Last updated: March 19, 2008 @ 11:06AM


Master of Arts in Philosophy

Rosemary Drage Hale
Faculty of Humanities

Graduate Faculty

Murray L. Miles (Philosophy), R. Raj Singh (Philosophy)

Associate Professors
Richard S. G. Brown (Philosophy), Wing-Cheuk Chan (Philosophy), Hans-Georg Moeller (Philosophy)

Assistant Professors
Michael Berman (Philosophy), Athena Colman (Philosophy), Christine Daigle (Philosophy), Rohit Dalvi (Philosophy), Rajiv Kaushik (Philosophy), Annie Larivée (Philosophy)

Graduate Program Director
Richard S. G. Brown

Administrative Assistant
Irene Cherrington
905-688-5550, extension 3315
Schmon Tower 1130

Program Description
The Master's Program focuses on two areas: recent and contemporary European and Asian thought. The program also accommodates the rise in importance of postmodern continental thinkers (mainly French and German philosophers). Such inclusions indicate the type of dynamic rapport the Department wishes to keep with the wider philosophical community. Consequently, the majority of courses offered in any one year will be selected from:
I.  Contemporary Studies: Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Marcel, Buber, Scheler, Merleau-Ponty, Gadamer, Luhmann or some contemporary European movement, such as Structuralism, the Frankfurt School, or Postmodernism: Derrida, Levinas, Deleuze, or Bataille.
II.  Eastern Studies: Indian and Upanishadic Philosophy: texts from the six orthodox schools of Indian philosophy, especially Vedanta, Early Indian Buddhist traditions, especially Madhyamika schools; Bhakti traditions, Gandhi; Chinese Philosophy, especially Confucianism, Taoism, and Chinese Buddhism.
III.  Comparative Studies: Comparison of Eastern and Western traditions with respect to problems of being, knowledge, person, values, and philosophical method.
  In addition, from time to time, half-courses and tutorials may be offered on the following topics: Issues in recent Anglo-American (Analytic) Philosophy, Studies in Classical Philosophy (Pre-Socratics, Plato and/or Aristotle), Process Philosophy (Bergson, Whitehead, Hartshorne). These areas of specialization fall outside the principal focus of the graduate program, but are represented by individual members of the Department. (If in a given year a half-credit in one of the above happens not to be offered, an individual tutorial therein may be arranged.)

Admission Requirements
Successful completion of an Honours Bachelor's degree, or equivalent, in Philosophy with an overall average not less than 75%. Applicants must supply a statement of interest. Knowledge of languages other than English may be required as appropriate.

The Graduate Admissions Committee will review all applications and recommend admission for a limited number of suitable candidates.

Individuals interested in part-time study should consult with the Graduate Program Director.

Degree Requirements
In order to complete the degree requirements for the Master's of Arts in Philosophy, there are two paths from which to choose: the M.A. thesis option, which requires the successful completion of four half-credits in the philosophy program and a thesis, and the major essay option, which requires the successful completion of eight half-credits as well as a major essay. Thesis candidates are limited to a maximum of one half-credit tutorial; major essay candidates may take up to two one half-credit tutorials. The Graduate Program Director of the Department must approve the program of any graduate student.

Note: The M.A. Program is designed to be normally completed in one year (twelve months) of full-time studies. Full-time students receiving financial assistance should not expect such assistance to extend beyond the first year.

Course Descriptions
Note: Not all courses are offered in every session. Students must consult with the Graduate Program Director regarding course offerings and course selection and must have their course selections approved by the Graduate Program Director each term. Refer to the Timetable for scheduling information:

MA Major Essay
A research project involving the preparation and defence of a major essay which shall demonstrate capacity for independent work and original research and thought.
Note: completion of this course will replace previously assigned grade and credit in PHIL 5F48.
MA Research and Thesis
A research project involving the preparation and defence of a thesis which shall demonstrate capacity for independent work and original research and thought.
Note: completion of this course will replace previously assigned grade in PHIL 5F99.

Advanced Studies in Political Philosophy
A critical examination of either a particular thinker or problem in political philosophy. Political thinkers may include Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Kant, J. S. Mill, Rawls and Nozick. Problems may include liberty and political organization, justice and equality, human nature and order, civil disobedience, participation and consent, liberalism, anarchism, socialism and conservatism.

A study of the existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre as discussed in his literary and philosophical works.

Examination of perceptual and cognitive issues in the moral, aesthetic and phenomenological philosophy of this French thinker. Critical exploration of his reception in the post-structuralist and post-analytic traditions.

A study of the earlier and later works of Michel Foucault. Themes discussed may include archaeology, genealogy, discipline, power, knowledge, subjectivity and sexuality.

A study of the philosophical ideas of Fredrich Nietzsche.

Husserl and Transcendental Phenomenology
Basic issues and methods of phenomenological philosophy will be studied and explored with reference to some of the major works of Husserl.

An examination of the philosophical ideas of Jurgen Habermas as found in Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, Truth and Justification, and Post-Metaphysical Thinking.

A study of Martin Heidegger's Being and Time and selected later works on themes such as fundamental ontology, analytic of Dasein, truth, language and art.

Merleau-Ponty and Nagarjuna
Critical development of comparative philosophical analysis. Examination of issues in phenomenology, existentialism and soteriology.

Kant and the 18th Century
Historical study of the thought of Immanuel Kant in the context of the 18th-century enlightenment, focusing primarily on Kant's Critique of Pure Reason.

Modern Philosophical Studies: Hegel and the 19th Century
Historical study of the thought of Georg W. F. Hegel in the context of the 19th century.

A study of Vedantic thought in the Non-Dualistic, Dualistic and other schools. Problems discussed include identity, difference, maya, reality, liberation and non-dualism.

Directed Reading I
Research course with directed study and regular meetings with a faculty member, covering topics not offered in a designated course.

Directed Reading II
Research course with directed study and regular meetings with a faculty member, covering topics not offered in a designated course.

PHIL 5V00-5V09
Studies in Contemporary European Philosophy
A study of one or more thinkers prominent in recent continental thought.

PHIL 5V10-5V19
Advanced Studies in Eastern Philosophy
Concentrated critical and interpretive study of selected texts in the areas of: Advaita Vedanta, Yoga, etc., Madhyamika and Yogacara schools of Buddhism, or Chinese Philosophy.

2007-08: Yogacara

PHIL 5V20-5V29
Advanced Studies in Comparative Philosophy
Selected issues on the basis of faculty expertise.

2007-2008: PHIL 5V20 Nietzsche and Buddhism