FIL4081 – Philosophical method and practice

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course is an obligatory part of the MA program, taken in its first semester. The course helps you develop the skills that are required to do philosophy at an advanced level. It covers a variety of philosophical methods with an eye to practical applications. Particular emphasis is placed on developing writing and project development skills, and on preparing for the MA essay (FIL4091) or the MA thesis (FIL4090). The course also emphasizes other practical skills, such as making oral presentations, contributing to seminars and conferences, organizing discussion groups, and popularizing philosophy beyond academia. You will get an introduction to philosophical research. The exact course contents and emphasis may vary from year to year.

Learning outcome

When you have completed this course, you will

  • have learnt to reflect on your own and other people's approach to philosophical writing, argumentation, and method

  • have developed writing and project development skills

  • have developed general skills for oral presentations, contributing to to seminars and workshops, organizing discussions groups and popularizing philosophy beyond academia

  • be prepared to write an outline of a possible MA project which will serve as a base for later work on the MA essay or thesis and based on which you will be assigned a supervisor


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

Overlapping courses

5 credits overlap with FIL4080 – Thesis seminar in philosophy (discontinued)


There will be 12 double sessions with seminars.

The course has the following  compulsory tuition activities:

  • You are required to submit a text of one page responding to one of the readings for each week (though not for sessions devoted to practical tasks such as the library visit). The texts are to be submitted in Canvas by 12:00 the day before the seminar.

How to apply for valid absence from obligatory activity / mandatory presence


A portfolio exam which consists of revised versions of 8 of the obligatory assignments, in addition to a brief text where you describe what you wish to write about in your Master's thesis or Master's essay. A supervisor will be assigned based on your description. The description will not be subject to a formal assessment like the rest of the portfolio, but is still a part of it.

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit assignments in Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

All courses are subject to continuous evaluation. The Department's assessments of courses are
available at our web-pages but generally only in Norwegian

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language