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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
September 19, 2014
Canadian Excellence

Seminar Courses

Students will be required to take five courses and the Research Seminar (Winter Term). The five seminars will be designed to engage students with cutting-edge primary and secondary literature in a particular area. The diversity in the training and background of our faculty will ensure that students explore questions about the self and human agency from a variety of philosophical perspectives.  So, although the master's program is specialized due to the thematic nature of the program, the range of issues examined and the different approaches used to explore them will ensure that students have the philosophical background and breadth needed to excel in any doctoral program.

It should be noted that the courses listed below are merely placeholders and as such have very general descriptions. When a course is offered it will be tailored to the theme of the program and given a distinct title. For instance, PP 681 (Selected Topics in the History of Philosophy) might be given the title, “Conceptions of the Self in Seventeenth-Century French and British Philosophy”.  Also, several different courses can be offered with the same course number. These are distinguished by means of a unique letter. For example, a seminar on mental causation and a seminar on externalism might both be given under the heading PP 684, but the first would be numbered PP 684A and the second would be numbered PP 684B. All of the courses listed below are one-term courses worth 0.5 credits.

PP680 - Selected Topics in Social, Political and Legal Philosophy
A study of a selected theme, issue or body of work in the area of social and political philosophy. Theoretical approaches discussed may include Marxism, feminism, liberalism, communitarianism or postmodern political theory. Topics discussed may include the nation state, globalization, restructuring and social policies such as welfare and medicare.

PP681 - Selected Topics in the History of Philosophy
A study of a selected figure, trend or movement in the history of philosophy. Figures discussed may include Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Hume, Kant or Hegel. Trends discussed may include Platonism, skepticism, rationalism or empiricism.

PP682 - Selected Topics in Continental Philosophy
A study of a selected figure or a theme in 20th-century French or German philosophy. Figures discussed may include Husserl, Heidegger, Habermas, Sartre, De Beauvoir or Merleau Ponty. Possible topics include existentialism, deconstruction, critical theory and phenomenology.

PP683 - Selected Topics in Ethics
A study of a selected theme, issue or body of work in the area of applied or theoretical ethics. Theoretical approaches discussed may include rights theories, utilitarianism, feminist ethics and postmodernism. When applied ethics is emphasized, issues discussed will be taken from areas such as business ethics, environmental ethics, medical ethics and professional ethics.

PP684 - Selected Topics in the Philosophy of Mind and Language
A study of a selected theme or issue in the philosophy of mind or language. Topics in the philosophy of mind may include functionalism, theories of content, consciousness, and reductionism versus anti-reductionism. Topics in the philosophy of language may include theories of meaning and truth, indeterminacy, rule following, radical interpretation and metaphor.

PP687 - Selected Topics in Metaphysics and Epistemology
Topics in metaphysics to be examined may include the realism/antirealism debate, the concept of substance, nominalism and reductionism. Topics in epistemology to be examined may include contemporary theories of knowledge, perceptual knowledge, the a priori and skepticism.

PP688 - M.A. Research Seminar
This seminar is only available to M.A. students. Students will present their evolving research to one another and to faculty. Each student will develop a research project and produce a paper which will be an early draft of their Major Research Paper. Students will discuss and defend their projects at various stages of development throughout the term. Evaluation is pass/fail.

PP689 - Directed Study
The study of a special topic under the guidance of a member of the department. Directed study topics must be approved by the department.

PP695 - Major Research Paper
Under the supervision of a faculty member, students will complete a paper in which they engage in original research on an approved topic. Papers should be at least 7500 words long but must not exceed 8750 words, excluding bibliography but including end notes.

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