Length: 1 year (can be spread over 2 calendar years)
Degree type: MA Domuni University
Entry requirements: MA1 in Philosophy (or equivalent)
Choose 4 courses and 1 research seminar from below - to be approved by the Director of Studies
List of Courses
This course introduces some of the key elements in Aristotle's thought. It will consider, among other things, Aristotle on language, logic, “first philosophy” or “wisdom”, and effective choice and action. In the appendices, Aristotle on language and logic in the Organon, on nature in the Physics, on “first philosophy” or “wisdom” in the Metaphysics, and on effective choice and action in the Nichomachean Ethics will be considered.
Ethics, like philosophy, is in search of principles and universals. Ethics reflects on a particular human experience, namely, the experience of the good or of being good, and sets it in the context of the whole. One could also say that ethics reflects on what is the good and how our lives are oriented towards it
This course intends to familiarize the students with the debates and contributions of the main philosophical scholars and theories which have developed through history from the time of Greek Sophists through the XX century. Based on the Aristotelian assumption that man is a by nature a political animal, the course intends to give ultimate answers to questions such as how material goods should be distributed; on what basis people should possess property; what are the justified reasons why some people have more properties than others; why political power has to exist; what kinds of governments are acceptable; what does it determine the correct balance between authority and autonomy; what is the right balance between private and common good; what are the justified limits to my/your freedom.
There are many different definitions of Social Political Philosophy (SPP): the political can be defined as social decision making; philosophy is the most general form of inquiry that is the attempt to say what it is true and why. It is a normative discipline: SPP tries to establish norms, rules and ideal standards, how the social and political life should be. Different from Political science, which is the art of governing people, the discipline and the practice of assuring the “common good” of a certain society. Different from Social Sciences, which are descriptive disciplines which try to know the social facts and to find connections between them.
Part I: Historical contributions on social political thought
The Sophists: philosophy goes public; Plato’s Republic; Aristotle’s Politics; Cicero: Ius Gentium; Patristic era, St. Augustine: “De Civitate Dei”; St. Thomas on Natural law; Marsilio: “Defensor Pacis”; Machiavelli: The Prince; The Protestant reformation, Luther & Calvin political thought; Hobbes, Locke on Social Contract; Rousseau: Human nature and society; Montesquieu: Separation of powers; Tocqueville: Democracy in America; Adam Smith: The Wealth of nations; John Stuart Mill: On Liberty; Marx’s Critique of capitalism; Freud: Civilization and its discontents; Dostoyevsky’s Grand inquisitor; Hitler’s Nazism & Mussolini’s Fascism; Gandhi use of Power
Part II: Contemporary social political issues
Theories of Justice & distribution of property; Rights & Freedom; Natural law and social political philosophy; Justifications of the State, forms of Government ; Environment, Individualism, Multiculturalism, Feminism, Civil movements in a globalized world.
Leo Strauss, History of Political Philosophy, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1990
W.L. Mc Bride, Social and Political Philosophy, Paragon House, New York, 1994
Wolff, An Introduction to Political Philosophy, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1996
Santoni, & J. Sommerville, Social and Political Philosophy, Anchor Books, NY, 1963
The modern epistemological problem has two aspects:
1. The opposition between science and philosophy or truth and error. We find this basically in Descartes and Kant.
2. The conflict between science and science or that of contemporary and classic physics and not an opposition between science and philosophy or truth and error.
This course is divided into six sections. The first section – What is Philosophy? – deals with the problems surrounding any definition of the discipline and looks at various ways of thinking about it. The second section – Why Study Philosophy? – distinguishes some general types of reasons, and then examines reasons for studying philosophy. Section three looks at the relationship of philosophy to theology. It distinguishes different ways in which they might relate, and gives a historical survey of that relationship. Section four – Main Areas of Philosophy – introduces the main branches of the subject and gives a preliminary account of them. Section five, Presocratic Philosophy, looks at the earliest Greek philosophers and at how philosophy developed from myth. It examines two key issues: the problem of ‘appearance and reality’ and the problem of ‘the one and the many’. The final section introduces the student to Socrates. It presents the life and death of this iconic figure and examines the political intrigue surrounding his death and his own account of his philosophical vocation.
According to Gibelin in his Foreword to Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone, Freedom is the central theme of Kant’s philosophy. This course will introduce to Kant, centering on Freedom as a key concept to understand his philosophy, in the three spheres defined by the critical project: Metaphysics, Moral and Aesthetics.
