What optional modules should you take in your first year?
It is difficult to know when you’re a first year what the best optional modules are. This is why in my first year I have comparatively few optional modules than in my latter two years. This also makes it very important to choose the right ones because you want to make your choices worth it. The options available for me are; Ideas of Freedom, Existence, Experience, History: Key Topics in Continental Philosophy and Philosophy for the Real World: Knowledge, Ignorance and Bullshit (though these may change in future years). Here’s my feedback on the two modules I took Continental and Bullshit and why they are in my opinion the better ones to take (even if it might be awkward to tell people you’re studying bullshit). I’ll start with Continental to leave you in suspense for the intriguing Bullshit module. This was at first the lowest on my priority list because I felt Ideas of Freedom sounded more exciting. However, I advise you to think tactically when choosing your modules because if you choose two in the same term you’re likely to end up with too much work. Due to this since Continental was the only optional module for the first term I chose it. Another advantage of Continental philosophy is the great scope which it covers, meaning you’re guaranteed to find something you connect with and want to write your essays on (which for me and many others was Marx). I won’t lie at the time I wasn’t actually that fond of Continental because I found the reading to be strenuous (Heidegger especially so) and some of the topics a little dry however when it came to the essay I completely changed my mind and began to really engage with the subject. It is a difficult module but this gives the benefit of giving you the knowledge of how to tackle laboursome reading and highfalutin concepts straight off the bat which will certainly come in handy throughout your time as
Now onto Bullshit, the one that surely captured your imagination instantly as it did mine. Philosophy for the Real World: Knowledge, Ignorance and Bullshit is a module that greatly involves politics yet does not require you to know very much at all about it. The module explores very current and relevant topics such as post-truth, propaganda, knowledge, lies and of course the concept of bullshit. In the seminar’s we discuss these subjects at great length with questions like which is the greater enemy to man lies or bullshit? Given the current tense political climate in which there is great flux and we do not know who to trust, being able to recognise a bulshitter is a valuable skill. Bullshit is a newly recognised topic in philosophy and because of this Quassim (the lecturer) is actually one of the forerunning researchers for the topic. It is the equivalent of being lectured on scepticism by Descartes himself! Not only that but the content itself is very easy to grasp so you don’t have to worry about zoning out in lectures or struggling with reading/essays. This module is also highly unique because it is currently the only one of it’s kind in the country. The departments more cutting edge work will also give you an advantage over students from other philosophy departments in the country.
So there you have it Continental is brilliant for ease of timetabling and Bullshit is one not to be missed! I’m sure though whatever you pick you’ll enjoy because our fantastic department is great at orchestrating unique and engaging modules.