Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy
The Philosophy program can be taken in a variety of formats designed to meet the needs of different students:
- Double major
- Display a broad familiarity with the discipline of Philosophy and a detailed understanding of several fields within the discipline.
- Demonstrate familiarity with the central problems, debates and movements within three primary areas of philosophy: epistemology and metaphysics; values and society; history of philosophy.
- Articulate some of the major theoretical approaches within the three above-mentioned areas, and be able to apply select approaches in one's own writing and research.
- Identify a philosophical problem as such, analyzing key argumentative elements such as premises, conclusions, presuppositions, and empirical versus a priori reasoning.
- Identify and understand the characteristics of a well-structured and well-supported argument within a philosophical context.
- Read philosophical works closely and charitably, as well as actively; be able to generate clear and accurate expository accounts of other peoples' work/arguments.
- Produce well-reasoned, economically-expressed, evidence-supported arguments and/or analysis of one's own, orally and in writing.
- Locate relevant and respectable academic resources and apply them to research for a scholarly paper or project.
- Develop and display a sensitivity to the historical, social, political and cultural forces that may shape and influence philosophical problems and perspectives.
Master of Arts in Philosophy
Self, Agency and Community: About our Graduate Program
Laurier's graduate Philosophy program – Self, Agency, and Community – is one of Canada's newest and most innovative Master of Arts (MA) programs in Philosophy. We are very excited to be able to offer this program and are confident that it will earn an excellent reputation for preparing students for doctoral work or careers in government or the private sector. What sets our program apart from other master's programs in philosophy is its focus on a particular theme. All of our seminar courses explore various dimensions of the nature of the self, its relation to others and to the world.
Despite this thematic approach, students will encounter a broad range of philosophical areas, including metaphysics, epistemology, social and political philosophy and ethics. As well, topics may be approached from "analytic" and "continental" traditions. Another innovative feature of our program is the MA research seminar and the MA conference that will be organized each year.
Most students will receive funding in the form of two Teaching Assistantships (TAs) and, if eligible, an internal scholarship. Teaching assistants are responsible for two tutorial sections of 20-25 students each term. Duties will include running tutorials, facilitating discussion with undergraduate students, and grading essays, exams and assignments. Most TAs work in our large introductory courses, Values and Society and Knowledge and Reality, each of which is offered in both the fall and winter terms.
We strongly encourage students who are interested in our program to apply for external funding in the form of Ontario Graduate Scholarships or SSHRC CGS MA scholarships. It is important to note that the deadline for these scholarships is usually early to mid-November, which is much earlier than the application deadline to most master's programs. Consequently, even if you are not sure that you want to go to graduate school, you should apply. It could mean a big difference to you down the road.
The program is based upon a single field of specialization: self, agency, and community. This field will, however, be explored from the standpoint of two distinct perspectives: (1) metaphysics and epistemology; (2) social and political philosophy, and ethics. These perspectives will be brought to bear on the field as follows.
At its most general, the first category of issues concerns the nature of the self, how the self can have knowledge, and how the self acts in the world. Seminars in this area may include explorations of the limits to the view that humans are purely physical beings, how mental events such as thoughts and desires can have causal efficacy in the physical world, what it means to be an epistemic agent and what our epistemic responsibilities are, how our knowledge of ourselves differs from our knowledge of other selves, the nature of weakness of will, and what accounts for the identity of persons over time.
The second encompasses a different but related cluster of issues that are concerned with our relations to other selves at the level of societies, political institutions, and individuals. Seminars in this area may explore the embeddedness of individuals in communities and in social and political relations and institutions, the relationship between individuals and collectives, the nature and legitimacy of legal and political authority, the constitution of individuals through historical and social relations, through regimes of power and domination, and through identities of race, ethnicity, culture, class and gender, the nature of our ethical obligations to other individuals and societies, the possibilities for agency in response to oppression, social injustice, environmental degradation and globalization.
Financial support for MA in Philosophy students is available from several sources including:
- Assistantships for the fall and winter term are available to all full-time students.
- Laurier Graduate Scholarships, awarded on a competitive basis to full-time graduate students who achieve high academic standing. These scholarships are tenable for study at Laurier while enrolled as a full-time student.
- Ontario Graduate Scholarships, subject to provincial funding levels. These are competitive awards for which all students seeking graduate admissions should apply. Awards are based on merit.
- SSHRC CGS MA Scholarships. These scholarships are awarded based on merit, and are subject to federal funding levels. These competitive awards should be considered as a potential source of funding for all students seeking graduate admissions.