Introduction to Philosophy

lfial1610  2017-2018  Louvain-la-Neuve

Introduction to Philosophy
4 credits
37.5 h
Counet Jean-Michel;
Good knowledge of French, of the general structure of Western history, logical reasoning skills, sufficient computer skills in order to fruitfully use Internet.
Main themes
The lecture course is dived into four different parts.
1) A historical introduction: What is philosophical questioning? How has this questioning been expressed over the course of the different historical periods? In this part, we show both the permanence of the great philosophical questions and the original contributions of each period, that is, how philosophy confronted dominant forms of thinking in a critical manner (myth, monotheistic religions, natural sciences, social sciences, and technique). We shall focus on introducing the key philosophers and on situating them in their historical context.
2) A study of subjectivity and its modalities: perception, imagination, memory, types of reflection, etc. The point is to show the specificity of mental phenomena in contrast to physical phenomena, so as to reach different levels of consciousness (thetic consciousness, habitual consciousness, the subconscious, the unconscious) in order to unravel the notion of intentionality.
3) A philosophical study of different cultural sectors (language, art, religion, science, technique) where human consciousness exteriorizes itself and thus acquires a collective aspect. At play will be the specificity of the resulting approach to the real and how it allows us to gain a deeper knowledge of the human being.
4) A study of human actions and their individual and collective ends: the emphasis will be on distinguishing action from behavior and on introducing the ethical dimension of human actions.

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :


By the end of this course, the students should be able to engage in an act of philosophical reflection, which implies creating a distance from the immediate experience in which the reflection can take place. The students should gain a global perspective of the major kinds of questions the great philosophers of the past have raised as well as understand the answers they have offered; this leads to a personal reflection by the students as well as to a sensitivity to the use of philosophical questioning in today's world. An introduction to the working methods will allow the students, if need be, to continue their learning on their own.


The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
This introductory course is centred on history. Philosophy at each period may be characterized at each epoch by a critical dialogue with leading disciplines: myth in Antiquity, faith in the Middle Ages, sciences of nature in Modern Times and human sciences and technique from the XIXth century . The historical account focuses on the conception of man and the emergence of subjectivity. A few great philosophers are taken as examples of the philosophical peculiarities of their times. The XXst century is essentially seen from a political (how did philosophy deal with totalitarisms) and an esthetical point of view (what are the link between philosophy and literature?).
Teaching methods
Evaluation methods
Assessment: Final examination at the end of the semester on the lecture course
Other information
Course material: Course notes will be provided covering the main aspects of the lecture course, supplemented by texts and other documents, especially including precise bibliographical references and information on access to multimedia tools.
Course holder: The course will be given by a group made up of one or more lecturers for the lecture course and two assistants for the tutorials in small groups, with the help of student-tutors (doctoral or licence students in philosophy, or if necessary, licence students in arts).
Online resources
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Bachelor in Ancient and Modern Languages and Literatures

Bachelor in History

Bachelor in Ancient Languages and Literatures: Oriental Studies

Bachelor in French and Romance Languages and Literatures : General

Bachelor in Ancient Languages and Literatures : Classics

Bachelor in History of Art and Archaeology : General

Bachelor in Modern Languages and Literatures: German, Dutch and English

Bachelor in Modern Languages and Literatures : General