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Philosophy of close personal relationships, 7.5 Credits

Swedish name: Filosofiska aspekter på nära relationer

This syllabus is valid: 2015-10-05 and until further notice

Course code: 1FL103

Credit points: 7.5

Education level: Second cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Philosophy: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements

Grading scale: VG Pass with distinction, G Pass, U Fail

Established by: Faculty director of studies, Faculty of arts, 2015-09-30


This course will cover a variety of aspects of close personal relationships, from relationships between family members, to friendship, love, and our interactions with non-human animals. Some of the questions that we are going to discuss are: How are family relationships different from close friendships? What is a family? What is the nature of commitment, and how is commitment in relationships within families different from commitment in relationships outside of families? Can there be commitment between more than two romantic partners? Is fidelity a necessary component of commitment between romantic partners? Which are the rights and obligations in relation to children, who has them, how are they acquired, and what is their extent? Are parents entitled to control access to their children and the types of relationships that their children can form and maintain (for example, with their genetic parents, grandparents, other caretakers, or friends)? What does commitment for children imply for relationships between parents? What types of personal relationships are encouraged in our societies and for what reasons? Are there types of human interactions (such as committed exclusive romantic relationships between two adults) that are more desirable, valuable, or central to adult life than others (such as friendship)?

Course structure:
Week 1: What are personal relationships?
Week 2: Love and friendship
Week 3: What is a family and what is it for?
Week 4: Parents and children
Week 5: Humans and other animals
Week 6: Discussion of the first ideas and/or drafts of the course essays.

Expected learning outcomes

After having completed the course the students will have:
Knowledge and understanding:
  • Displayed knowledge and understanding of core concepts in the philosophy of close personal relationships, such as friendship, love, family, and of the nature and value of close personal relationships.
Skill and ability:
  • Developed their ability to discuss concepts, arguments and literature in practical philosophy.
  • Displayed an ability to write philosophical texts.
Assessment and attitude:
  • Displayed insight into the underpinnings of practical philosophy and its role in society.

Required Knowledge

Univ: 90 ECTS credits in a philosophy, sociology, psychology, anthropology, gender studies, law, political science, history, history of ideas, or a Degree encompassing at least 180 ECTS credits, or similar.  Proficiency in English equivalent to Swedish upper secondary course English A (IELTS (Academic) with a minimum overall score of 5.5 and no individual score below 5.0. TOEFL PBT (Paper-based Test) with a minimum total score of 530 and a minimum TWE score of 4. TOEFL iBT (Internet-based Test) with a minimum total score of 72 and a minimum score of 17 on the Writing Section). Where the language of instruction is Swedish, applicants must prove proficiency in Swedish to the level required for basic eligibility for higher studies.

Form of instruction

The course consists of internet based seminars and tutoring, essay writing and discussion.

Students are required to have access to a computer and a stable internet connection.

Examination modes

The examination consists of writing assignments and active participation in seminars. On the course as a whole, the grades given are Fail (U), Pass (G), or Pass with Distinction (VG). In order to pass the course as a whole, all mandatory parts must be passed as well. The final grade of the course is a summary assessment of the results and the course is passed only after all mandatory parts are passed.
A student who has passed an examination may not be re-examined.
For students who do not pass the regular examination there is another opportunity to do the examination. A student who has failed two examinations for a course or segment of a course, has the right to have another examiner appointed, unless there are special reasons (Higher Education Ordinance Chapter 6, section 22). Requests for new examiners are made to the Faculty of Humanities.
Academic credit transfer
Transfer of credits is handled by Student Services/Degree Evaluation Office. See


The literature list is not available through the web. Please contact the faculty.