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Phone: (414) 229-4719
Fax: (414) 229-5022
E-mail: philosophy@uwm.edu

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Philosophy

School/College: College of Letters and Science

Degrees Conferred:

  • M.A. in Philosophy

Contents

Overview

The Department of Philosophy offers a program of graduate study leading to the degree of Master of Arts. The general purpose of this program is to provide students with the background and stimulus for critical and original philosophical thoughts. The program is designed to serve both those students who wish to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy degree in philosophy and those students who wish either to terminate their formal philosophical studies with the Master of Arts degree or to integrate a graduate level of study in philosophy with graduate studies in other academic areas.

Graduate Faculty

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Distinguished Professors
Atherton, Margaret L., Ph.D., Brandeis University
Leeds, Stephen, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Schwartz, Robert, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Professors
Liston, Michael, Ph.D., University of California-San Diego
Mondadori, Fabrizio, Ph.D., Harvard University
Sensat, Julius O., Ph.D., University of Texas - Austin
Associate Professors
Bristow, William, Ph.D., Harvard University
Ferrero, Luca, Ph.D., Harvard University
Hinchman, Edward, Ph.D., University of Michigan
Tierney, Richard, Ph.D., Columbia University
Westlund, Andrea, Ph.D., University of Michigan
Assistant Professors
Boehm, Miren, Ph.D., University of California-Irvine
Husi, Stanislaus, Ph.D., Rice University
Neufeld, Blain, Ph.D., University of Michigan
Spencer, Joshua, Ph.D., University of Rochester

Master of Arts in Philosophy

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Admission
An applicant must meet Graduate School requirements plus these departmental requirements to be considered for admission to the program:
  • Undergraduate major in philosophy or other academic background judged suitable by the Department.
  • Submission of scores on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination.
  • Three letters of recommendation concerning academic qualifications.
  • A sample of written work is recommended but not required.
Major Professor as Advisor

The student must have a major professor to advise and supervise the student's studies as specified in Graduate School regulations. At time of admission, the student's program will be supervised by the Graduate Advisor.

A student planning to work beyond the master's program should select, in consultation with the advisor, courses which will develop broad philosophical competence. A student intending to terminate studies with the master's degree may plan a more specialized program.

Advisory Committee

During the first year in attendance, the student chooses an advisor and an advisory committee of three faculty members. The student's advisor serves as chair of this committee. The choice of committee is made in consultation with the student's advisor, and submitted to the Department's Graduate Studies Committee for approval. No later than the second week of the student's second semester in the program, the advisory committee meets with the student to discuss the individual's background in philosophy and goals in this program. By the end of the student's second semester the committee has conferred with the student's instructors and meets with the student to discuss that individual's progress in the program. At that time the student, together with the committee, plans the balance of the student's work in the program and how all requirements can best be met. The committee continues to gather information on the student's class work from the instructors, and at least once each semester meets with the student to discuss the student's continuing progress, future plans in the program and the meeting of departmental requirements. The student may at any time petition the Graduate Studies Committee for a change in the composition of the advisory committee.

History Requirement

Students taking Option A or B will be required to demonstrate competence in history of philosophy by passing 430 and 432 with a grade of B or better. The Graduate Studies Committee may certify competence if the student has as an undergraduate taken 430 and 432 at UWM within the past five years or has taken their equivalent as determined by the Committee. The determination may include an equivalency exam. Students selecting the language and linguistics concentration need only meet the requirement for 432.

Logic Requirement

The student is required to demonstrate competence in logic by passing 511 or 712 with a grade of B or better. The Graduate Committee may certify competence if within the last five years the student has taken 511 or 712 or has taken an equivalent course as determined by the Committee. The determination may include an equivalency exam.

Degree Alternatives

The Department of Philosophy offers three alternatives by which the Master of Arts degree in philosophy may be obtained: Option A, the non-thesis option; Option B, the thesis option; and a language and linguistics concentration with a thesis. There is no foreign language requirement for the completion of the Master of Arts degree in philosophy, though students are encouraged to develop proficiency in a foreign or classical language.

