Introduction to Practical Philosophy

Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

Philosophy is often divided into practical philosophy and theoretical philosophy. Practical philosophy includes such areas as ethics, aesthetics, political and social philosophy, philosophy of law, philosophy of religion, feminist philosophy, action theory and value theory. The distinction between practical philosophy and theoretical philosophy is, however, not always clear and is a matter of debate, and problems within practical philosophy are often relevant for questions in theoretical philosophy. It is therefore important that all who study philosophy have a solid knowledge of practical philosophy, even if they in their advanced studies choose to concentrate on theoretical philosophy.

FIL124 aims to give students an overview of important basic concepts, arguments and positions in practical philosophy. Although the main emphasis is on subjects from contemporary philosophy, it will often be appropriate to start with philosophical works and positions from previous time periods. After completion of the course, the students should be able to demonstrate insight into central theories and problems from within practical philosophy and to see their relevance and applicability for other contexts. The course provides a foundation for further studies in philosophy at the Bachelor level.

Learning Outcomes


After taking the course, the students should have a good knowledge of important basic concepts, arguments and positions in practical philosophy.


After taking the course, the students should be able to recognize and demonstrate insight into basic problems and arguments within practical philosophy in different contexts.


The course provides a basis for further studies with the aim of attaining a B.A. in philosophy. In combination with other subjects and disciplines it can form part of an education which qualifies for teaching philosophy in high schools. The course can also serve as support for a deeper understanding of basic questions in connection with the study of other disciplines.

Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Recommended Previous Knowledge
A good proficiency in English is necessary since it ought to be assumed that much of the prescribed reading will be in English.
Access to the Course
The course is open to students admitted at the University of Bergen.
Teaching and learning methods
Teaching is offered in the form of lectures and seminars. Seminars are compulsory.
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

An approval of compulsory requirements is valid for three semesters, including the semester in which the approval is given.

Oral presentation in groups on the seminar.

Students must attend at least two thirds of the seminars.

Forms of Assessment

A 4-day Home examination of 3000- 5000 words (not including table of contents, list of references etc.).

Exams in the course are held every semester.

The compulsory activities have to be formally approved before one can take an exam in the course.

The compulsory requirements have to be formally approved in a semester in which there is teaching in the relevant course in order to register for the examination in a semester in which there is no teaching in that course.

Grading Scale
From A to F
Course Evaluation
The teaching will be evaluated from time to time.
Programme Committee
Undervisningsutvalget for fagstudiet i filosofi.
Course Coordinator
Undervisningsutvalget for fagstudiet i filosofi.
Course Administrator
Institutt for filosofi og førstesemesterstudium.