Special Programs

Date of Update: 10/21/14

Logic and the Philosophy of Science Track

Properly qualified graduate students in philosophy who wish to do intensive work in logic and philosophy of science may wish to enroll in the track in Logic and the Philosophy of Science. Applicants should indicate their interest on page 4 of the application form, in the space provided for a statement of the applicant's prospective area of specialization. They should also provide a fuller account of their specialized interests, objectives, and previous training in the area concerned in their career statement.

The programs of students who specialize in logic and philosophy of science are subject to an alternative set of distribution requirements. Students in this track must complete the logic requirement and the language requirement (or an alternative to it), as in the Standard Program, and, in addition must:

  1. demonstrate proficiency at the graduate level in a field of science (mathematical or empirical), or in an area in the history of science. Normally this will involve doing satisfactory work in two graduate level courses (or their equivalents) in the science, or in the relevant area in the history of science;
  2. earn two units in logic or the philosophy of science (beyond satisfying the logic requirement);
  3. demonstrate an adequate basic knowledge of other areas of philosophy. This is done by earning four units in the areas of (i) history of philosophy, (ii) ethics, and (iii) epistemology and metaphysics. Of these four units, at most two may be in any one of the listed areas.

For students joining the program in 2014 or later, at least two units must include an oral examination.  For other pre-generals students, at least one unit must include an oral exam.

To help guard against overspecialization, the department asks students opting for the logic and the philosophy of science track to submit an overall plan of study for approval by the DGS. The plan should indicate the proposed field of science, or history of science, the manner in which proficiency in that field is to be demonstrated (e.g. by listing courses), and the general program of study in philosophy proposed to satisfy the remaining requirements. The proposed plan need not be fully specific, especially with respect to exactly how most of the philosophy requirements ("the other four units") are to be met, but enough information should be provided to allow the Graduate Committee to draw reasonable conclusions about the distribution of work by area and other relevant parameters of the student's program.

Although there is no fixed time at which the student must submit such a plan, late in the second semester or early in the third semester would be reasonable choices. Prudence counsels securing approval before embarking too seriously on a program of work that might fail, upon review, to satisfy distribution requirements because it was too specialized. Subsequent modifications to an approved plan must be cleared with the Director of Graduate Studies. Students who elect to follow the track in Logic and the Philosophy of Science must take the General Examination in philosophy of science.
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Interdepartmental Program in Classical Philosophy

Properly qualified graduate students in philosophy who wish to do intensive work in ancient philosophy may wish to enroll in the Interdepartmental Program in Classical Philosophy. Applicants should indicate their interest on page 4 of the application form, in the space provided for a statement of the applicant's prospective area of specialization. They should also provide a fuller account of their specialized interests, objectives, and previous training in the area concerned in their career statement. Applicants must submit a paper in some area of ancient philosophy.

This program is a cooperative undertaking of the Departments of Classics and Philosophy. It is administered by an interdepartmental committee which is composed as follows:

  •     John M. Cooper, Department of Philosophy
  •     Melissa Lane, Department of Politics
  •     Hendrik Lorenz, Department of Philosophy
  •     Benjamin Morison, Department of Philosophy, Director
  •     Alexander Nehamas, Department of Philosophy
  •     Christian Wildberg, Department of Classics

The program provides training, special skills, and knowledge not normally included in the education of professional classicists or philosophers, while equipping students for scholarly work and teaching in either classics or philosophy.

Students may apply for admission to either of the cooperating departments, in accordance with their interests and qualifications. Those who are admitted to this program by the Department of Philosophy are considered graduate students in philosophy and receive their doctorate in philosophy. The program offers them the opportunity of taking seminars in classics as a substantial part of their regular course of study. They will thus be able to improve their knowledge of the classical languages, extend their acquaintance with classical literature, history, and culture, and do intensive work on classical philosophical texts.

Language Requirement
A knowledge of Greek and Latin is required of all students enrolled in the program, if not on entry then as soon as possible afterwards. Applicants to the Philosophy Department must possess a basic knowledge of Greek, up to the level of Plato's Socratic dialogues, and are recommended to have comparable abilities in Latin. Applicants to the Classics Department must fulfill that department's language requirements for entering students. Sight examinations are given at the beginning of the first year, to determine the student's level of competence in the classical languages. When advisable, the study of the classical languages is carried on as part of the first year graduate program of candidates in Philosophy. Philosophy students in the program must demonstrate a reading knowledge of French or German, and Classics students a knowledge of both these languages, before taking the general examination. Philosophy students will gain a unit for passing this language test in accordance with the rules for units outlined on the main Philosophy page, but those who are native speakers of one of the languages are expected to pass the language requirement in the other.