Option A: Non-thesis Option (30 Credits Plus Exam)
Credits and Courses

Minimum degree requirement is 30 credits in coursework, 21 of which must normally be in philosophy, 9 of which may be in related fields. All 30 credits must be earned with grades of B or better; and at least 12 must be in graduate seminars. (The Philosophy Department Graduate Studies Committee may permit students to count Philosophy 681 or 685 toward meeting this requirement, when the content and level of difficulty are equivalent to that of a graduate seminar).

A student proposing a program of study involving more than 9 credits of independent study, or fewer than 21 credits in philosophy courses, must gain specific approval of the student's advisory committee.

Every student choosing the non-thesis option takes a written exam of no longer than four hours on a philosophical area chosen by the student in consultation with the advisory committee. At least one full semester before the student is to take this exam, a specific list of primary and secondary sources to be covered on the exam is drawn up by the committee together with the student. The committee provides the student with sample questions.

Thesis

Not required.

Time Limit

This program is designed to be completed in two years of full-time attendance. However, all degree requirements must be completed within five years of initial enrollment.

Option B: Thesis Option (30 Credits Plus Defense)
Credits and Courses

Minimum degree requirement is 30 credits, including the writing of a thesis, plus its defense. Of the 30 required credits, 21 credits must normally be in philosophy, and 9 may be in related fields. All 30 credits must be earned with a grade of B or better, and at least 12 credits must be in graduate seminars. (The Philosophy Department Graduate Studies Committee may permit students to count Philosophy 681 or 685 toward meeting this requirement, when the content and level of difficulty are equivalent to that of a graduate seminar.) A student proposing a program of study involving more than 9 credits of independent study, or fewer than 21 credits in philosophy courses, must gain specific approval of the student's advisory committee.

The thesis is to be written on a philosophical subject chosen in consultation with the student's advisory committee. The student and the committee are to meet sufficiently often so that the committee may adequately supervise the writing of the thesis. Upon completion of the thesis the student is required to defend the thesis orally.

Thesis

Required (as above).

Time Limit

This program is designed to be completed in two years of full-time attendance. However, all degree requirements must be completed within five years of initial enrollment.

Language and Linguistics Concentration with Thesis (30 credits Plus Defense)
Credits and Courses

Linguistics 464 or an equivalent is a prerequisite. Minimum degree requirement is 30 credits, including the writing of a thesis, plus its defense. Of the 30 credits at least 18 credits must be in philosophy with the remainder in linguistics. Philosophy 516 and Linguistics 466 and 564 are required, unless the student has taken these courses at UWM within the past five years or has taken their equivalent as determined by the Graduate Studies Committee. All 30 credits must be earned with a grade of B or better and at least 6 credits must be in graduate philosophy seminars. (The Philosophy Department Graduate Studies Committee may permit students to count Philosophy 681 or 685 towards meeting this requirement, when the content and level of difficulty are equivalent to that of a graduate seminar.) A student proposing a program of study involving more than 9 credits of independent study, must gain specific approval of the student's advisory committee.

The thesis is to be written on a language related subject chosen in consultation with the student's advisory committee. The student and the committee are to meet sufficiently often so that the committee may adequately supervise the writing of the thesis. Upon completion of the thesis the student is required to defend the thesis orally.

Thesis

Required (as above); Philosophy 990 may be taken only once.

Time Limit

This program is designed to be completed in two years of full-time attendance. However, all degree requirements must be completed within five years of initial enrollment.

Courses

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Courses numbered 300-699 are Undergraduate/Graduate. Courses numbered 700 and above are Graduate only.

