Research Methods in Analytic Philosophy

Basic Information

Course 2021/2022
Filippo Contesi
Sophie Keeling
Department of Philosophy
Universitat de Barcelona
Module 2. Research Methods in Analytic Philosophy


Thursdays, 15:30–18:00, from 10/02/22–24/03/22. Additionally: 20–21/06/22.
Philosophy Faculty (UB), 412. On the 20th and 21th of June, classes will be placed in Philosophy Faculty (UB), Seminari Joan Lluís Vives


This course will provide an introduction to the methods, tools and skills that are necessary to engage in discussions in contemporary analytic philosophy.


The course will be divided in three parts.

  • In the first part (6 sessions of 2.5 hours, during February–early March), we will have a reading group where we will review and discuss the structure and content of exemplary philosophical papers, as well as material on methodological issues in philosophy. Students will have to prepare questions and comments in advance of each session/class. All papers will be available electronically.
    • Before each session, all students should prepare two comments for discussion: one concerning the topic of the paper, the other concerning the structure (ideally, find a concrete tip or solution to share, e.g., from the writing guides).
  • In the second part (to be conducted online, during late March–April), students will have to participate in a philosophy blog, run by the instructors specifically for this class (
    • Each student will have to write at least 1 stand-alone blog post (2,000–3,000 words by 15 April 2022), and at least 2 comments on two other blog posts (by 29 April 2022).
  • In the third part (to be held on 20-21 June 2022), we will have a small workshop, where each student will have to present a short paper (ca 1,500 words) and also comment on someone else’s presentation.
    • Each student will have to send their paper to their commentator at least 3 weeks in advance (30 May 2022), and the commentator should send their comments (ca 800 words) to the author at least 1 week prior to the presentation (13 June 2022).
    • The total duration of each individual session will be of 45 minutes. The presentation should be maximum 20 minutes’ long, followed by maximum 10 minutes for the commentary, 5 minutes of reply, and finally 10 minutes for general Q&A.
    • Students are expected to use presentation aids (e.g. PowerPoint slides or handouts) for their presentation.


Intended Learning Outcomes 

Basic Competences

  • CB8: Students should be able to integrate information and form complex judgements on the basis of limited or partial information.
  • CB9: Students should be able to communicate effectively their arguments and conclusions to a specialized audience in a clear and rigorous manner.
  • CB10: Students should acquire and be able to deploy learning skills that allow them to pursue their studies in an autonomous manner.

General Competences

  • CG1: Students should be able to analyse, assess and construct valid arguments, and to identify formal and informal fallacies.
  • CG2: Students should be able to design, create and develop original research projects in their chosen areas of study in analytic philosophy.
  • CG4: Students should be able to work both autonomously and as part of a team, in order to provide arguments and examples for and against different positions in analytic philosophy.

Specific Competences

  • CE1: Students should be able to critically engage with the concepts and methods of contemporary analytic philosophy.
  • CE4: Students should be able to assess the writings of leading contemporary philosophers in the field of analytic philosophy.
  • CE5: Students should be able to identify and critically engage with the current state of a particular philosophical debate, and form a reasoned view, even if provisional, about it.
  • CE7: Students should be able to critically use specialized terminology in the field of analytic philosophy.


The final grade for the course will be obtained on the basis of the blog post and comments (60%) and workshop presentation and paper commentary (40%).

Topics for blog posts and workshop presentations

Each student can choose a topic based on their own coursework or research interests. The material for the blog post and the workshop presentation should not overlap. The material for both the blog post and workshop presentation will have to be original and the student’s own work. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with the instructors in advance regarding the topics.


Reading Group Activity

Readings and Calendar

  • February 10th: Introduction and preliminary discussion about how to approach research. Please come with any preliminary questions about philosophical research you might have.
  • February 17th: Thomas Nagel, “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?”, Philosophical Review, 1974
  • February 24th: Christina Hoff Sommers, “Filial Morality”, Journal of Philosophy, 1986
  • March 3rd: Brie Gertler, Overextending the Mind? Arguing About The Mind, Brie Gertler, Lawrence Shapiro, eds., Routledge, 2007. Gertler, Brie, Overextending the Mind?. ARGUING ABOUT THE MIND, Brie Gertler, Lawrence Shapiro, eds., Routledge, 2007. Available at SSRN:
  • March 10th: Jerrold Levinson, “Why There Are No Tropes”, Philosophy, 2006
  • March 17th: Olúfémi O. Táíwò, “Being-in-the-Room Privilege: Elite Capture and Epistemic Deference”, The Philosopher, 2020
  • March 24th: Conference presentations and concluding discussion. Please come with any remaining questions about module topics you might have and read the following guide: Conference Papers – The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (

General Resources

Other considerations

If needed, depending on the situation of the sanitary crisis, this course could be taught online.