The Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science and the Department of Philosophy jointly administer a Ph.D. program in Philosophy with two independent tracks:  the Philosophy Track and the LPS Track. Both tracks begin from a common core of requirements in standard philosophical fields (e.g., history of philosophy, logic, ethics, metaphysics/epistemology) and branch off thereafter; both lead to the Ph.D. in Philosophy. (For information on the Philosophy Track, see the Department of Philosophy.)

The LPS Track is designed to allow each student to pursue an individualized course of study, so (with the exception of the Logic Requirement) no specific courses are required.  Judgments on the appropriateness of certain courses or other undertakings for satisfying particular degree requirements must be approved by the student’s advisor.

 

History of Philosophy Requirement

The purpose of this requirement is to provide a student with a broad perspective on the history of philosophy.

To satisfy this requirement, the student must receive a grade of 'B' or better in courses in three out of the following four areas:  Modern Rationalism, Modern Empiricism, Kant and 20th Century Analytic Philosophy.  (Courses on other topics can be counted as satisfying one of these period requirements if they (and the term paper(s) written by the student) seriously engage issues in the history of philosophy.)

To be completed by the end of the seventh quarter in residence.
 

Logic Requirement

The purpose of this requirement is to acquaint the student with the fundamentals of modern logic:  elementary set theory, metalogic, effective procedures and Gödel’s incompleteness theorems.

To satisfy this requirement, a student must receive a 'B' or better in LPS 205A, 205B and 205C.  (Students who have already completed courses with similar content can either satisfy the requirement by earning a B or better in a more advanced logic course or petition to have the requirement waived.)

To be completed by the end of the seventh quarter in residence.

 

Field Requirement

The purpose of this requirement is to expose the student to a range of philosophical disciplines.

To satisfy this requirement, a student must receive a grade of 'B' or better in one course in moral philosophy and one course in metaphysics/epistemology. (These courses may not also be used to satisfy the History Requirement.)

To be completed by the end of the seventh quarter in residence.

 

Philosophy of Science Requirement

The purpose of this requirement is to expose the student to a range of philosophy of science, from general philosophy of science to the philosophical study of particular sciences (e.g., physics, biology, linguistics, psychology, economics) to philosophy of logic and mathematics.

To satisfy this requirement, a student must receive a grade of 'B' or better in three courses from the following list: LPS 240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 246 and 247.  (These courses may be repeated as topics vary.)

To be completed by the end of the seventh quarter in residence.

 

Tools of Research Requirement

This requirement provides flexibility for students with various levels of interest in pursuing the philosophy of a particular science.  So, for example, a student most interested in historical issues in the philosophy of mathematics might benefit most from the study of German, while a student most interested in the philosophy of quantum mechanics should take a series of graduate courses in physics.  Students wishing to specialize further in the philosophy of a particular science might wish to pursue more demanding options; see the Emphases in Mathematics, Physics and Biology and the Behavioral Sciences, below.)

To satisfy this requirement, a student must pass an examination in an appropriate foreign language or receive a grade of B or better in three appropriate graduate courses in a discipline or disciplines outside philosophy. Though the discipline(s) here must be outside philosophy, they might be taught by Philosophy or LPS faculty.  The two-hour language exam will be administered by a member of the LPS faculty and will require the student to translate (with the aid of a dictionary) a passage or passages from philosophical or scientific texts.

To be completed by the end of the twelfth quarter in residence.

 

Portfolio Requirement

The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that the student has acquired dissertation-level skills in the writing of philosophy, in particular
 

  • the ability to isolate, understand and evaluate arguments in the philosophical literature
  • the ability to assimilate secondary literature
  • the ability to formulate and defend an original philosophical thesis.
     

The portfolio is designed to display these skills.

To satisfy this requirement, a student must submit an extended writing sample, most often consisting of several individual papers, that demonstrates the skills necessary to write a Ph.D. dissertation. (A successful portfolio typically consists of several papers totaling around 80 pages. These may be revisions of term papers. Each paper should present and defend a definite thesis and should be accessible to faculty members unfamiliar with the literature in question. The paper(s) in the portfolio need not be of publishable quality, but they must, collectively, demonstrate the specified skills.) Portfolios will be evaluated by the entire LPS faculty. (LPS students may request that relevant Philosophy Department faculty submit written opinions or attend the evaluation meeting.)

To be submitted by the end of the fourth week of the seventh quarter.

Toward the end of fall quarter, the LPS faculty will meet to evaluate the year’s portfolio(s).  Each faculty member will read at least one paper from each portfolio, and each paper will be read by at least one faculty member.  The possible outcomes of the Department’s deliberations are (a) pass, (b) neither pass nor fail, with specific conditions to be met by a given date (e.g., a rewrite of one or more papers), (c) fail, with permission granted for complete or partial resubmission by a given date, (d) fail, with permission to apply for a terminal M.A., (e) fail.  Portfolio candidates will be informed of the Department's decision by the Director of Graduate Studies.

 

Candidacy Exam

The purpose of this exam is to demonstrate that the student has a viable dissertation topic and an adequate grasp of related literature.  To satisfy this requirement, a student must prepare and pass an examination on a brief (15-20 page) proposal and a reading list of canonical literature that, in effect, defines the context of the proposed dissertation. For information on the composition of the Candidacy Committee, see the Graduate Advisor's Handbook.

To be completed by the end of the tenth quarter in residence.

 

Dissertation Defense

To satisfy this requirement, a student must pass a final oral examination focusing on the content of the dissertation administered by The Doctoral Committee.  For information on the composition of the Doctoral Committee, see the Graduate Advisor's Handbook.

The normative time for completion of the Ph.D. is six years, and the maximum time permitted is seven years.

 


 

The requirements considered to this point apply to all students in the LPS Track. Further requirements apply to students who pursue three special "emphases".

 

The Math Emphasis

Students wishing to specialize in the foundations or philosophy of mathematics may elect to pursue the more demanding option of the Math Emphasis, which involves courses from, and usually supervised work with, members of the Department of Mathematics.  

To satisfy the Math Requirement of the Math Emphasis,  a student must receive a grade of 'B' or better in six graduate courses in mathematics. (Though the courses here are in mathematics, some might be taught by LPS faculty.  They may also be used to satisfy the Tools of Research Requirement.)

 

The Physics Emphasis

Students wishing to specialize in the foundations or philosophy of physics may elect to pursue the more demanding option of the Physics Emphasis.

To satisfy the Physics Requirement of the Physics Emphasis, a student must receive a grade of 'B' or better in three sections of LPS 241 and in three additional graduate courses in physics or mathematics. (Though the courses here are in physics or mathematics, they might be taught by LPS faculty.  They may also be used to satisfy the Tools of Research Requirement, but not the Philosophy of Science Requirement.)

 

The Emphasis in Biology and the Behavioral Sciences

Students wishing to specialize in the philosophy of biology and the behavioral sciences may elect to pursue the more demanding option of the Emphasis in Biology and the Behavioral Sciences.

To satisfy the Biology/Behavioral Science Requirement of the Biology and the Behavioral Sciences Emphasis, a student must receive a grade of 'B' or better in six graduate courses, each of which is in biology or the behavioral sciences. (In some cases, with the approval of the student's adviser and the DGS, courses taught by LPS faculty may satisfy the Emphasis requirements. Emphasis courses may also be used to satisfy the Tools of Research Requirement, but not the Philosophy of Science Requirement.)

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