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The University of Southampton

PHIL2027 Kant

Module Overview

Among philosophers in the modern era, Immanuel Kant is widely acknowledged as the most important, original and influential. His challenging book, Critique of Pure Reason, asks what we can know about the nature of reality at the most fundamental level. Can we know about reality in a way that goes beyond science and experience, using reason to discover whether there is a God, or a human soul, or whether we have free will? Kant answers: No. We can know the world only as it appears to us, not as it is in itself. But his original idea is that, rather than being left with the despairing thought that our experience might be an illusion, we can turn to investigate the way the mind must work in order to experience anything at all, and discover how the world we construct for ourselves obeys necessary rules, and how we can distinguish in a new way what is objective from what is merely subjective. The aim of this module is to introduce and explain the philosophical positions and arguments advanced in Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, and encourage critical reflection upon them in the light of recent philosophical commentary.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • the central concepts and arguments put forward by Kant in his Critique of Pure Reason.
  • the significance of Kant’s views in the history of philosophy and their relevance to contemporary issues.
  • objections to Kant’s views and possible answers to them.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • evaluate critically Kant’s views and the arguments he offers in support of them in light of recent commentary.
  • relate the issues the module concerns to issues other areas of philosophy, such as epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind and ethics.
  • articulate and defend your own views concerning the issues Kant discusses.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • contribute to discussion in a critical but dispassionate way.
  • scrutinise complex texts and extract from them key information.
  • demonstrate enhanced skills in essay writing, planning and research


The syllabus may vary from year to year. Topics may include: - knowledge - idealism and realism - space and time - the self and self-consciousness - free will - arguments for the existence of God

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include - Lectures - In-class discussion - One-on-one consultation with module co-ordinator Learning activities include - Attending classes - Contribution to class discussion - Doing independent research for and writing assessed work

Independent Study117
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

S Gardner (1999). Kant and the Critique of Pure Reason. 

Hartley Library. 

P Guyer (2006). Kant. 

Dicker (2004). Kant’s Theory of Knowledge. 


I Kant (2003). Critique of Pure Reason. 



Draft essay


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (1500 words) 50%
Essay  (1250 words) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Resubmit assessments 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (120 minutes) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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