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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.

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, 2021

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!

About the motivation letter and writing sample

 

How to apply

Click on the application box in the right hand column.

  • Kursupplägg

    The first semester comprises four Course modules of 7,5 credits each. One of the modules is mandatory -

    Scientific Method and Research Ethics

    - and the other three are chosen by the student in consultation with the course convener. Under the heading Modules you’ll find a list of courses to choose from, all taught in English.

    In addition to the courses listed under Modules, you can also opt for courses at the undergraduate level. Since these courses will be credited at the advanced level, the exam requirements will be adapted to the advanced level. This could be an option for students with a particular interest in any of those courses for the the purpose of preparing for the master thesis the following semester, or if the student has a lacuna in his or her education that needs to eliminated. At most two of the literature courses can be of this kind, and the decision to follow those undergraduate courses instead of the course modules must be approved of by the course convenor.

    Undergraduate courses

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

    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

    Delkurser

    Literature courses 2021 yet to be determined.

    Literature courses 2020

    Literature course 1, 1st half of semester

    Animal cognitive capacities in Porphyry’s On abstinence
    Instructor: Miira Tuominen

    In recent decades, the discussion of animal ethics has also inspired wide-ranging studies in the cognitive and sensitive capacities of non-human animals. The discussion has been important both for the claim that animals have moral rights and the utilitarian approach according to which the capacity to feel pain is decisive for the moral status of a creature.

    In today’s research, it is often briefly recognized that similar themes have been discussed in the history of Western philosophy but that those discussions have been scattered or otherwise marginal. Porphyry’s (c. 235-305 CE) treatise the literal title of which is ‘on abstinence from the ensouled’ (peri apokhês tôn empsykhôn in Greek) translated into English by Gillian Clark as On Abstinence from Killing Animals (Duckworth, 2000; Bloomsbury 2014) is one of the most important treatises on the theme in antiquity (perhaps dating from the second half of the 260s CE).

    The traditional reading of the treatise is that Porphyry argues in book 3 for the claim that human beings must extend justice to non-human animals because they are rational. The Stoics were reported to deny this claim, and Porphyry is taken to argue to the contrary that animals are subject to justice because they are rational. This reading has been almost universally accepted in the scholarly literature.

    However, more recently, Fay Edwards has contended (2014) that Porphyry rather argues against Stoics that they should, on their conception of reason, ascribe it to non-human animals as well. According to Edwards, Porphyry himself does not accept the claim of animal rationality but rather takes non-human animals to lack reason (Edwards 2016). This is also significant because the claim entails that Porphyry’s argument for animal justice is independent from his claim about animal rationality.

    This course focuses on Porphyry’s On abstinence and especially its third book. The most important question we shall ask is whether Porphyry commits himself to a specific claim about animal rationality in the treatise. Does he take non-human animals to be rational, or does he rather maintain that they lack reason? We also ask what kind of cognitive capacities Porphyry grants non-human animals and whether we should assume that this makes non-human animals rational or not. We shall use Gillian Clark’s English translation of the treatise.

    Literature:

    Porphyry, On Abstinence from Killing Animals (transl. Gillian Clark), Duckworth 2000, Bloomsbury pbk.

    Gillian Clark, Porphyry: On Abstinence from Killing Animals (London: Bloomsbury, 2014)

    Edwards G. Fay: “The Purpose of Porphyry's Rational Animals: A Dialectical Attack on the Stoics in Book 3 of 'On Abstinence'” in Richard Sorabji (ed.), Aristotle Re-Interpreted: New Findings on Seven Hundred Years of the Ancient Commentators. Bloomsbury (2016)

    All instruction (lectures and discussions) will be available online. If it is compatible with the recommendations of Stockholm University, and technically possible, lectures and discussions may take place in a classroom on campus, but made available by streaming to those who prefer not to visit campus.

    Examination: home essay

    Literature course 2, 2nd half of semester

    Foundations of Epistemic Normativity
    Instructor: Anandi Hattiangadi

    Epistemologists investigate norms of rationality and reasoning (how one ought to reason), as well as standards of justification (what one is permitted to believe given one’s evidence). They investigate fundamental epistemic values, such as knowledge and truth, and seek to articulate epistemic virtues, such as responsiveness to evidence. In everyday life, we make epistemological claims, for instance that one ought to believe in anthropogenic climate change, or that this belief is justified given the evidence. All this suggests that epistemology is normative—it has to do with norms, standards, obligations, values, reasons, virtues and permissions.
     
