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Philosophy (MA)

Overview

Ryerson’s Department of Philosophy is a rising centre of excellence in the North American philosophical community. This innovative and intensive program contributes to the thriving research culture in Canada’s largest and most cosmopolitan city. Focused on core areas of philosophy, the program enables students to augment their undergraduate experience and pursue doctoral studies.

Degree awarded: MA

Administered by: Faculty of Arts

Philosophy graduate program website

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Curriculum

  Degree Requirements: Master of Arts Credits

PH8001

Area Readings

1

PH8003

Professional Seminar

1

 

AND one of the following Options:

 

 

THESIS Option

 

 

Master’s Thesis

(Milestone)

 

And Five Elective credits

5

 

MAJOR RESEARCH PAPER Option

 

 

Major Research Paper

(Milestone)

 

And Seven Elective credits

7

Electives
Course code Course name Credits

PH8101

Epistemology

1

PH8102

Metaphysics

1

PH8104

Philosophy of Religion

1

PH8105

Philosophy of Language

1

PH8106

Philosophy of Mind

1

PH8107

Human Rights and Justice

1

PH8108

Problems of the Self

1

PH8109

Moral Philosophy

1

PH8110

Aesthetics

1

PH8111

Social and Political Philosophy

1

PH8112

Feminist Philosophy

1

PH8115

Ancient Philosophy

1

PH8116

Topics in Early Modern Philosophy

1

PH8117

19th Century Philosophy

1

PH8119

Phenomenology and Existentialism

1

PH8121

Recent Continental Philosophy

1

PH8122

Topics in Philosophy

1

PH8123

Major Figures in Philosophy

1

PH8124

Independent Readings

1

PH8125

Critical Theory

1

PH8126       

Kant    

1

PH8127          

Philosophy and Health

1

 

Major Research Paper

A Major Research Paper is a work of about 35-40-pages written under the supervision of a faculty member. The standard of evaluation is an article in a refereed academic journal. This is a Milestone.  Pass/Fail

Thesis

A Thesis is a work of about 100-120 pages written under the supervision of a thesis committee. The standard of evaluation is a short monograph published by an academic press. This is a Milestone.  Pass/Fail

PH8001 Area Readings

The Area Readings course consists of independent but guided research in a core area of philosophy chosen by the student in consultation with the program director. The Area Readings course is an opportunity for students to broaden their philosophical knowledge while sharpening their research skills. The course culminates in a written and/or oral exam. Students will typically conduct the Area Readings in the area of their eventual Thesis or MRP.  Pass/Fail

PH8003 Professional Seminar

The Professional Seminar is a required course for all first year students. While the topics may vary from year to year, the seminar aims to introduce students to the professional skills needed to succeed in the program and the profession. Students will meet the department’s faculty, who will present their research and discuss the methods they employ and the distinctive traditions in which they work. Finally, the seminar will initiate the mentoring and planning processes needed to successfully complete the program, including grant and scholarship applications. Pass/Fail

PH8101 Epistemology

This course is a study of what canonical and contemporary philosophers have said about several central problems in the theory of knowledge. Topics may include: theories of justification; skepticism; the limits of belief and knowledge; perception, intuition and other sources of evidence; the social construction of knowledge; science and pseudo-science; a priori and a posteriori knowledge; knowledge of mathematical truths.  1 Credit

PH 8102 Metaphysics

This course is a study of what canonical and contemporary philosophers have said about several central metaphysical problems. Topics may include: being and existence; the existence and nature of abstract objects; modality and possible worlds; the nature of time; personal identity; and metaphysical realism and anti-realism.  1 Credit

PH8104 Philosophy of Religion

This course is a study of what canonical and contemporary philosophers have said about religion. Topics may include: concepts of God and ultimate reality; arguments for and against the existence of God; the relationship between faith and reason; religious diversity; miracles; religion and science; religion and ethics.    1 Credit

