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Postgraduate Module Descriptor

SOCM002B: Philosophy of the Social Sciences

This module descriptor refers to the 2017/8 academic year.

Module Aims

The module aims to promote a reflective attitude to the nature and foundations of social scientific and related forms of social inquiry in general, and to your own domain of inquiry and research interests in particular. It introduces and familiarises you with a range of central philosophical concepts and ideas that will aid this endeavour. Through learning how to think philosophically and to pose philosophical questions on the nature and possibility of social inquiry the module aims to enable you to come to see more clearly the theoretical and philosophical foundations and presuppositions of your discipline and to facilitate reflection and clarity on the nature, limits and possibilities of social scientific knowledge and understanding.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

This module's assessment will evaluate your achievement of the ILOs listed here - you will see reference to these ILO numbers in the details of the assessment for this module.

On successfully completing the programme you will be able to:
Module-Specific Skills1. Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge and understanding of central philosophical concepts pertaining to the ontological, epistemological and normative foundations of social inquiry.
2. Show how philosophical analysis offers insight into the fundamental nature of the social world and identifies explanatory and interpretive issues in seeking to know and understand it.
3. Illustrate how philosophical analysis can aid the assessment and evaluation of the findings and claims of, and theoretical and methodological disputes within, social scientific inquiry.
4. Draw on philosophical concepts and ideas in to illuminate explanatory and interpretive issues in student’s own domain of inquiry
Discipline-Specific Skills5. Recognise and debate the contested and provisional nature of knowledge and understanding
6. Identify and evaluate approaches to problem-solving
7. Enhanced capacity to think philosophically and theoretically and to apply this ability to the student’s own research questions.
Personal and Key Skills8. Undertake independent/self-directed learning (including time management) to achieve consistent, proficient and sustained attainment
9. Work as a participant or leader of a group and contribute effectively to the achievement of objectives.
10. Reflect on the process of learning and evaluate personal strengths and weaknesses. Apply ideas to new situations.