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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Lifelong Learning (PPL)

Undergraduate Course: Renaissance Philosophy (LLLI07008)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 7 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThis is a for-credit course offered by the Office of Lifelong Learning (OLL); only students registered with OLL should be enrolled. Renaissance thinkers changed the way we think about ourselves and the world. The dignity of man, the value of the individual, the social contract we make to live with others, and importance of questioning and doubting received opinions ¿ these topics underlie the greatness of Renaissance philosophy, and underpin the great artistic achievements of the period, from Michelangelo to Shakespeare.
Course description Content of course
1. The greatness of the human spirit: Pico della Mirandola¿s ¿Oration on the Dignity of Man¿ (1486)
2. How to rule: Machiavelli¿s The Prince (1513)
3. Scepticism and belief: Erasmus¿ Praise of Folly (1511)
4. Designing a better world: Sir Thomas More¿s Utopia (1515)
5. Scepticism and the self 1: Michel de Montaigne¿s ¿Apology for Raymond Sebond¿
6. Scepticism and the self 2: Michel de Montaigne¿s ¿Apology for Raymond Sebond¿ (cont.)
7. Idols of the Tribe: Francis Bacon¿s New Atlantis (1624)
8. Connecting with the world: Descartes¿ Discourse on Method (1637)
9. Freedom of the press and religious toleration: John Milton¿s Areopagitica (1644)
10. The quest for political order in an unstable world: Hobbes¿s Leviathan (1651)
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2014/15, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  10
Course Start Lifelong Learning - Session 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 78 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Open Studies 10 credit courses have one assessment. Normally, the assessment is a 2000 word essay, worth 100% of the total mark, submitted by week 12. To pass, students must achieve a minimum of 40%. There are a small number of exceptions to this model which are identified in the Studying for Credit Guide.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
By the end of this course, students should be able to:
¿ Demonstrate an understanding of the basic tenets and development of Renaissance philosophy;
¿ Appreciate the special concerns of the age;
¿ Apply techniques of philosophical analysis to the works of art of the period.
Reading List
Pico della Mirandola, 1486. Oration on the dignity of man. [online] Available at:
Bruce, S., ed., 2008. Three Modern Utopias. Oxford: Oxford World¿s Classics. (for the More and Bacon works)
Machiavelli, 2003. The Prince. London: Penguin.
Erasmus, 2004. The Praise of Folly. London: Penguin.
Montaigne, 2006. An Apology for Raymond Sebond. London: Penguin.
Descartes, 1998. Discourse on Method and The Meditations. London: Penguin.
Milton, 2008. Areopagitica. Champaign, Ill.: Standard Publications.
Hobbes, 2002. Leviathan. London: Penguin.
Alternative/ online publications are also available.
Kraye, J., ed., 1996. The Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Humanism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hankins, J., ed., 2007. The Cambridge Companion to Renaissance Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Web sources
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
Class handouts
PowerPoint presentations and key passages will be made available on a weekly basis.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMr James Mooney
Tel: (0131 6)50 3077
Course secretaryMrs Sabine Murdoch
Tel: (0131 6)51 1855
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