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MA Coursework


Requirements for Completing Your MA

For the master's degree, a student must take 30 course credits, i.e., the equivalent of ten courses.

Of those 30 credits, no more than 6 credits can be independent study.

If they choose to do so, students may submit a Master's thesis essay. It must be judged and passed by at least two faculty members of the Philosophy Department. 6 hours of independent study can be used for the thesis project.

Up to 6 credits of coursework on philosophical issues in the arts (taken outside the philosophy department) may be applied toward the M.A. in Philosophy from Stony Brook University.

One course must be taken on the home campus in Stony Brook, Long Island. All other courses are offered at Stony Brook's MA program held at The Brooklyn Commons at 388 Atlantic Avenue.

Upon successful completion of 30 graduate credits of graded coursework, a student may be awarded the M.A. degree in Philosophy.

 

List of Courses Offered in Recent Years:

PHI 500 Feminist Theories

This course is designed to introduce students to the most recent developments in feminist theory, covering different currents as well as traditions. The seminar may focus on moral and political questions, the intersection between the social and the psychological, or culture and representation as it is negotiated in different cultural media (film, literature, architecture, music, etc.).

3 credits, ABCF grading
May be repeated for credit

 

PHI 501 Theories of Race

This course is designed to introduce the student to different currents of analyses of race and racism. It focuses particularly on the relationship between philosophy and the development, legitimacy, and legitimization of racial categories. The seminar may focus on moral and political philosophy, questions of epistemology or metaphysics, the intersections between the social and the psychological, or culture and representations of raced subjects as they are negotiated in different cultural media (film, literature, architecture, music, etc.).

3 credits, ABCF grading
May be repeated for credit

 

PHI 503 Theories of Ethnicity

This course focuses on the category of ethnicity. Using an inter-cultural, comparative, and historical approach, it seeks to expose the student to the uses and misuses of this category. The category of ethnicity will also be studied in conjunction with questions relating to individual identity, national, cultural, and civilizational identities. Ethnicity, like race and gender, is one of the most fundamental markers of identity. Using interdisciplinary and comparative methods and perspectives, ethnicity’s role in the constitutions of identities will be studied.

3 credits, ABCF grading
May be repeated for credit

 

PHI 504 Intersections of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender

This course, which is analogous to an honors senior seminar, seeks to integrate into a productive dialogue the different methods, traditions, and perspectives used to analyze race, ethnicity, and gender, while also juxtaposing and comparing the similarities and differences between them. The approach, as in the whole program, will be interdisciplinary and comparative.

3 credits, ABCF grading
May be repeated for credit

 

PHI 505 Core Course in Philosophy and the Arts: History of Aesthetic Theory

The basic course will investigate some of the most important and influential theories of art in the West from Plato to the present. Readings and discussion in depth of major figures will make up the content of the course: e.g., Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Collingwood, Langer, Merleau-Ponty, Dufrenne. The focus throughout will be on central issues in aesthetics such as imitation, truth, beauty, expression, emotion, and imagination.

3 credits, ABCF grading
May be repeated for credit

 

PHI 506 Core Course in Philosophy and the Arts: Art and Its Problems

A consideration of basic problems in the creation and appreciation of art. What is the creative process? Who is the artist? How is art to be compared with other symbolic forms (e.g., language, science, technology)? What does art offer that philosophy does not, and vice versa? In what ways does the gender or racial identity of the artist affect the creation of the work? What are the cultural, social and political dimensions of the art work and its reception?

3 credits, ABCF grading
May be repeated for credit

 

PHI 507 Core Course in Philosophy and the Arts: Aesthetic System

A concentrated reading of a single major work, with attention both to its detailed structure and to its larger significance. Candidates for such reading include Aristotle’s Poetics, Kant’s Critique of Judgment, Hegel’s lectures on The Philosophy of Art, Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory, Collingwood’s Principles of Art, Langer’s Feeling and Form, Dewey’s Art as Experience, Heidegger’s “The Origin of the Work of Art”, and Danto’s Transfiguration of the Commonplace.

3 credits, ABCF grading
May be repeated for credit

 

PHI 508 Core Course in Philosophy and the Arts: Contemporary Issues in the Arts

With an eye on artworks accessible in the public sphere—museums, galleries, concerts, readings, dance performances, film—philosophical questions will be raised: Why these works now? How do they compare with their predecessors? What do they portend for the future of art? Visits to the sites and performances of such works will be integrated into an ongoing discussion of the issues they raise within the context of aesthetic theory—and what new theories they suggest.

3 credits, ABCF grading
May be repeated for credit

 

PHI 509 Core Course in Philosophy and the Arts: Special Seminar in Aesthetics

This is an advanced seminar in aesthetics that focuses on a single question that arises in the philosophy of art. This question may be approached through the writings of a single author, or else by consulting texts of several thinkers (including practicing artists as well as philosophers). Examples of such questions would be: What is the place of form in art? How does emotion figure into the creation or appreciation of art? To be taught on the main campus by a regular faculty member.