    The idea that epistemology is normative raises questions traditionally discussed in meta-ethics, concerning the semantics, metaphysics and epistemology of epistemology. Do epistemological statements (e.g. ‘current evidence justifies belief in anthropogenic climate change’) represent how things are, or do they express non-cognitive attitudes of some kind? Are there objective, epistemological facts, and are these reducible to non-normative, natural facts of some kind? If there objective, epistemological facts, how can we come to know them? This course will investigate these questions at the intersection of theoretical and practical philosophy.

    For Course Format, Examination and Reading List: Go to Athena

    All instruction on this course will be exclusively online.

    Examination: Home essay

    Literature course 3, 2nd half of semester

    Empirical and Non-Empirical Theory Confirmation
    Instructor: Richard Dawid

    Confirmation is widely taken to play an essential role in the scientific process. But which function should be attributed to confirmation and how extensively should the concept of confirmation be defined? Our course addresses those issues by first discussing classical views on confirmation and then focusing on the proposal of non-empirical confirmation that aims to extend the concept of confirmation in light of contemporary fundamental science.

    We will start by looking at the logical empiricist view on confirmation. We then discuss Popper’s falsificationism that aims to construe the scientific process without any reliance on the concept of confirmation. We proceed to look at Bayesian confirmation theory, which constitutes the currently most popular view on confirmation. The second part of the course is devoted to discussing an extension of the concept of confirmation that aims to account for both empirical and non-empirical evidence. That discussion will be based on String Theory and the Scientific Method (Dawid 2013) and some critical texts on the issue.

    Examination: Home essay

    All instruction (lectures and discussions) will be available online. If it is compatible with the recommendations of Stockholm university, and technically possible, lectures and discussions may take place in a classroom on campus, but made available by streaming to those who prefer not to visit campus.

    Examination

    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

    Observera att kurslitteraturen kan ändras fram till två månader före kursstart.

    Course literature 2021 to be determined.

    Course literature 2020

    Syllabus: Animal cognitive capacities in Porphyry’s On abstinence

    Porphyry, On Abstinence from Killing Animals (transl. Gillian Clark), Duckworth 2000, Bloomsbury pbk.

    Gillian Clark, Porphyry: On Abstinence from Killing Animals (London: Bloomsbury, 2014)

    Edwards G. Fay: “The Purpose of Porphyry's Rational Animals: A Dialectical Attack on the Stoics in Book 3 of 'On Abstinence'” in Richard Sorabji (ed.), Aristotle Re-Interpreted: New Findings on Seven Hundred Years of the Ancient Commentators. Bloomsbury (2016)

    Syllabus: Foundations of Epistemic Normativity – Please see pdf-file below.

    Syllabus: Empirical and Non-Empirical Theory Confirmation

    LITERATURE:
    Hempel (1945), “Studies in the Logic of Confirmation”, Mind, 54(213): 1-26.

    Popper (1934), sections of The Logic of Scientific Discovery.

    Howson and Urbach (1989), sections of Scientific Reasoning – the Bayesian Approach, Open Court.

    Dawid (2013), sections of String Theory and the Scientific Method, Cambridge University Press.

    Dawid (2019), “Delimiting the Unconceived”, Foundations of Physics 48(5):492-506.

    Smolin (2014), Review of String theory and the Scientific Method, American Journal of Physics, 82, 1105.

    Rovelli (2019), “The Dangers of Non-Empirical Confirmation”, In Dardashti, R., R.

    Dawid and K. Thebault (eds) Why Trust a Theory? - Epistemology of Fundamental Physics, Cambridge University Press.

    Dawid, Hartmann and Sprenger (2015), “The No-Alternatives Argument”, The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 66(1), 213-234.

    Menon (2019), “On the Viability of the No Alternatives Argument”, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science A, 76:69-75.

  • Kontakt

    Course convenor: Professor Kathrin Glüer-Pagin

    kathrin.gluer-pagin@philosophy.su.se