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Teoretisk filosofi - Magisterkurs

The one-year Master’s course in theoretical philosophy offers an intellectually stimulating and supportive postgraduate environment. You will be taught and supervised by members of faculty who are internationally well connected and actively involved in research.

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Kårer och föreningar

Rollcall and information about the course: September 3, 2024, 10-11 in D892.

The Master's course in theoretical philosophy includes such fields as philosophy of language, logic, epistemology, philosophy of science and the history of theoretical philosophy. The course is for students who are well-trained in analytical philosophy and who aim to pursue doctoral studies. It includes a thesis of 30 credits.

Admission

Admission is offered only once a year, for the autumn semester.

Application period

March 15–April 15, 2024

Requirements

Bachelor course in theoretical philosophy (90 ECTS credits) or equivalent.

Eligibility criteria

If there are more applications than positions, the positions will be allocated based on the grades and the relevance of academic courses, the quality/subject of the bachelor thesis and motivation letter. Please do not forget to upload the motivation letter when you apply!

Information about the motivation letter and the writing sample (58 Kb)

 

How to apply

Click on the application box in the right hand column.

  • Kursupplägg

    The first semester: Four course units of 7,5 credits each

    Literature course 1, 1st half of semester: What are Intelligible Forms? Plato and Aristotle on metaphysics, 7,5 credits.
    Description of course content: On this course, we focus on the common assumption that Plato and Aristotle make but that they develop in different ways, that reality is structured by objectively existing, intelligible forms that Plato also called ‘ideas’. By focusing on key texts from Plato’s Republic, Phaedo, Meno and the Symposium, we ask what these forms are supposed to be in those dialogues. Moreover, through key passages from Plato’s Parmenides, Sophist, Timaeus and the Laws, we discuss how Plato himself criticized his earlier treatment of the forms. We also raise the question of whether Plato still took forms to be crucial for explaining reality in his late dialogues. 

    As is well known, Aristotle criticized Plato’s version of the forms, partly in the same way as Plato does in the Parmenides (probably due to Aristotle’s influence). Aristotle also formulated the central question of his first philosophy (later called ‘metaphysics’) as the question about what it is to be ‘a substance’ (Greek ousia, more literally ‘beingness’), thus indicating that the Platonic treatment of the question involves what we would nowadays call, on the basis of Aristotle’s analysis ‘a category mistake’. Aristotle introduces the notion of the so-called ‘primary substances’ (individual beings in natural kinds such as this individual human being or this individual horse) in his logical works (especially Categories 5) as what independently and in the proper sense exists. In Metaphysics 7, by contrast, he asks what the ‘beingness’ (ousia more literally) of such substances. Developing his notions of forms and introduced in the philosophy of nature, Aristotle deepens his analysis and asks, not only what individually existing substances are but what it is for them to be, i.e.: What is the ground and explanation for them to be the things they are (their identity) that also explains their existence? Aristotle’s answer to this, new question turns out to be the form. While answering the question about identity and existence grounds (the form explains what and why things are as they are), his answer raises the difficult question about the individuation of substances in Aristotle. If the form defines what is called the essence of a species, what is it that individuates their instances? 

    Finally, both Plato and Aristotle claim that forms are intelligible. They both maintain that forms are objectively existing structuring principles of reality, the existence of which neither is constituted nor depends on their being understood by an intelligence (divine or human). However, Aristotle also introduces the influential idea that when a form is grasped by an intellect, the intellect becomes identical with the form. This assumption is developed later in the (Neo)Platonism of Plotinus (3rd century CE) into a version in which the forms are dependent and partly constituted by their being grasped by the intellect. As that intellect is the so-called ‘hypostasis’ intellect, a layer in Plotinus’ hierarchical conception of being, this does not mean that the forms would depend on being grasped by individuals. Yet Plotinus’ theory can be seen as a development from what is a form of metaphysical realism about the forms into something like idealism.