PH8105 Philosophy of Language

This course will examine philosophical issues regarding both the nature of language and the relation of language to other matters. The first group of issues includes topics such as: what distinguishes linguistic communication from other types of communication; how metaphors work; the ways in which language is rule-governed; the distinction between semantics and pragmatics. The second group of issues includes topics such as: the relation between language and thought, between language and truth, language and rationality, and language and gender.  1 Credit

PH8106 Philosophy of Mind

This course will examine a selection of views and issues that have arisen out of philosophical attempts to make sense of “the mind”. Some of these views may be historical, while others will be contemporary. Issues taken up may include: mind-body dualism and its critics; materialism and its critics; behaviourism and its critics; the nature of sensory experience and its relation to thought; mind/ brain identity theories; the relation(s) between thought and language; functionalism and its critics; the nature of consciousness; the possibility of “naturalizing” the mind; whether non-human animals have thoughts; whether computers do, or could in principle, think; emotions and their expression; innatist accounts of learning; cognition as information processing.  1 Credit

PH8107 Human Rights and Justice

This course will explore a core theme in the general cluster of Philosophy of Human Rights, Law and Punishment.  Examples include: transformations in philosophical theories of human rights, from Lockean Natural Rights theory to contemporary Egalitarianism (including Capability Theory and Feminist Theories); transformations in philosophical theories of punishment, revisioning deterrence, retributivism and restorative justice; transformations in philosophical theories of distributive justice (including Libertarianism, Rawls’ Theory and other Egalitarian theories).  1 Credit

PH8108 Problems of the Self

This course is a study of what canonical and contemporary philosophers have said about several central problems concerning the self. Topics may include: free will and moral responsibility; personal identity and survival; the nature of action; moral motivation; rationality and irrationality.  1 Credit

PH8109 Moral Philosophy

This course focuses on selected issues or figures in historical and/or contemporary moral philosophy. Typical topics to be dealt with might include: the sources of normativity; the metaphysical and epistemological underpinnings of moral experience; moral psychology and the nature of practical reason; the relation between morality and politics and/or religion; particular moral theories such as utilitarianism, Kantianism, virtue ethics, and contractarianism.  1 Credit

PH8110 Aesthetics

This course will involve a close study of some central issues in philosophical aesthetics. Topics may be drawn from one or more of the main fields within the discipline: the study of beauty (or the aesthetic), the philosophy of art, and the philosophy of criticism. Potential topics include: the nature of art; the relation between morality and art, the character of aesthetic experience, and the appropriate criteria for art criticism.  1 Credit

PH8111 Social and Political Philosophy

This course focuses on selected issues or figures in historical and/or contemporary social and political philosophy. Typical topics to be dealt with might include: the scope and justification of the state; the right vs. the good; multiculturalism and group rights; the relation between economics, ideology and politics; particular political theories such as libertarianism, liberalism, political realism, communitarianism, critical theory.  1 Credit

PH8112 Feminist Philosophy

This course involves a close study of one or more philosophical topics in historical and/or contemporary feminist thought. Examples include: the nature and origins of gendered identity; feminist approaches to ethics; feminist epistemology; feminist perspectives on motherhood, sexuality, the body, and reproductive technology; critical approaches to gender-based oppression.  1 Credit

PH8115 Ancient Philosophy

This course involves a critical study of selected themes and doctrines in ancient Greek philosophy, with a focus on such seminal thinkers as Socrates, Plato, and/or Aristotle. Typical issues include: the nature of reality; the relation between universals and particulars; the nature of the soul and its relation to the body; the difference between knowledge and true belief, and between the different kinds of knowledge (philosophical, practical, mathematical, knowledge of the natural world); the nature of the good life and of virtue; the roles that reason, emotions, and appetites play in the virtuous person; the kinds of social, economic, and political structures that characterize the best society.  1 Credit

