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Modern Philosophy

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Modern Philosophy

MA
  • Option 1 year full time or 2 years part time
  • Year of entry 2021
  • Campus Egham

The course

Royal Holloway's MA in Modern Philosophy offers a unique approach to postgraduate study of philosophy by bringing into conversation Anglo-American ‘analytical’ philosophy on the one hand and ‘European’ or ‘Continental’ Philosophy on the other. The MA is designed for students to use both these traditions whilst exploring the future of philosophy as a means of understanding what is at stake in the social, political, and economic upheavals of today.  As such, you will explore the key issues, thinkers and texts that are determining the future development of philosophy.

At Royal Holloway we have a unique approach to the subject that looks beyond the narrow confines of the Anglo-American analytic or European tradition of philosophy to connect it to other disciplines across the arts, humanities and social sciences. The result has been the creation of a truly interdisciplinary and collaborative programme that brings together academic staff from departments across the university – including scholars of drama and theatre, literature and political philosophy. Not only dedicated teachers of the subject, our philosophy staff are also experts and published authorities in their field.

This distinctive approach means that whichever area of philosophy you choose to study at postgraduate level, you will be able to place it in a wider context, with the support of experts across the disciplines.Our departmental specialisms include a wide range of philosophical topics such as ancient and Hellenistic philosophy, 19th and 20th-century European philosophy and contemporary analytic philosophy and American pragmatism.

We host a variety of additional activities throughout the year, including a visiting speaker series organized with our active student-run Philosophy Society, a number of workshops and conferences, and a reading group that meets weekly in central London.

Core Modules

  • Advanced Topics in Philosophy
  • The European Philosophical Trajectory: From Kant to the Present
  • Legacies of Wittgenstein
  • MA Philosophy Dissertaton

Optional Modules

There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

  • Adorno and Critical Theory
  • Contemporary Continental Political Theory
  • Continental Aesthetics
  • This module explores some of the key issues which arise in the moral evaluation of human rights, both in general and with respect to particular rights. You will consider the role of rights in political and moral discourse and develop an understanding of some of the key criticisms to which they’ve been subject. You will also look at the three major categories of rights which have attracted much debate: economic rights, minority rights, and group rights. Finally, you will gain an oversight of the three central rights in liberal societies, examining the ways in which they have been interpreted and defended in light of recent political debates.

  • This module will introduce you to new conceptualisations of identity, difference, power, and politics that are associated most notably with what has been termed 'Post-Marxist' or the 'New Left'. You will see how recent changes in both political theory and practice – some of which are associated with changes linked to globalization and the emergence of new social movements – present compelling a paradigm shift in the way politics is understood. You will focus on four concepts – identity, power, resistance, and otherness – that have become salient in contemporary political philosophy and international relations theory and on four theorists – Althusser, Gramsci, Laclau and Mouffe, and Foucault – whose thought on these issues has underpinned a great deal of New Left political theory and practice. You will look at how these issues have become prominent in the theory and politics around feminism and lesbian politics, and at new problematics for thinking about political thought and practice, with a particular focus on what has been called the 'micropolitical' realm.

  • Political Concepts
  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the key developments of the Twentieth Century French philosophical tradition. You will look at how the French tradition developed as an alternative approach to philosophical problems on the basis of the perceived failure of classical analytical approaches. You will engage with a number of theorists, studying key texts in depth, further developing your ability to express, question, and justify theories, both dialogically, and in writing. You will assess arguments presented by Jacques Derrida, Jean-Francois Lyotard and Gilles Deleuze.

Assessment is carried out by a variety of methods including coursework and a dissertation.

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