3 credits, ABCF grading
May be repeated for credit

 

PHI 510 Ancient Philosophy

An in-depth reading of a few but fundamental texts of classical antiquity covering Greek, Roman, and Late Antiquity philosophers.

3 credits, ABCF grading

 

PHI 511 Modern Philosophy

Advanced Seminar on key issues and texts in Modern Philosophy beginning in the 17 th century through the 18 th century.

3 credits, ABCF grading

 

PHI 520 Advanced Studies in Philosophy

Investigations into specialty areas lead and directed by accomplished philosophers in the discipline involved. Instructor consent required. NO more than six credits of PHI 520 may count towards the fulfillment of degree requirements.

3 credits, ABCF grading
May be repeated for credit

 

PHI 521 Contemporary Moral Issues

This examination of the radical nature of traditional moral theory in its contemporary applications will look at the ideas of Mill, Kant, and Aristotle as variations on traditional Judeo-Christian moral theory.

Students will write short papers on contemporary moral issues as these are portrayed in short fiction.

3 credits, ABCF grading

 

PHI 535 Political Philosophy

This course will take up classics of political philosophy and discuss contemporary social life and ideologies in the light of the theoretical frameworks they have achieved. Readings and assignments will be drawn from such exemplary works as Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Politics, Machiavelli’s The Prince, Hobbes’s Leviathan, Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, and Marx’s Communist Manifesto.

3 credits, ABCF grading

 

PHI 553 Philosophy of Education

The purpose of the course is to develop curricula which not only bridge educational gaps but which also develop within all students a sense of civic responsibility toward community issues and problems. This course critically examines such issues of ethnicity and race, family systems, affirmative action, and

Multiculturalism through the vehicle of Asian American studies.

3 credits, ABCF grading

 

PHI 555 Perspectives on the Person

The focus of this course will be the question of how the results of current research are related to our understanding of human development and whether they require us to revise our understanding of what a person is. Readings from classic philosophical texts, such as Plato, Locke, Kant, and from contemporary research in philosophy, psychology, and other relevant sciences will be used.

Offered as both CEI 587 and PHI 555

3 credits, ABCF grading

 

PHI 562 Concepts and Methods in Evolutionary Biology

The course aims at achieving two related objectives: first, to provide graduate students in Ecology and Evolution, other biology departments, as well as Philosophy, with a basic understanding of the varied methods (both experimental and statistical) that make up the body of evolutionary quantitative biology. The focus will be in particular on quantitative genetics and its interface with more modern approaches, including QTL mapping, bioinformatics, and the various “omics” (genomics, proteomics, etc.). Second, students will become familiar with the fundamental concepts of philosophy of science, in particular as they relate to the conceptual analysis of the ideas that shape modern evolutionary and ecological theory. In this respect, the focus will be both on philosophical concepts such as falsificationism, induction, deduction, hypothesis testing, and the nature of evidence, as well as on the meaning of key ideas in evolutionary ecology, like natural selection, genetic drift, and constraints.

3 credits, ABCF grading

 

PHI 571 American Philosophy: Philosophical Foundations of American Politics

Readings from Emerson, C.S. Peirce, G.H. Mead, W. James, G. Santayana, J. Dewey, J.H. Randall, and J. Buchler will give the student a grasp of the classic American tradition in philosophy and the plural strands that go to make it up, such as: the turn from idealism to semioticism, neo-realism and critical realism,

pragmatism and pragmaticism, the historical interest and the social interest, individualism and voluntarism, and the centrality of art and science in human affairs.

3 credits, ABCF grading

 

PHI 572 Oriental Philosophy

3 credits, ABCF grading

 

PHI 575 Philosophy of Religion

Several aspects of the Judeo-Christian tradition raise philosophical questions worthy of further reflection and consideration. The first is the relation of religious faith to other sorts of knowledge and commitment: is religious belief more like belief in scientific experts or more like belief in one's spouse? A second is what sort of God is worth believing in and whether we can talk intelligibly about the deity. The third is whether and how any God worth believing in could be compatible with the obvious ills of our world. Note: Ability to read and write material that is abstract and complex, but rewarding.

3 credits, ABCF grading

 

PHI 576 Ethics and Values

3 credits, ABCF grading

 

PHI 582 Philosophy of Art

The purpose of this course is to encourage students to explore and enrich their aesthetic experience through reading, analyzing, discussing, and writing about various theories put forth by philosophers in the western tradition. Among topics to be considered are representation, expression, form, the aesthetic attitude, beauty, taste, criticism and interpretation of art, and the relation of art to other areas of experience. The course does not assume previous familiarity with philosophy or art; however, it does assume an intellectual commitment to the examination of difficult ideas. This course is offered as both CEI 573 and PHI 582.

3 credits, ABCF grading

 

PHI 599 Master’s Thesis Research

3 credits, ABCF grading
May be repeated once for credit

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