application deadline for the Master’s program
The department offers a comprehensive Program in the history and problems of philosophy, allowing for concentration in the following areas: Ancient Philosophy, Medieval Philosophy, Continental Philosophy from Kant to the present, Social and Political Philosophy, and Philosophy of Science.
A significant feature of the Program is the extensive and diverse range of courses available to graduate students every semester.
Students in the course of the M.A. and Ph.D. programs in philosophy will
- demonstrate a wide-ranging and sophisticated grasp of the history of Western philosophy (ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary), i.e., be able to convey information about individual authors and texts, to state connections between the principal authors and texts, but also to explain how individual texts and authors fit into the overall movement of Western philosophy; ability to articulate a narrative of that tradition; in the case of M.A. students and of Ph.D. students completing their first year in the program, ability to converse knowledgeably about the history of Western philosophy as well as about two of the major systematic areas in philosophy (metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, natural theology / philosophy of religion, social / political philosophy).
- demonstrate a sophisticated reading and interpretation of philosophical texts, i.e., to identify the main thesis of a text, to explain the thesis, to outline in detail the principal arguments in support of the thesis, and to identify the main presuppositions underlying the text; to contextualize philosophical texts and issues in a fairly sophisticated way, i.e., to locate them in their appropriate historical contexts, to show awareness of the historical background of philosophical issues, and to show alertness to the differences between philosophical genres.
- demonstrate a sophisticated understanding and evaluation of philosophical arguments, i.e., to distinguish premises and conclusions, to distinguish issues of logical validity from issues concerning the truth or falsity of premises, to pick out and explain ambiguous terms, to identify presuppositions, and to highlight the most salient strengths or weaknesses of an argument.
- demonstrate a sophisticated ability to write about philosophical texts and issues, i.e., to state a philosophical thesis, to explain the thesis, to construct an argument or arguments in support of the thesis, to respond to possible misunderstandings of or objections to the thesis as well as to alternative interpretations of the texts and alternative positions on the issues.
- demonstrate the ability to survey and to select secondary literature that is appropriate to their work, and to make fair and effective use of this secondary literature.
- demonstrate a sophisticated ability to distinguish philosophical claims from other types of claims, i.e., to recognize and articulate the differences between philosophical claims and, for example, historical and natural-scientific claims when presented with these different types of claims; to be able to explain texts in which claims of different sorts are not only found side by side but are even confused.
- demonstrate a fairly sophisticated understanding of such philosophical issues as the nature and scope of human knowledge, the meaning of human personhood, the good life and moral obligation, the social and political dimensions of human existence, the relationship of faith and reason, and the existence and nature of God. This fairly sophisticated understanding would involve being able to state what the main questions are in most if not all of these areas, what the main answers to these questions are, what the principal sources of evidence are to which those answers appeal; to stake out a reasoned position on at least some of these questions; and to show an appreciation of what they do and do not know about these various issues.
- in the case of Ph.D. students, demonstrate the ability to communicate clearly and effectively about the philosophical texts and issues mentioned above.
Students in the Joint MA in Philosophy and Theology are expected to:
- Demonstrate a working understanding of the fundamental texts, voices, conversations, and debates that have shaped the history of philosophy and theology in the Western tradition (ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary);
- Appreciate and systematically engage the historical and ongoing interaction between philosophy and theology in the Western tradition, particularly as it concerns questions of God, reason, revelation, faith, language, doctrine, culture, and human experience;
- Appreciate and constructively engage the various genres, methods, styles, aims, and historical contexts of philosophical and theological inquiry;
- Develop a program of study in consultation with an advisor that includes a concentration in one of the following areas: Faith, Science, and Philosophy; Foundations in Philosophy and Theology; Medieval Philosophy and Theology; and Philosophy and Religions.
- Demonstrate a sophisticated ability to write and speak about philosophical and theological texts and issues through graduate seminars, language study, a comprehensive exam, and an optional thesis.
application deadline for the Joint M.A. in Philosophy and Theology program
application deadline for the Doctoral program
2017 Dissertations Defended
A Philosophical Study of Tyranny in Plato, Sophocles, and Aristophanes
Advisor: John Sallis
L’a priori de la connaissance au sein du statut logique et ontologique de l’argument de Dieu de
Saint Anselme: La reception médiévale de l’argument (XIIIe-XIVe siècles)
Advisor: Stephen Brown