303 Theory of Knowledge. 3 cr. U/G.
Study of the nature, source, and limits of our knowledge of the world of experience and of necessary truth. Prereq: jr st; Philos 101(P), 201(P), or 215(P).
317 Metaphysics. 3 cr. U/G.
Study of perennial philosophical issues about the nature of the world and our relation to it; realism, idealism, causality, the mind-body problem, time, truth. Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos.
324 Philosophy of Science. 3 cr. U/G.
Study of traditional and recent views about the nature, aim and ways of evaluating scientific theories, with reference to both the natural and social sciences. Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos.
335 Philosophy of Biology. 3 cr. U/G.
Philosophical study of topics in the biological sciences, such as evolutionary explanations, genetic determinism, the definition of life, what constitutes a biological individual. Prereq: jr st; 3 cr in philos.
337 Environmental Ethics. 3 cr. U/G.
Theories of environmental ethics, practical application. Responsibilities to nature/future generations; moral value/status of environment and organisms; philosophical issues concerning environmental studies and ecology. Prereq: jr st.
341 Modern Ethical Theories. 3 cr. U/G.
Ethical theories and problems as discussed in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos.
349 Great Moral Philosophers. 3 cr. U/G.
Major themes of moral philosophy from Plato and Aristotle to Bentham and Mill, with critical study of the outstanding works. Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos.
350 Introduction to the Comparative Study of Religion. 3 cr. U/G.
Analysis of the nature of religion, of various comparative typological classifications and methodological approaches; basic problems in understanding the varieties of religious experience and expression. Prereq: jr st; Philos 204(P), Philos/Hist/Hebr St 275(P) or Anthro 203(P).
351 Philosophy of Mind. 3 cr. U/G.
Critical study of the nature of mind and its relation to body and matter, with emphasis on recent advances in philosophy and psychology. Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos.
355 Political Philosophy. 3 cr. U/G.
Philosophical doctrines involved in justification of political decisions; analysis of fundamental concepts such as the common good, authority, justice, natural law, and natural rights. Prereq: jr st; Philos 242(P) or a course in ethics.
358 Action, Will, and Freedom. 3 cr. U/G.
The nature of the will, agency, intentional action, and the problem of free will and determinism. Prereq: jr st, 3 cr philos; or grad st.
360 Philosophy of Perception. 3 cr. U/G.
Major issues in the philosophy of perception: the nature of sensation, perception and inference, the relationship of perception and belief. Prereq: jr st; 3 cr in Philos.
384 (560) The Philosophy of Law. 3 cr. U/G.
The idea of law and its relationship to morality. Issues of legal obligation, rights, responsibility, and punishment. Philos 384 & Pol Sci 384 are jointly offered; they count as repeats of one another. Prereq: jr st; 3 cr philos or previous course in political theory or law studies recom.
430 History of Ancient Philosophy. 3 cr. U/G.
From the pre-Socratics to Augustine. Particular emphasis on Plato and Aristotle. Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos.
431 History of Medieval Philosophy. 3 cr. U/G.
Critical and historical examination of writings of medieval philosophers such as Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, Duns Scotus, Ockham, Al Farabi, Maimonides. Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos.
432 History of Modern Philosophy. 3 cr. U/G.
From Descartes through Kant. Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos.
433 Nineteenth-Century Philosophers. 3 cr. U/G.
Hegel, Schopenhauer, Marx, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and others. The conflict of idealistic, materialistic, and irrationalist philosophies of the nineteenth century and their influence on its social, literary, and religious movements. Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos.
434 Survey of Contemporary Philosophy. 3 cr. U/G.
Comparison of problems and solutions dealt with by currently active movements and philosophers, including Carnap, Croce, Dewey, Heidegger, Husserl, Moore, Russell, Sartre, and Wittgenstein. Prereq: jr st; 3 cr in philos.
435 Existentialism. 3 cr. U/G.
Analysis of existentialist thinkers such as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, and Merleau-Ponty. Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos.
437 Phenomenology. 3 cr. U/G.
Husserl's phenomenological method and its impact on recent continental philosophy, e.g. Heidegger, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty. Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos.
461 Islamic Philosophy and Mysticism. 3 cr. U/G.
Problems central to Islamic theology, philosophy, and mysticism, and their relations to the teachings of Islam. Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos.