Examinations
Graduate students who are enrolled in the Program will take the sight-reading tests in Greek and Latin and, as soon thereafter as possible, examinations on reading lists on Greek and Latin authors. The General Examination will be especially adapted to meet the student's interests and aptitudes.

Distribution Requirements
Philosophy students enrolled in the Interdepartmental Program in Classical Philosophy must complete fourteen units. These will include the ten units of the standard philosophy program (except that no alternative unit may be substituted for French or German). One of these ten may be achieved by passing a non-philosophical course with graduate credit in the Classics Department. The additional four units must be obtained by satisfying the following:

  1. passing a sight-reading test in Greek
  2. passing a sight-reading test in Latin,
  3. passing the Greek reading list exam,
  4. passing the Latin reading list exam.

The schedule for completing units is the same for the first two years as in the regular program. Classical philosophy program students are further expected to have completed eleven units by the end of their fifth semester, thirteen by the end of their sixth semester, and fourteen before generals, which must be taken no later than October of the fourth year. It is advisable to take generals by May of the third year, with an accelerated rate of unit completion.

Dissertation
After passing the General Examination, the student writes a dissertation for submission to the department and takes a final examination as provided for in the general regulations of the University. The departmental length limit applies.

Work in Classical Philosophy for Students Not Enrolled in the Program
The seminars of the program are open to all departmental students who meet the relevant prerequisites, whether or not they are enrolled in the Interdepartmental Program in Classical Philosophy. With the permission of the department, students who wish to concentrate in Greek philosophy, but do not meet all the requirements of the Interdepartmental Program, may pursue courses of study planned to suit their particular interests and qualifications.

Colloquium in Classical Philosophy
There is an annual two-day Classical Philosophy Colloquium in early December at which outside speakers and commentators present papers on a common theme, varying year by year. Additional meetings of the Colloquium are held from time to time during the academic year, providing an opportunity for listening to and discussing papers by visiting scholars.
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Interdepartmental Program in Political Philosophy

Properly qualified graduate students in philosophy who wish to do intensive work in political philosophy may wish to enroll in the Interdepartmental Program in Political Philosophy. Applicants should indicate their interest on page 4 of the application form, in the space provided for a statement of the applicant's prospective area of specialization. They should also provide a fuller account of their specialized interests, objectives, and previous training in the area concerned in their career statement.

Students may apply for admission to either department (Philosophy or Politics), in accordance with their interests and qualifications. Those who are admitted to this program by the Department of Philosophy are considered graduate students in philosophy and receive their doctorate in philosophy.

This program, offered under the joint auspices of the departments of Classics, History, Philosophy, Politics, and Religion, is administered by an interdepartmental committee, which is composed as follows:

Program Administration

Alan Patten, Director
Femke DeRuyter, Program Coordinator

Executive Committee:

Charles R. Beitz, Politics
Daniel Garber, Philosophy
Elizabeth Harman, Philosophy/UCHV
Robert Kaster, Classics
Melissa S. Lane, Politics
Stephen J. Macedo, Politics/UCHV
Alan W. Patten, Politics
Philip N. Pettit, Politics/UCHV
Michael A. Smith, Philosophy
Jeffrey L. Stout, Religion

Associated Faculty:

Johann Frick, Philosophy/UCHV
Eric S. Gregory, Religion
Jan-Werner Mueller, Politics
Paul Starr, Sociology/WW
Anna Stilz, Politics

The program enables students to supplement their philosophical training with specialized work in one or more of three general areas:

  1. the history of political ideas,
  2. the investigation of contemporary problems of political philosophy,
  3. the study of the relations between institutional and social history on the one hand, and systems of political thought on the other.

The doctoral dissertation is written on a problem in political philosophy, generally within one of the three areas listed above.

Language Requirements
A student is expected to develop competence in any languages required by his or her specialized program.

Distribution Requirements
Students participating in the Interdepartmental Program in Political Philosophy must take at least one special seminar in political philosophy during their first two years of graduate study. In consultation with their advisers, and with the permission of the department, they may also modify the list of four fields in which students in the Standard Program are required to demonstrate adequate basic knowledge. For example, a student might wish to substitute the fields of political or legal philosophy for either logic or metaphysics and epistemology. Otherwise, students in the Interdepartmental Program are subject to the same requirements as students following the Standard Program.