Postgraduate taught 

Philosophy (Conversion) MSc

Inquiry, Science, and Democracy: The Philosophy of Susan Stebbing PHIL5110

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

Susan Stebbing, the first woman to be a professor of philosophy in the United Kingdom, was a central figure in early analytic philosophy. Stebbing developed important contributions in theoretical subjects such as philosophy of language, epistemology, and metaphysics, but also applied these theories to practical problems in her work on critical thinking, popular physics, and politics. This course will introduce students to both sides of her philosophy and show that even rigorous theoretical philosophy can affect one's life outside of the classroom


16x1hr lectures and 4x1hr seminars as scheduled on MyCampus.

Excluded Courses





Essay 1 (2,500 words) - 50%

Essay 2 (2,500 words) - 50%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

This course aims to:


■ Introduce students to the major themes in the philosophy of Susan Stebbing in their historical setting.

■ Provide students the opportunity to apply abstract philosophical theories to real world problems, including the communication of scientific results and the assessment of political arguments.

■ Develop core philosophical skills of historical reconstruction, argumentation, and philosophical analysis.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to: 


■ Categorise and differentiate between key concepts that feature in the work of Susan Stebbing in their historical context. 

■ Identify obstacles to clear thinking resulting from compressed or emotionally toned language in political discussion and in the communication of scientific results. 

■ Develop and defend a philosophical position, through sustained written argumentation and evaluating different notions of philosophical analysis. 

■ Explain the reasoning underlying different views of communication as developed in the works of Stebbing and her contemporaries. 

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.