474 Contemporary Religious Thought: 3 cr. U/G.
Analysis of two or more contemporary religious thinkers (e.g., Buber, Heschel, Tillich, Barth, Bultmann, death-of-God theologians, Moltmann, Pannenberg, Rahner, Chardin). Difficulties and objections are discussed. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: jr st, 3 cr in philos.
475 Special Topics in Indian Religious Thought: (Subtitled). 3 cr. U/G.
Intensive study of selected Hindu and Indian Buddhist thinkers and schools of thought, e.g. the Vedanta of Sankara and Ramanuja, Mahayana thought, modern Vedanta, Gandhi. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Pereq: jr st; 3 cr in philos.
497 Study Abroad: (Subtitled). 1-12 cr. U/G.
Designed to enroll students in UWM sponsored program before course work level, content and credits are determined and/or in specially prepared program course work. Retakable w/chg in topic. Prereq: jr st; acceptance for Study Abroad Prog.
502 Phenomenology of Religion. 3 cr. U/G.
A comparative examination of types of religious experience and expression; the holy or sacred, mysticism, prophecy, myth and ritual, religious communities and/or leaders, etc. Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos.
511 Symbolic Logic. 3 cr. U/G.
First-order predicate calculus; formal properties of theoretical systems; chief results of modern mathematical logic; advanced topics such as completeness and computability. Jointly-offered w/& counts as repeat of CompSci/Math 511. Prereq: jr st, either Philos 212(P) or 6 cr math at the 300-level or above; or grad st.
516 Language and Meaning. 3 cr. U/G.
Philosophical issues of the semantics, syntax and pragmatics of language; relations between philosophy of language and metaphysics, epistemology and philosophy of science. Prereq: jr st & Philos 101(P) or 432(P).
517 Special Problems in the Philosophy of Language and Linguistics: 3 cr. U/G.
In depth study of one or more topics concerning the nature of language; its acquisition, use and formal structures. Retakable w/chg in topic & cons advisor & instr to 6 cr max. Prereq: jr st; 3 cr in philos.
518 Philosophy of History. 3 cr. U/G.
The nature of historical knowledge and belief in terms of the justification of historical narration, explanation and prediction. Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos.
519 Special Problems in Metaphysics and Epistemology: (Subtitled). 3 cr. U/G.
Intensive study in such topics as perception, skepticism, induction, mathematical knowledge, universals, causality, substance, determinism, possibility. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos.
520 Philosophy of the Natural Sciences. 3 cr. U/G.
The nature and function of science; the logic of scientific method; clarification of such concepts as cause, law, theory, probability, determinism, and teleology. Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos.
521 Philosophy of the Social Sciences. 3 cr. U/G.
The nature and scope of the social sciences; explanatory, interpretive, and normative concerns in theory construction, their interconnection, and their methodological implications. Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos.
522 Special Topics in the Philosophy of Science: (Subtitled). 3 cr. U/G.
Consideration of one or more of the following: logic of theory construction, theoretical entities, measurement, nature of laws, conventionalism, operationalism, and induction. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: jr st.
532 Philosophical Problems: (Subtitled). 3 cr. U/G.
Intensive study of one or two particular problems, such as determinism and freedom, ethical relativism, memory, or perception. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos.
535 Philosophical Topics in Feminist Theory: (Subtitled). 3 cr. U/G.
Study of selected feminist theorists with an emphasis on past or contemporary thinkers. Attention will be paid to the philosophical importance of the problems raised. Retakable w/chg in topic to 6 cr max. Philos 535 & Wmns 535 are jointly offered; with same topic, they count as repeats of one another. Prereq: jr st; a course in philos or women's stds.
542 Punishment and Responsibility. 3 cr. U/G.
Views on the moral permissibility of punishment and other forms of penalization; the foundations of a general theory of moral responsibility. Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos. Philos 241(R) or social science background recom.
551 (451) Aristotle. 3 cr. U/G.
Intensive study of one or more of Aristotle's major works or of themes and problems in Aristotle's thought. Particular attention to careful analysis of the texts. Prereq: jr st; 3 cr philos; Philos 430(R).
552 (452) (effective 09/02/2014) Special Topics in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy: (Subtitled). 3 cr. U/G.
