Reading and Writing Philosophy

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 1
Term 1
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Religions and Philosophies

Module overview

Reading and Writing Philosophy’ provides first-year students with the necessary skills to evaluate philosophical texts and effectively present philosophical analysis.

Working with brief, self-contained arguments extracted from philosophical texts from a variety of traditions, students will learn strategies for isolating the main idea of an argument (its conclusion) and for clearly demonstrating an argument’s structure. Through weekly formative and practical exercises within a seminar environment, students will become familiar with formalising arguments before moving on to problems of interpretation and evaluation.

Students will then be challenged to develop coherent philosophical arguments of their own and to articulate them effectively in a range of written forms: from traditional essays to academic blogs and public engagement pieces essay format. Students will also learn about good citation practices and various research skills.

Objectives and learning outcomes

  • Identify arguments in short but complex passages of philosophical writing from a number of Global North and Global South writers
  • Analyse the structure of arguments as relations between premises and conclusion.
  • Read blocs of text as arguments
  • Explain what a literature review involves
  • Use established citation practices in writing
  • Communicate philosophical ideas in a range of written formats

Scope and syllabus

Week 1: Intro and module overview

Week 2: Basic Unit of Currency – Arguments

Week 3: Reading Blocs of Text as Arguments

Week 4: Reconstructing Arguments

Week 5: Reviewing: From Individual Texts to Literatures

Week 6: Reading Week

Week 7: Essay Writing and Referencing

Week 8: Writing Reflectively

Week 9: Conceptual Mind-mapping

Week 10: Academic blogging / Writing Public-facing Articles

Week 11: Workshop

Method of assessment

  • One short essay of 1,000 words OR video essay or multimedia presentation (5 minutes, 5 pages/slides) - (30%)
  • One portfolio (including longer essay) of 2,000 words (70%)

Suggested reading

  • Bowell, T. and Kemp, G. 2019. Critical Thinking: A Concise Guide (5th ed.) London: Routledge.



Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.