80 112 GK1 Examen philosophicum


There is no admission requirements for the philosophy course. The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO) has a separate entrance exam, where general admission is presupposed.

Recommended prerequisite knowledge

It will be helpful if the students orient themselves about what philosophy is before entering the course.

Course content

At AHO ex.phil. until now has been taught at the end of the study program (course code GK6EXPHIL). This pilot project (GK1EXPHIL) intends to try out how ex.phil. can be fitted in at the beginning of the program, which the Institute of Form, Theory and History (FTH) has been responsible for since 2007. The first part of the pilot was conducted in the autumn of 2013. The second part of the pilot is carried out in autumn 2014.

The purpose of moving ex.phil. to the beginning of the study program is twofold: (1) Firstly, the meaning of ex.phil. as better fulfilled, since the intention of the ex.phil. is to prepare new students for studies at universities and colleges. (2) In order to better meet the overall intent of the ex.phil. course, management by FTH wanted to tie the ex.phil. course closer to the main objective of teaching the first year, namely that of improving the ability for complex problem solving, and the first year students' other educational lessons and instructions, such as three-dimensional computer-aided design, subscription and presentation conventions and model engineering.

Thus, the intention of the pilot is to make ex.phil. a part of the comprehensive set of methods and tools for idea and project that the students are to acquire during the first year and which lays the foundation for their further progression.

The ex-phil. course provides an introduction to the general questions of what we perceive as real (ontology), what we mean by knowledge (epistemology) and how we understand "the human condition" (anthropology) in the Western tradition. These issues are lit from different angles, through a systematic introduction to philosophy, the philosophy and history of science, and through an introduction to selected topics in the philosophy of science, ethics and aesthetics.

The connection between the systematic (synchronic), the historical (diachronic) and thematic (specific) approach to these general questions are handled within a culture philosophical framework. Within this framework, in which philosophical anthropology, practice theory and learning theory are central, students will receive an introduction to central philosophical issues from Greek antiquity to the present day. The emphasis will be on showing how philosophical thinking consists of a systematic reflection on fundamental questions without definitee answers, so that philosophy can be seen as a continuing discussion where answers are given, but where questions and arguments are of a greater importance.

By gaining insight into this ongoing discussion, students develop the ability to reflect upon fundamental questions and beliefs that has had - and have - a decisive impact on what we perceive as different areas of reality. It is about how science and technology, art and aesthetics, ethics and politics, economy and society, religion and beliefs, constitute what we belive to be true. At the overarching level, students will thus be able to reflect on the historical and conceptual assumptions of the dominant ways of thinking in Western culture. As such, the ex.phil. course safeguards not only important aspects of the education of first year students, but also contribute to preparing them for their role as future professionals.

Learning outcomes

The outcome of the course consist of knowledge and understanding, skills and competence expected of of students at the ex.phil.-level in Norway.

Knowledge / understanding:

• Knowledge of key concepts and topics in philosophy, including an understanding of key philosophical positions, the differences between them and the objections against them.
• Knowledge of the history of philosophy from antiquity through to modernity, i.e. the main trends in the history of science and key thinkers in the history of philosophy up until today.
• Knowledge of the main directions in the 20th century theory of science.
• Knowledge of key concepts and principles of ethics (moral philosophy), as well as understanding of different ethical positions, the differences between them and the objections against them.
• Knowledge of key concepts, issues and positions in aesthetics, as it is understood in the philosophical tradition as "sensuous cognition", as "philosophy of beauty and taste" and as a reflection on the concepts, institutions and practices of art.


• Students learn to render and execute simple discussions of key issues in philosophy and history of science, epistemology, ethics and aesthetics.
• In this way, students develops their ability to read academic texts, so that they are able to perform simple analyzes of argumentation in academic texts.
• Students acquire basic skills in academic writing, including how to formulate simple arguments and how an academic text is made up of arguments that take part in a larger reasoning.


• Through the ex.phil. course, students learn to identify and discuss philosophically relevant issues within their own subject (architecture and design) and other subjects.
• Students will also be given a general and basic competence in dealing with academic and theoretical issues in an independent and systematic way.

Working and learning activities

On the overarching plane, the educational program in a systematic way ties toghether "lesson" (lectures), "instruction / action" (exercises) and "reflection" (public discussions). The purpose of this is to build basic skills in academic reading, writing and thinking and to give a more comprehensive understanding of this practice as an integral part of the profession as an architect or a designer.

The course is given in the form of weekly lectures, 3-4 hours of instruction a week, and 3-4 seminars/work shops during the semester. For the work shops, the students will asked to prepare small papers. Thus, the students will work in groups, 2-3 hours a week, in which they work on preparatory assignments given by lecturer, preparing the students for the seminars. The preparatory assignments will be integral to the individual paper that each student have to write during the semester.

Professor in charge

Ingmar Meland