Descartes, Thought and Reality module (PI11007)

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Module code


  • Level 1
  • Semester 1
  • Philosophy - School of Humanities
  • Coursework 100%%
  • Tuesday evening tutorial available


Focusing on the key themes of thought and reality, this course will introduce students to some of the most important thinkers informing debates in contemporary philosophy. In the first six weeks, we will develop an in-depth reading of Descartes' Meditations. This text is rightly regarded as foundational for modern approaches in philosophy. We will use the first six weeks of this course to find out why this is the case, and we will learn how to argue with Descartes on the key themes that he introduces into modern thought. Having outlined these themes, we will use the remaining five weeks of the course (weeks 7-11) to approach them from a variety of different philosophical perspectives. Here, we will pursue a wide range, comparing and contrasting the approaches of thinkers as varied as Nagel, Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Freud and Nietzsche.


EH11004 (evening version of this module)


Dr Frank Ruda


This module consists of 22 hours of lectures and 11 hours of tutorials over 11 weeks. Students will be expected to participate in tutorial discussion and to undertake formative and summative exercises as set out in the module guide.


100% coursework consisting of

  • Essay 60%
  • Tutorial questions 20%
  • Worksheets 20%


Indicative Reading:

  • Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy, Third Edition, trans. by Donald A. Cress (Hackett, 1998)

Access the online reading list system


This module is available on following courses: