Philosophy Courses Held in English

Philosophy Courses Held in English: Autumn 2022


Elements of Argumentation Theory FLFI.00.079 (3 ECTS)

Kadri Simm et al.

Thu 16-18 Jakobi 2-337, weeks 1-7 (or fully Web-based)

The course will introduce the concepts of informal logic, including types of arguments and common fallacies of argumentation.
The following topics will be covered:
* Argumentation theory
* Reconstruction and evaluation of arguments
* Critical thinking in science
* Inductive risk and values in science
For all MA students interested in the subject matter.

Ethics and Philosophy of Sex FLFI.02.155 (6 ECTS)

Francesco Orsi

Wed 12-14 Jakobi 2-336, weeks 2-14

The course examines philosophical and ethical questions related to sexuality. We will begin by analyzing the nature of sex, discussing a range of theories of sex including sex as essentially connected to reproduction, sex as a language or expression of love, "plain sex" theories that regard pleasure and desire as essential, and sexuality as a social construct. Then, we will consider more closely the ethics of sexual behaviour. Here we will examine concepts such as perversion and objectification, in particular under the lights of long-standing ethical traditions such as natural law theory, Kantianism, utilitarianism and feminism. In the final part of the course we will examine more specific ethical issues, such as the nature of sexual consent, pornography, and the rights of the disabled to sexual satisfaction. During the lectures we will go through the main concepts and arguments which will be necessary in order to comprehend and discuss the texts to be studied for the seminars. For all students interested in the subject matter.

Matthew Brown's "Science and Moral Imagination": Values and Choices in Science FLFI.03.116 (3 ECTS)

Jaana Eigi-Watkin

Mon 12-14, Jakobi 2-336, weeks 1-15

Contemporary philosophers of science have shown increasing interest in possible roles of ethical, social and other values in science. Is the use of value judgments when doing research a sign of bad science or are values in fact necessary for doing research? If values are unavoidably involved, are there ways to distinguish better value judgments from less good ones and make better decisions? During the course, students read Matthew Brown's book Science and Moral Imagination, discuss it in class, and submit questions about the text and mini-essays on the topic. For all students interested in the subject matter.

Introduction to Logic FLFI.04.078 (6 ECTS)

Alexander Davies, Nikolai Shurakov

Tue 10-12, Fri 10-12, Jakobi 2-337, weeks 2-15

This course introduces the systems of propositional logic and first order predicate logic and their respective model theoretic semantics and deductive systems. It is explained how logic is used to reconstruct and analyse arguments and the semantics of natural language. For all students interested in the subject matter.

Imagination: Its Nature and Importance FLFI.04.097 (6 ECTS)

Uku Tooming

Wed 14-16 Jakobi 2-337, weeks 2-14

Imagination as a mental capacity has often received philosophical attention throughout history. It is noticeable that debates about the nature and role of imagination have also become very lively in recent decades in analytic philosophy of mind. In this course, we look more closely at the contemporary debates and inquire what is at stake in them. The course is divided into three parts, corresponding to three interrelated topics: a) the nature of imagination; b) imagination and other mental phenomena; c) the cognitive role and value of imagination. For all students interested in the subject matter.

Slurs, Pornography and Effability: Selected Topics in Socio-Political Philosophy of Language FLFI.04.098 (6 EAP)

Alexander Davies et al.

Mon 16-18 Jakobi 2-337, weeks 2-13

This course provides an introduction to three topics in socio-political philosophy of language: slurs (what about their semantics and pragmatics makes them so different from ordinary nouns?); pornography (a recognized form of legally protected speech in the United States, which was once claimed to have the ability to silence women); and effability (how social and political relations between speakers of language shape what those speakers can say in that language). For all students interested in the subject matter.

Philosophical Disagreements HVFI.01.003 (6 ECTS)

Kadri Simm et al.

Thu 16-18 Jakobi 2-337, weeks 1-15 (or fully Web-based)

Elective course for PhD students from all over the University. The first module focuses on critical thinking and argumentation skills (3 ECTS), the second module introduces the students to various interdisciplinary philosophical topics (3 ECTS). The course has no prerequisite subjects. It is possible to participate in only one module of the course (Argumentation Theory or Philosophical Disagreements); passing the first module is not required for participation at the second module. For doctoral students from all fields.


FLFI.01.105 The Philosophy of Existence (3 ECTS)

Jaanus Sooväli

Wed 14-16 Jakobi 2-230

In the course of reading major texts of the philosophy of existence, the following topics will be focused on: (1) The cultural and philosophical context the philosophy of existence grows out of; (2) The fundamental philosophical problems and questions pertaining to the philosophy of existence; (3) The place of the philosophy of existence in the wider context of modern philosophy. For everybody interested in the topic.

FLFI.01.111 Introduction to History of Philosophy (6 ECTS)

Roomet Jakapi et al.

Web seminars, Thu 14-16

The course focuses on the ideas and arguments of some key thinkers in Ancient Greek and Early Modern Philosophy such as Plato, Sextus Empiricus, Cicero, Descartes, and Locke. More specifically, the course will concentrate on the historical development of skepticism in the context of epistemology, moral and political philosophy. Seminar texts will include both primary and secondary literature. For everybody interested in the topic.

FLFI.01.122 Genealogies of Knowledge (6 ECTS)

Toomas Lott

Mon 13-15 Web seminars, Thu 16-18 Jakobi 2-224

The course focuses on the genealogical theories of knowledge and closely related concepts such as understanding and justification. Among others, we will cover the following topics: what's the point and function of our concept of knowledge? What's the difference between historical and fictive genealogies of epistemic concepts? To what extent can the functions of other epistemic concepts (e.g. justified true belief) be derived from the function of the concept of knowledge? Is the function of knowledge different from the function of the concept of understanding? For everybody interested in the topic.

FLFI.01.124 Young Martin Heidegger's Phenomenology of Religious Life (3 ECTS)

Karin Kustassoo

Wed 16-18 Jakobi 2-337

The course focuses on Martin Heidegger's two lecture courses from his first Freiburg period: "Introduction to the Phenomenology of Religious Life" and "Augustine and Neo-Platonism." In these lecture courses young Heidegger develops his phenomenological method and provides a distinctive reading of the letters of St Paul and of Augustine's Book X of the Confessions. We will study young Heidegger's phenomenological method and explore his philosophy of religious life through examining his reading of concrete religious phenomena. For everybody interested in the topic.

FLFI.02.146 Memory, History and Tradition (6 ECTS)

Siobhan Kattago

Tue 16-18 Jakobi 2-336

From the Platonic notion of memory as a wax block to Hegel's historical consciousness and Nietzsche's critique of historicism, the link between past and present has been an object of philosophical debate. The writings of Maurice Halbwachs on collective memory emphasize that memory is not entirely individual, but linked to particular groups. Gadamer's philosophical hermeneutics foregrounded the importance of interpretation, tradition and historical consciousness. Freud, on the other hand, was more interested in the traumatic aspect of past experience, rather than the past as a repository of tradition. The course ends with Derrida's hauntology as a substitute for ontology. In our discussions, we will examine what it means to be conscious of the past, to be influenced, determined or even haunted by past events. An underlying theme throughout the course will be the inability to fully capture and represent past experience in the present. For everybody interested in the topic.

FLFI.02.148 Main Topics in Ethics (6 ECTS)

Sergei Sazonov et al.

Mon 16-18 Jakobi 2-305

The course introduces the students to the main problems and terms in ethics: what are ethics and morality? Descriptive vs evaluative judgments. The origin of moral norms. Are values subjective or objective? Are moral standards universal or relative to culture? Responsibility. Moral motivation. Self-interest. The course also gives a brief overview of the main theories of ethics: ethics of virtue, utilitarianism, Kantianism, contractualism. In seminars, students read and discuss central texts that deal with the aforementioned topics. For everybody interested in the topic.

FLFI.02.154 Metaethics (6 ECTS)

Francesco Orsi

Mon 12-14, Wed 12-14 Jakobi 2-336

What is it to make a moral judgment? On the one hand, moral judgments are an expression of our emotional and practical subjectivity. They certainly can express our attitudes and lead us to action. Yet they are not treated as mere matters of taste, and they seem to be objectively true or false, regardless of what anyone in particular may think. Analyzing this tension, the course will give a critical overview of the main questions and theories in contemporary metaethics, and relating these theories to issues in philosophy of language, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind. For everybody interested in the topic (some previous knowledge of ethics is expected).

FLFI.02.160 Social and Ethical Aspects of Engineering (3 ECTS)

Kadri Simm et al.

100% Web-based (Moodle)

The course consists of two modules. We start with an introduction to and overview of ethical theories and their relevance to engineering ethics. For the second module, the students have to choose 6 themes from the selection of following topics: (all focusing on the social and ethical aspects of particular technologies): automatisation, biomedical technologies, surveillance, AI, military, sex and technologies, populations and technology, costs of technologies. For all non-philosophers interested in the topics.

FLFI.02.179 Research Ethics in Humanities (3 ECTS)

Kadri Simm

Thu 12-14 Jakobi 2-336

The course will introduce students to the fundamentals of research ethics. This includes a brief overview of ethics as a theory and practice, and then a more focused investigation of research ethics, especially in the field of humanities. The students will read and discuss various relevant guidelines and codes governing the field, study the relationship between good science and misconduct, discuss authorship practices within their own research disciplines, problems associated with conflicts of interest, and finally analyse the ethical aspects of their own research. For everybody interested in the topics.

FLFI.03.098 History of Scientific Ideas (6 EAP)

Endla Lõhkivi et al.

Web seminars, Wed 14-16

Theoretical approaches of history of scientific ideas such as contextualism, realism, relativism, externalism, internalism, etc, will be introduced. Some of the most significant examples of European scientific ideas such as geo- and heliocentric cosmology, Newtonian revolution in science, alchemy and chemistry, the Enlightenment and scientific ideas, evolutionary ideas, history of ideas about the nature of human beings and ideas about society will be analysed from different theoretical perspectives. For everybody interested in the topics.

FLFI.03.114 Philosophy of Technology Reading Group (2 EAP)

Ave Mets, Nada Mohamed

Mon 16-18 Jakobi 2-327

Reading and analyzing texts on important issues in philosophy of technology, allowing the students to critically discuss philosophical inquiries in relation to technology, technological impact on other philosophical areas (epistemology, politics, ontology), and reflecting on the impact of technology on daily life. For everybody interested in the topics.

FLFI.03.115 Science—Open, Ethical, Relevant and Reliable? (3 EAP)

Jääna Eigi-Watkin, Kadri Simm

Tue 10-12 Jakobi 2-337 (+online)

The course will focus on the many philosophical, epistemic and ethical issues that the movement for Open Science raises. What is open science and what is citizen science? Do the requirements of open science challenge "regular" science and in what ways? What are the ethical responsibilities of researchers doing Open Science and to whom are they responsible? For everybody interested in the topics, especially graduate students.

FLFI.04.054 Philosophy of Mind Reading Group I (3 EAP)

Bruno Mölder

Tue 16-18 Jakobi 2-337

In this reading group, we will study Daniel D. Hutto's texts on naturalism that present a relaxed form of naturalism.

The reading group prepares the students for the upcoming Frege lectures by Daniel Hutto that will be held in Tartu in the summer of 2022. For advanced BA students and graduate students interested in the subject matter.

Formal Semantics FLFI.04.054 (6 EAP)

Alexander Davies

Mon 18-20, Fri 10-12 Jakobi 2-337, weeks 24-33

Formal semantics is the empirical project of providing and testing precise hypotheses about the semantic properties of linguistic expressions. These hypotheses are stated using the tools of formal logic and some related areas of mathematics. The course will introduce the methods of formal semantics by working through a variety of examples of linguistic expression, their semantic behaviour and attempts to construct models of this behaviour in light of the available evidence. For all the students interested in the subject matter.

