuss emotivism, prescriptivism, descriptivism or naturalism, culminating in current discussion of moral realism. Sub-area(s): Value Theory

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PH3214 Philosophy and Literature

by CHIN Chuan Fei


Modular Credits: 4; Workload: 2-1-0-0-7; Prerequisite(s): Nil; Preclusion(s): Nil; Cross-listing(s): Nil

Description:

The course will consider, side by side, certain `philosophical' works of literature and more orthodox philosophical works. The idea is to explore the ways and degrees to which it makes sense - also, the ways and degrees to which it does not make sense - to say that this work of fiction (a novel, say) is really about the same thing that this philosophical text is about. Turning the point around: when philosophers - like Plato or Nietzsche - employ literary techniques more characteristic of fiction, what philosophical work is hereby done?

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PH3230 Normative Ethical Theory

by YEO Shang Long


Modular Credits: 4; Workload: 2-1-0-0-7; Prerequisite(s): Nil; Preclusion(s): Nil; Cross-listing(s): Nil

Description:

This module is a study of the main contending contemporary views about goodness and virtue, principles of moral evaluation, and moral decision-making. These include deontological, consequentialist, and contemporary virtue-based and contractarian theories. Emphasis will be placed on securing a thorough understanding the arguments used to derive fundamental moral principles and to justify claims about our moral obligations. Such study aims to reveal the kinds of issues that are involved in analyzing what constitutes rational considerations for moral action, and the strengths and weaknesses of the rival theories. Sub-area(s): Value Theory

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PH3246 Paradoxes

by Ethan JERZAK


Modular Credits: 4; Workload: 2-1-0-0-7; Prerequisite(s): PH2110/GEM2006.; Preclusion(s): Nil; Cross-listing(s): Nil

Description:

This module is a survey of classic paradoxes, ancient and modern. No mere brain‐teasers, these riddles have exercised some of history’s best minds, often with startling results. How is motion possible? What is a gamble at given odds worth? Is time travel possible? Why do nations honor their treaty obligations? What are numbers? The contemplation of paradoxes drives the search for answers to these questions and more, and by grappling with the paradoxes, students gain familiarity with key techniques and concepts of decision theory and logical analysis which are useful both in philosophy and other fields of inquiry.

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PH3250 Quantification and Modality

by Ben BLUMSON


Modular Credits: 4; Workload: 2-1-0-0-7; Prerequisite(s): PH2112 Non-Classical Logic.; Preclusion(s): NIL; Cross-listing(s): NIL

Description:

According to classical logic all names refer to existing things, and it’s a tautology that something exists. Moreover, the simplest combination of propositional modal logic with classical predicate logic is constant domain modal logic, according to which everything which in fact exists necessarily exists. This course investigates free logics, which relax the assumptions of classical predicate logic, and variable domain modal logics, which allow different things to exist in different possibilities. Finally, it covers quantification in intuitionist, many-valued and relevant logics.

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PH4210/PH6760 Topics in Western Philosophy

by TANG Weng Hong


Modular Credits: 5; Workload: 0-3-0-0-9.5; Prerequisite(s): Cohort 2012-2014: Completed 80 MCs, including 28 MCs in PH, or 28MCs in PS, or 28 MCs in EU/LA(French/German)/recognised modules, with a minimum CAP of 3.20 or be on the Honours track. Cohort 2015 onwards: Completed 80 MCs, including 28 MCs in PH, or 28 MCs in PS, or 28 MCs in EU/LA(French/German/Spanish)/recognised modules, with a minimum CAP of 3.20 or be on the Honours track.; Preclusion(s): Nil; Cross-listing(s): Nil

Description:

This module deals with specific topics of current interest and controversy in Western philosophy. The topics to be discussed may be in, but are not limited to, philosophy of science, philosophy of language, philosophy of psychology, epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, or social and political philosophy.

LumiNUS

PH4211/PH6211 Issues in Epistemology

by Robert BEDDOR


Modular Credits: 5; Workload: 0-3-0-0-9.5; Prerequisite(s): Completed 80MCs, including 28 MCs in PH, with a minimum CAP of 3.20 or be on the Honours track.; Preclusion(s): Nil; Cross-listing(s): Nil

Description:

This module will explore an advanced topic in epistemology in depth. Some possible topics are the problem of scepticism, including realist and anti‐realist responses to it, the nature of certainty and the relationship of knowledge to chance and credence, the internalism versus externalism debate about the nature of knowledge and justification, and the definability of knowledge in terms of truth, belief, justification and their cognates. The module may also explore a problem from formal epistemology, such as the lottery paradox, the problem of logical omniscience, or probabilistic approaches to the problem of induction.

LumiNUS

PH4262 Nietzsche

by Neil SINHABABU


Modular Credits: 5; Workload: 0-3-0-3-6.5; Prerequisite(s): Cohort 2012-2014: Completed 80 MCs, including 28 MCs in PH, or 28MCs in PS, or 28 MCs in EU/LA(French/German)/recognised modules, with a minimum CAP of 3.20 or be on the Honours track. Cohort 2015 onwards: Completed 80 MCs, including 28 MCs in PH, or 28MCs in PS, or 28 MCs in EU/LA(French/German/Spanish)/recognised modules, with a minimum CAP of 3.20 or be on the Honours track.; Preclusion(s): Nil; Cross-listing(s): Nil

Description:

This module will focus on the philosophy of the 19th Century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. It will proceed chronologically through Nietzsche's most significant writings, such as The Gay Science; Thus Spoke Zarathustra; Beyond Good and Evil; On the Genealogy of Morality. Most of the attention will be on primary sources. All materials will be in English.