Intensive study of a philosopher, movement, or historical problem in ancient or medieval philosophy, e.g. pre-Socratics, Hellenistic philosophy, Aristotle's thought in medieval Europe, Islamic and Jewish philosophy. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: jr st; 3 cr philos; Philos 430(R) or 431(R).
552 (452) Special Topics in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy: (Subtitled). 3 cr. U/G.
Intensive study of a philosopher, movement, or historical problem in ancient or medieval philosophy, e.g. pre-Socratics, Hellenistic philosophy, Aristotle's thought in medieval Europe, Islamic and Jewish philosophy. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: jr st; 3 cr philos; Philos 430(R) or 431(R).
554 (453) Special Topics in the History of Modern Philosophy: (Subtitled). 3 cr. U/G.
Intensive study of a philosopher, movement, or historical problem in modern philosophy, e.g., Spinoza, British empiricists, Locke's influence upon the Enlightenment, overthrow of Hegelian idealism. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: jr st; 3 cr philos; Philos 432(R); or cons instr.
555 (455) Recent Philosophy: (Subtitled). 3 cr. U/G.
Intensive study of one or more philosophers or philosophical movements of the recent past. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: jr st; 3 cr philos.
562 Special Topics in Ethics and Social and Political Philosophy: (Subtitled). 3 cr. U/G.
Intensive study of issues such as the concept of law, punishment, liberty, civil disobedience, the public good, and the applicability of scientific method to social issues. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: jr st & 3 cr in philos.
681 Seminar in Advanced Topics: (Subtitled). 3 cr. U/G.
Seminar on a philosopher, philosophical movement, issue, or problem for majors and graduate students. Research papers required. Additional prereqs announced in Schedule of Classes each time course is offered. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: sr st & 12 cr in philos at 300-level or above; or grad st.
712 Fundamentals of Formal Logic. 3 cr. G.
A study of basic aspects of contemporary formal logic. Prereq: grad st.
756 Seminar in Major Movements in Philosophical Thought: (Subtitled). 3 cr. G.
Intensive study of school or movement such as continental rationalism, empiricism; existentialism, phenomenology, etc. Specific topic and any additional prerequisites announced in schedule of classes each time course is offered. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: grad st; cons instr.
758 Seminar in Major Philosophers: (Subtitled). 3 cr. G.
Intensive study of the thought or system, or an important part of the thought or system, of a major figure in philosophy. Specific topics and any additional prerequisites announced in schedule of classes each time course is offered. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: grad st; cons instr.
790 Advanced Topics in Philosophy: (Subtitled). 3 cr. G.
Discussion of special advanced topics in Philosophy. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Specific topics may be jointly-offered w/CompSci. Prereq: grad st; add'l prereqs depending on topic.
820 The Teaching of Philosophy. 0 cr. G.
Discussion group with teaching assistants and their supervisor. Required for all teaching assistants teaching a Philos course.
888 Candidate for Degree. 0 cr. G.
Available for graduate students who must meet minimum credit load requirement. Fee assessed for 1 cr. Prereq: grad st.
903 Seminar in Epistemology: (Subtitled). 2-3 cr. G.
Specific topics and any additional prerequisites announced in schedule of classes each time course is offered. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: grad st; & cons instr.
911 Seminar in Logic: 2-3 cr. G.
Specific topics and any additional prerequisites announced in Timetable each time course is offered. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: grad st & cons instr.
920 Seminar in the Philosophy of Science: (Subtitled). 2-3 cr. G.
Specific topics and any additional prerequisites announced in Timetable each time course is offered. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: grad st & cons instr.
941 Seminar in Ethics and Social and Political Philosophy: (Subtitled). 2-3 cr. G.
Specific topics and any additional prerequisites announced in Timetable each time course is offered. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: grad st & cons instr.
960 Seminar in Metaphysics: (Subtitled). 2-3 cr. G.
Specific topics and any additional prerequisites announced in Timetable each time course is offered. Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: grad st & cons instr.
990 Thesis. 3 cr. G.
Retakable only once in option B. Not retakable by students in Language & Linguis concentration. Prereq: grad st in option B or in Language & Linguis concentration; cons major prof & committee.
999 Advanced Independent Study. 1-3 cr. G.
Retakable w/chg in topic to 9 cr max. Prereq: grad st & cons dept chair.

Page last updated on: 08/22/2014