Formal Semantics: Supplement FLFI.04.077 (3 EAP)

Alexander Davies

Mon 18-20, Fri 10-12 Jakobi 2-337, weeks 34-37

Supplement course for all the students taking the main course in Formal Semantics (FLFI.04.054).

FLFI.04.089 Knowledge, Prejudice, Power and Politics: Social Epistemology (6 EAP)

Simon Barker

Wed 10-12 Jakobi 2-337

Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that studies concepts such as knowledge, rationality, and belief. Traditionally, (anglophone) epistemology has focused upon the idealised individual - paying little attention to the social world in which all of us carry out our everyday, intellectual lives. In this course we put the abstractions and idealisations behind us to look at the relationship between epistemology, systems of power and injustice, identity, and personal well-being. Topics covered may include: epistemic injustice; conspiracy theorising, terrorism, and democracy; trust, distrust, and self-trust; intellectual virtue and vice; medical epistemology; feminist epistemology; race, ethnicity, power, and ignorance. For all the students interested in the subject matter.

FLFI.04.092 Philosophy of Mental Health (6 EAP)

Simon Barker

Tue 14-16 Jakobi 2-336

Mental health and mental illness are rich grounds for philosophical discussion. Questions about how we conceive mental illness and disorder relate closely to central issues in the philosophy of mind. Questions about rationality under the effects of mental illness have significant implications in epistemology. Questions about diagnosis and treatment lie at the intersection of normative and applied ethics. Beyond these relatively abstract concerns, however, mental health and mental illness are of profound and urgent importance to social and individual experience - discussion of which requires care and sensitivity. In this class, we shall explore the philosophical questions around mental health and consider their significance in the real world through key texts on topics such as: conceptions of mental illness and disorder; ethics and psychiatry; mental health, knowing, and rationality; delusions; psychiatry and epistemic injustice. For all the students interested in the subject matter.

FLFI.04.095 Collective Cognition (3 ECTS)

Jimena Clavel Vázquez

Mon 14-16 Jakobi 2-305

In this course we will review key literature on collective intentionality, the phenomenon in which social groups are directed--in thought and/or action--towards the same intentional object. The latter encompasses cases such as joint action, collective decision-making, joint attention, shared emotions, and collective memory, among others. The reviewed literature cuts across analytic philosophy of mind, phenomenology, and literature on distributed cognition. In the course, we will focus both on core literature, we well as recent developments. For all students interested in the topic.

FLFI.04.096 Situated Approaches to Cognition: Current Disputes (6 ECTS)

Jimena Clavel Vázquez

Tue 12-14 Jakobi 2-337

This course will cover situated approaches to cognition. These approaches are characterized by a revisionary attitude towards cognitive science, as well as by an emphasis on the relevance of the body and the environment to cognitive processes. While these approaches are typically discussed in block, the theses and positions that pertain to it differ importantly in some respects. In this course, we will familiarize ourselves with disputes such as the one focused on the causal-constitutive distinction; the dispute between representationalism and anti-representationalism; the ecological-enactivist compatibility and the primacy of these theses over others in the approach; the dispute between mechanicism and dynamicism; among others. For all students interested in the topic.

HVFI.01.002 Research Integrity: Framework Requirements, Values and Principles of Action (6 ECTS)

Kadri Simm et al.

Web seminars, Thu 14-18

The aim of the course is to provide participants with an overview of the key issues of research integrity: making decisions about the authorship of a scientific publication in multi-author publications, obtaining informed consent, processing data, ensuring the protection of privacy and personal data of the subjects involved in the study, obtaining necessary permissions, consents and ethics committee approvals for research and understanding their meaning. The entire course is supported by an e-learning environment that brings together materials that are relevant to different fields of science. From them, the doctoral student chooses 6 EAP worth of assignments. The course is structured in such a way that doctoral students can choose topics and tasks appropriate for their specialty and specifics of research there. The course also includes seminars where doctoral students from different disciplines can experience disciplinary differences in interpreting the Code of Conduct for Research Integrity. For all doctoral students interested in the topic.