    The course is a reading seminar and structured as follows:
    Discussion 1: Introduction (no reading) 
    Discussions 2-3: Texts from Plato’s Republic, Phaedo, Meno and the Symposium
    Discussions 4-5: Texts from Plato’s Parmenides, Sophist, Timaeus and the Laws
    Discussion 6: Aristotle, Categories 5
    Discussions 7-8: Aristotle Metaphysics 1 and 7
    Discussion 9: Excerpts from Plotinus’ Enneads
    10: Final discussion

    Instructors: Miira Tuominen.
    Examination: Assignments/essay

    Literature course 2, 1st half of semester: Atomism, 7.5 credits.
    Description of course content: The course will offer a philosophical survey of the evolution of conceptions of microphysical objects, from their purely philosophical roots in ancient atomism to the modern theories of elementary particles. We will look into a wide range of philosophical debates that were instigated or inspired by those developments.

    The course will look at the birth of atomism in ancient Greece (with a brief excursion to India),  the endorsement of atomist concepts in 17th century science, atomism’s empirical coming of age in the 19th century and its empirical confirmation in the early phases of the 20th century. We will also touch the conceptual changes of microphysics after the advent of quantum mechanics and the particle concept in contemporary particle physics.

    Philosophically, we will analyze the substantial shifts of perspective that characterized the evolution of atomism throughout the centuries, on its way from an entirely metaphysical to a profoundly physical hypothesis; the mutual influence exerted onto each other by philosophical and physical strands of atomist thinking; the way in which the modern realism debate in the philosophy of science amounts to a continuation of historical disputes on atomism.

    The course is directed primarily towards philosophy students at the Masters and PhD level but also towards physicists interested in the philosophical roots and the contextualization of microphysical concepts.

    Organization:
    The course consists of lecture elements and discussion. Each unit is accompanied by specific literature. The literature should be read by everyone in advance and will be addressed in our discussions.

    Instructor: Richard Dawid

    Examination: Assignments/essay

    Literature course 3, 2nd half of semester: The Philosophy of Perception
    Description of course content: In this course we are going to look at some of the central issues in the philosophy of perception, focusing on recent debates. Questions to be discussed include: Does perception have content? What kind of state is a perceptual experience? What are the objects of perception? And how should we think of the epistemology of perception?

    The course consists of lectures and discussions. Readings will be assigned for each session and addressed in our discussions.

    Instructor: Kathrin Glüer-Pagin
    Examination: Assignments/essay

    Literature course 4, 2nd half of semester:
    For the fourth course, the student will pick one of the courses we offer on the bachelor’s level (but will be individually examined). The courses to choose from are:
    •    Introduction to formal semantics, 7.5 credits [FIFS11] (lectures in English)
    •    Philosophy of physics, 7.5 credits [FIFY10] (lectures in English)
    •    Metaphysics: topics in theoretical philosophy, 7.5 credits [FIMEF0] (lectures in Swedish only)
    •    Logik II, 7.5 credits [FILO2G] (lectures in Swedish only)

    The student must pass the examinations of the first semester in order to proceed to the second semester.

    The second semester: Thesis work (30 credits)

    Instructor: Anders Schoubye

    The second semester consists of a thesis work (30 credits). The topic is elective but must be approved by the convenor and must fit the research profile of the members of the faculty. A supervisor will be allocated to the student, based on her or his project description. The final grade of the entire course is determined by the grade of the thesis. The exam of the thesis part consists in the thesis itself, a defence of it at a seminar, and an opposition on another student’s thesis at a seminar. It is recommended to study the grading criteria and the guidelines for the thesis.

    Since an entire semester is devoted to writing the thesis, the demands are higher than for a bachelor’s thesis, with respect to volume (approximately 40 pages), content, and degree of independence in the writing process. This is reflected in the grading criteria.

    Stilguide magisteruppsats

    Examination

    Examination: Assignments/essay

    Grading criteria for Master’s thesis

  • Schema

    Schema finns tillgängligt senast en månad före kursstart. Vi rekommenderar inte utskrift av scheman då vissa ändringar kan ske. Vid kursstart meddelar utbildningsansvarig institution var du hittar ditt schema under utbildningen.

    Literature courses schedule

  • Kurslitteratur

  • Kontakt

    Student office

    Course convenor: Professor Anders Schoubye anders.schoubye@philosophy.su.se

    Director of studies: Mattias Högström mattias.hogstrom@philosophy.su.se