PH8116 Topics in Early Modern Philosophy

This course involves the critical examination of selected works from one or more of such major 17th and 18th Century philosophers as Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Leibniz, Spinoza, Hume and Kant. Topics might include the structure, scope and limits of human knowledge; the primary secondary quality distinction; concepts of space, time and matter; nature of causation; nature of perception, consciousness and self-consciousness; personal identity; how mind and body are related; nature and existence of free will and the problem of evil and theodicy; the nature and foundations of moral and political rights.  1 Credit

PH8117 19th Century Philosophy

This course involves the critical examination of selected works from one or more of such major 19th Century philosophers as Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche and Kierkegaard. Typical themes to be addressed include: the nature of subjectivity and self-consciousness; the role that socioeconomic institutions play in shaping human knowledge and self-identity; the nature of reason and its relation to history; social dimensions of freedom; arguments for and against the systematic character of human knowledge; the critique of modernity.  1 Credit

PH8119 Phenomenology and Existentialism

This course is an in-depth study of the influential philosophical movement known as phenomenology, and of the ways this movement was taken up and developed by the existentialists of the Twentieth Century. Some of the typical issues to be studied include: the distinction between reflective and lived experience; the character of perception and embodied experience; the intersubjective constitution of the world’s meaning; the breakdown of the subject/object dualism; the temporal structure of human reality; the significance of our encounter with death and nothingness. The main authors to be studied may include Husserl, Bergson, Heidegger, Sartre and Merleau-Ponty.  1 Credit

PH8121 Recent Continental Philosophy

This seminar examines a selection of the most important themes and developments in recent continental philosophy. Some of the topics to be examined may include: difference and alterity; the ‘ethical turn’; desire and the unconscious; critiques of subjectivity and self-identity; communicative action theory; bio-politics; performativity. The course will typically focus on the work of such philosophers as Foucault, Deleuze, Habermas, Irigaray, Kristeva, Levinas, Lyotard, Nancy, Butler and Žižek.   1 Credit

PH8122 Topics in Philosophy

This course gives students the opportunity to engage in a rigorous and concentrated study of a specific canonical or contemporary philosophical topic.  1 Credit

PH8123 Major Figures in Philosophy

This course gives students the opportunity to engage in a rigorous and concentrated study of the work of a major historical or contemporary philosopher.  1 Credit

PH8124 Independent Readings

This course consists of focused study in an area of philosophy under the supervision of a faculty member. Students wishing to pursue an Independent Readings elective must submit a proposal of study, approved by the course supervisor, to the Program Director: the content of an Independent Readings course cannot overlap with a student's coursework, ARE, or final project studies.  All Independent Readings are subject to Program Director's approval. 1 Credit

PH8125 Critical Theory
This seminar focuses on a branch of continental social and political thought known as Critical Theory.  Though diverse, Critical Theorists share roots in Western Marxism and a commitment to the critique of ideologies and social practices that perpetuate alienation and oppression.  Thinkers studied may include early forerunners, such as Marx, Nietzsche and Freud, members of the Frankfurt School, including Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse and Fromm, and contemporary figures, such as Habermas and Honneth.  1 Credit

PH8126 Kant

This course studies the philosophical thought of Immanuel Kant as presented in works such as the Critique of Pure Reason, the Groundwork to the Metaphysics of Morals, the Critique of Practical Reason, and the Critique of Judgment. Topics to be discussed may include a priori knowledge, idealism, perception, and causation; free will, moral obligation, and practical reason; beauty, aesthetic judgment, and artistic genius; or teleological explanation, organisms, and the philosophy of biology. 1 Credit

PH8127  Philosophy and Health

This course examines philosophical issues that arise in medical research, healthcare delivery, public health or health policy. Topics may include: definitions of health and illness; the nature of medical reasoning and research; the social context of health and illness; issues of ethics or justice; phenomenological accounts of illness. Various methodological approaches might be used (e.g. principlism, virtue ethics, feminist ethics, deontology, utilitarianism). 1 Credit