Individual Study in Philosophy for Visiting Students FLFI.00.118 (6 ECTS)

Alexander Davies et al.

This course allows visiting students to work on a philosophy project (a paper, part of their thesis, etc.) under the individual supervision of a member of staff, to be chosen from the current list of staff members, with previous agreement by the teacher in charge (Francesco Orsi). Only for visiting students, all study levels.


Specialised seminars

(only for graduate students in philosophy)


MA Seminar FLFI.00.098 (3 ECTS per semester)

Jaana Eigi-Watkin, Roomet Jakapi

Fri 12-14 Jakobi 2-337 (1st year), Web seminars (2nd year)

The MA seminar is structured in four parts covering four semesters. The first part consists of seminars training students for basic study and research skills (including how to approach your research topic, how to find relevant literature, how to read research literature, how to present your work in written and oral form, how to find and apply for conferences on your topic, etc.). The second part is more specifically aimed at training presentation and question&answer skills. In the third and fourth part students present their work in progress and give feedback to their peers. During the two semesters, specific seminars are held to provide professional insight and practical help with PhD and non-academic options after MA studies. Compulsory for MA students in philosophy, optional for visiting MA students in philosophy.

Doctoral Seminar FLFI.00.016 (2,5 ECTS per semester)

Siobhan Kattago

Web seminars, Wed 16-18

Planning, writing and discussing philosophical papers. Compulsory for doctoral students in philosophy, optional for visiting PhD students in philosophy. Timetable here.

Individual Study in History of Philosophy / Practical Philosophy /Philosophy of Science / Theoretical Philosophy I-III

Alexander Davies et al.

The first MA specialisation course provides the student with an overview of the field; the content of the course will be composed individually, depending on the student's previous background.

In the second course, to be completed in the second term, the composition of courses and research work should pay special attention to the background necessary for developing the envisaged MA project. Thus, in this course, the ECTS should be acquired for research assignments, course work and individual reading courses that deepen the student's knowledge of a specific narrow field of research.

In the third course, to be completed in the third term, the course should now be composed primarily of work done in the research group, individual reading and research assignments that are substantial for the MA thesis.

All individual study has to be planned together with one’s supervisor and recorded in the student’s semester plan. These courses do not require pre-registration in SIS, can be (partly) covered by in-class courses.

Only for MA students in philosophy.

Readings in History of Philosophy / Practical Philosophy /Philosophy of Science / Theoretical Philosophy (6 ECTS each)

Alexander Davies et al.

Individual (reading or combined) courses for doctoral students, planned together with one’s supervisor(s) and the relevant Chairs, recorded in yearly work plans, and arranged individually (please discuss the possibilities with your supervisor(s)). These

courses do not require pre-registration in SIS, unless (partly) covered by in-class courses.

Only for PhD students in philosophy.

FLFI.00.097 Practice (6 ECTS )

Jaana Eigi-Watkin

Practice is a work-related learning experience that follows university regulations and is guided by a tutor. All activities should be agreed prior with the practice coordinator Jaana Eigi-Watkin ( Before practice, the student must compile a goal driven practice plan. After practice, the student must submit a report which includes self-reflection. Finding a practice base is the responsibility of the student and is part of the practice (how to find a job). Tasks and/or placement will be arranged individually: please contact the instructor (see also instructions at Moodle).

Only for MA students in philosophy.

FLFI.00.054 Teaching Philosophy at University (6 ECTS )

Alexander Davies et al.

Teaching Practice for PhD students: will be planned ahead with supervisors (approved by Chair and Programme Director, if needed), recorded in yearly work plans, and arranged individually (please discuss the possibilities with your supervisor(s)). Via practical tasks related to teaching philosophy at university the students learn how to design a study course, how to apply the teaching methods and how to assess the results. This course does not require pre-registration in SIS.

Only for PhD students in philosophy.

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