The term ‘anthropology’ is derived from two Greek words: ἀνθωπος (anthrōpos) and λογος (logos). The former (anthrōpos) refers to ‘man’ in the generic sense, that is to say, it means ‘human being’; the latter (logos) signifies ‘discourse’ or ‘science. Philosophical anthropology is thus concerned with a philosophical account of the mystery of the human being. Naturally, the history of philosophy has produced a wealth of approaches and an abundance of profound insights concerning the human being. It has also given rise to numerous errors in this regard.
This course will engage the question of how we are to construe the relationship that obtains between body and soul/mind. Rather than adopting a purely historical approach, beginning with Aristotle,
the text begins with an exposition of three different contemporary treatments of this issue before proceeding to expound important aspects of Aristotle’s and St. Thomas Aquinas’s metaphysics of human nature.
This course is the second part to Introduction to Moral theories in Bioethics I.
The course will introduce the students to the historical beginning of bioethics, as well as some of the moral theories employed in bioethics discourse. Specifically, this course will:
• Highlight some of the ethical misconducts in modern human history
• Highlight some basic moral principles of research and clinical encounters with human subjects
• Provide insights into how these principles are employed in concrete human contexts.
PH0003 The main objective of this unit is to get an above all understanding of what Indian Philosophy is and in what circumstances it has developed. Though Indian Philosophy has developed in different parts of India it has many common characteristics hence the student is likely to know a few important ones. Furthermore, one should have a basic understanding of what Indian philosophy is accused of.
PH0004 What is expected from the students in this Unit is that they must be able to point out the importance of Vedas in Indian Philosophy, the classification of Vedic literature and must have a proper understanding of the Samhitās, Brāhmaṇas and Āraṇyakas. However, the Upaniśads will be dealt separately. Further, one must be acquainted with a few other important teachings of Veda such as Vedic religion, how monism developed from polytheism, and a basic understanding of what ṛta, the law of karma, the theory of creation, the institution of yajña, āśramas and varṇa is.
PH0005 By Studying this particular unit one must be able to understand what is the meaning of Upaniṣad, how it was developed from Vedas and what are its main teachings and how they reach their logical culmination in the identity of the self and the Brahman. One must also be able to understand the Upaniṣadic view point of bondage and liberation along with the cosmogony and puruṣārtas.
The main objective of the conclusion is to introduce the students to the different systems of Indian Philosophy as it deals with various philosophical thoughts of several traditions originated in Indian Subcontinent.
PH0006 This course seeks to introduce students to some attempts at outlining the definition and purpose of philosophy of language. From there students will be taken through some traditional problems of philosophy of language such as theories of meaning, reference and denoting, and how these have been debated. The importance of language as a communicative tool that conveys meaning and intentions as well as our own understanding of the world is obvious. This course will seek to take students through this importance from a philosophical perspective.
PH0007 This course seeks to introduce students to analytic philosophy. Students will be taken through some attempts at defining what analytic philosophy is, in particular how analytic philosophy understands philosophical problems and its own suggestions at approaching those problems. Then students will be led through an example of a debate in analytic philosophy. We will look at Strawson’s paper on referring and Russell’s response to it. The rest of the course will look at various topics considered proper to analytic philosophy.
This course will take students through ethical discourse from the time of Plato to Aristotle, then to Kant and utilitarians. The principal aim of this course is to make students aware of the different traditions or approaches to ethics. Students can then be able to compare some of the most influential ethical theorists in human history.
PHI0008 John Locke was an influential seventeenth century English philosopher and regarded as one of the greatest Enlightenment thinkers and forerunner of Liberalism and British Empiricism. He can be considered as among the most famous and prominent philosophers and theorists of the seventeenth century. This course offers an extensive and comprehensive account of John Locke’s epistemology and political philosophy based on his core ideas, themes and writings.
PHI00011 Political philosophy is a branch of philosophy that studies essential questions about various political issues, concepts and problems that are important to any human society. Based on concepts such as state, justice, liberty, rights, government and authority, political philosophy can be regarded as the primal ethics applied to a group of people, geared towards the setting up of a political society, the maintenance of a stable society and the best possible way for citizens to act.
PH009 - This is a comprehensive and systematic course on the philosophy of David Hume – a prominent Scottish Enlightenment philosopher widely known for his influential system of philosophical empiricism, naturalism and scepticism. Based on his influential and extreme Empiricist ideas, Hume can be rightly considered as one of the most important philosophers of all time.
Important issues in legal philosophy range from abstract conceptual questions about the nature of law and legal systems, to normative questions about the relationship between law and morality, politics and other norms as well as the justification of various legal institutions. Although this course will deal with conceptual themes of philosophy of law especially in the first section, the course generally focusses on the practical and readily applicable aspects of the field.