LumiNUS

PH4401 Honours Thesis


Modular Credits: 15; Workload: 0-1-0-0-36.5; Prerequisite(s): Cohort 2015 and before: Completed 110MCs including 60MCs of PH major requirements with a minimum CAP of 3.5. Cohort 2016 onwards: Completed 110MCs including 44MCs of PH major requirements with a minimum CAP of 3.5.; Preclusion(s): PH4660; Cross-listing(s): Nil

Description:

A dissertation on an approved research topic not exceeding twelve thousand words. Please register PH4401 manually with the Department. Please refer to http://www.fas.nus.edu.sg/philo/academic_requirements.html for more information on the PH major requirement. Sub-area(s): NA

LumiNUS

PH4550 Internship: Philosophy for Teaching


Modular Credits: 5; Workload: 3-3-2-1-3.5; Prerequisite(s): Completed 80 MCs, including 28 MCs in PH, with a minimum CAP of 3.2 or be on the Honours track. Preclusion(s): Nil.; Cross-listing(s): Nil

Description:

Students will intern in an educational organisation approved by the Department. (e.g. Logic Mills, which specialises in courses on analytical thinking skills to schools and other educational organisations). During the internship, they will learn to use their philosophical skills to teach, and through practice, reflect on the usefulness of Philosophy in education practice and intellectual development. Sub-area(s): NA

LumiNUS

PH4660 Independent Study


Modular Credits: 5; Workload: 0-0-0-0-12.5; Prerequisite(s): Cohort 2015 and before: To be offered subject to the agreement of the Supervisor and Department. Completed 100 MCs, including 60 MCs in PH, with a minimum CAP of 3.2. Cohort 2016 onwards: To be offered subject to the agreement of the Supervisor and Department. Completed 100 MCs, including 44 MCs inPH, with a minimum CAP of 3.2.; Preclusion(s): PH4401; Cross-listing(s): Nil

Description:

The Independent Study Module is designed to enable the student to explore an approved topic within the discipline in depth. The student should approach a lecturer to work out an agreed topic, readings, and assignments for the module. A formal, written agreement is to be drawn up, giving a clear account of the topic, programme of study, assignments, evaluation, and other pertinent details. Head’s and/or Honours Coordinator’s approval of the written agreement is required. Regular meetings and reports are expected. Evaluation is based on 100% Continuous Assessment and must be worked out between the student and the lecturer prior to seeking departmental approval. Please register PH4660 manually with the Department. Sub-area(s): NA

LumiNUS

Semester 2

PH4401 Honours Thesis


Modular Credits: 15; Workload: 0-1-0-0-36.5; Prerequisite(s): Cohort 2015 and before: Completed 110 MCs including 60 MCs of PH major requirements with a minimum CAP of 3.5. Cohort 2016 onwards: Completed 110 MCs including 44 MCs of PH major requirements with a minimum CAP of 3.5.; Preclusion(s): PH4660; Cross-listing(s): Nil

Description:

A dissertation on an approved research topic not exceeding twelve thousand words. Please register PH4401 manually with the Department. Please refer to http://www.fas.nus.edu.sg/philo/academic_requirements.html for more information on the PH major requirement. Sub-area(s): NA

LumiNUS

PH4550 Internship: Philosophy for Teaching


Modular Credits: 5; Workload: 3-3-2-1-3.5; Prerequisite(s): Completed 80 MCs, including 28 MCs in PH, with a minimum CAP of 3.2 or be on the Honours track. Preclusion(s): Nil.; Cross-listing(s): Nil

Description:

Students will intern in an educational organisation approved by the Department. (e.g. Logic Mills, which specialises in courses on analytical thinking skills to schools and other educational organisations). During the internship, they will learn to use their philosophical skills to teach, and through practice, reflect on the usefulness of Philosophy in education practice and intellectual development. Sub-area(s): NA

LumiNUS

PH4660 Independent Study


Modular Credits: 5; Workload: 0-0-0-0-12.5; Prerequisite(s): Cohort 2015 and before: To be offered subject to the agreement of the Supervisor and Department. Completed 100 MCs, including 60 MCs in PH, with a minimum CAP of 3.2. Cohort 2016 onwards: To be offered subject to the agreement of the Supervisor and Department. Completed 100 MCs, including 44 MCs inPH, with a minimum CAP of 3.2.; Preclusion(s): PH4401; Cross-listing(s): Nil

Description:

The Independent Study Module is designed to enable the student to explore an approved topic within the discipline in depth. The student should approach a lecturer to work out an agreed topic, readings, and assignments for the module. A formal, written agreement is to be drawn up, giving a clear account of the topic, programme of study, assignments, evaluation, and other pertinent details. Head’s and/or Honours Coordinator’s approval of the written agreement is required. Regular meetings and reports are expected. Evaluation is based on 100% Continuous Assessment and must be worked out between the student and the lecturer prior to seeking departmental approval. Please register PH4660 manually with the Department. Sub-area(s): NA

LumiNUS

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