M.A. in Theoretical Philosophy

Theoretical philosophy is a vast discipline: it includes the foundational questions of metaphysics, the study of philosophical and scientific methodology, and the formal investigation of logical systems; it deals with the intricacies of mind, consciousness and cognition; it investigates the conditions of knowledge, and it studies the philosophical aspects of language. Moreover, the topics of the discipline have a history (in the Western World) of over 2.500 years.

The philosophy departments of the universities of Bochum and Dortmund have teamed up to offer a comprehensive and thorough M.A. program covering all the above-mentioned sub-disciplines of theoretical philosophy. The program is taught in English by a sizeable group of instructors, each a specialist in their respective fields. Below, you can find a short overview of the contents of the program.

Modules

The program is organized in modules. There are 9 modules in total, 7 of which have to be completed (see the descriptions of the SP and EB modules). The program is designed to give students both a solid foundation in the disciplines of theoretical philosophy while at the same time allowing for a high degree of flexibility to enable students to develop a personal profile.

(WM IIIa 1)
Epistemology, Action, and Methods in Philosophy and Science

This module addresses (i) classical questions in epistemology concerning the role of perception and reasoning for acquiring knowledge and justified belief and (ii) specific methods used in philosophy and in science to increase our knowledge about the world.

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(WM IIIa 2)
Logic, Language, and Metaphysics

This module addresses core problems, theories and advanced methods in philosophical logic, the philosophy of language, and metaphysics. Courses in philosophical logic are to a large extent concerned with modal logics broadly conceived, including systems of epistemic logic, deontic logic, and logics of time and agency.

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(WM IIIc 1)
Mind and Cognition


The seminars and lectures in this module focus on questions in the philosophy of mind. That is, reflections on the epistemology and metaphysics of mind and cognition include questions such as: What is a mind? How does the mind relate to the brain and our behavior? What is consciousness? What is intentionality? And what is their relation? Is there an asymmetry between knowing one’s own mind and knowing someone else’s mind? How should we characterize cognitive processes and states? Do they or can they extend beyond an organism? How is their relation to a biological foundation?

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(VM IIIa 1)
Epistemology, Action, and Methods in Philosophy and Science

This module extends and deepens knowledge and skills acquired in the corresponding module WM IIIa 1 (above).

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(VM IIIa 2)
Logic, Language, and Metaphysics

This module extends and deepens knowledge and skills acquired in the corresponding module WM IIIa2 (above).

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(VM IIIc 1)
Mind and Cognition


This module extends and deepens knowledge and skills acquired in the corresponding module WM IIIc 1 (above).

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(SP)
Focus

The SP substitutes for one of the three VM modules and thus allows students to concentrate their studies on a specific aspect of theoretical philosophy. Students should use the course offerings as an opportunity for an intensive engagement with a specific subject, which should have a direct connection to the envisaged topic of the M.A. dissertation.

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(EB)
Advanced

The EB substitutes for one of the VM modules. This module directly engage with current research (research-oriented learning) and prepares participants to join academic events. Students may substitute up to two courses with courses from fields outside of philosophy. Students may also substitute one course with an internship.

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(MAT)
M.A. Thesis

In the final module of the program, students are expected to produce an M.A. dissertation. The topic of the dissertation can come from any area of theoretical philosophy and should address a significant research question.

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