Individualized Master of Arts (IMA) Concentration in Philosophy

Purpose

The principal goal of the I.M.A. concentration in Philosophy is to produce philosophers of high quality who can think and act on their own – Individuals informed by the great Eastern and Western traditions who can apply the methods of philosophical analysis to a broad range AUM-philosophy-studentof current philosophical problems, and who can carve their own pathway in the field.  The concentration in Philosophy prepares students for careers in areas such as teaching at the high school, community college, and university levels, in addition to preparing students for advanced research in various areas of philosophy.  An I.M.A. in Philosophy is also valuable for students seeking to pursue other careers paths with a demonstrated capacity for rigor in reasoning, analysis, and independent thought, as well as enhanced communication and writing skills that will strengthen the applications of those pursuing careers in fields such as business, economics, law, medicine, publishing, and divinity.

The I.M.A. in Philosophy readies students who plan to pursue a doctoral program in philosophy or other related fields, or a terminal degree in Law, Business or Finance.

Program Structure

The IMA philosophy program consists of 36 semester credits and is offered in a low-residency format.

Phase I

The first 18 credits of the degree are structured foundational courses taught in a synchronous and asynchronous distance learning format using weekly video conferencing supplemented by online discussion forums.

Phase II

The second phase of the program involves each student working with a faculty advisor and a mentor to design an individualized curriculum in a legitimate branch of philosophy that appeals to the student’s interests.   Here, creativity and willingness to boldly plan one’s own course of study within a structured, guided framework happen.

Phase III

The third phase of the program involves writing a thesis, which students will do while working with their advisors and mentors.

Residency

The program requires 2 three day residencies that allow the students to meet with their advisors, mentors, faculty and staff, and to prepare for success in the program.  The first residency takes place at the beginning of one’s program of study, and prepares one for the foundation courses; the second residency occurs before one begins the individualized phase of the program, and prepares a student to design courses, work one-on-one with a mentor, and to prepare for the thesis.

The following is a listing of the course curriculum for successful completion of the IMA in Philosophy.

Program Degree Requirements (12 courses = 36 credits)

Phase I

First Residency – Offered each August and January

Foundational Courses (6 courses, 18 cr)

PHIL-5200 Topics in Metaphysics & Epistemology 3 cr

PHIL-5300 Topics in Logic & Philosophy of Language 3 cr

PHIL-5400 Topics in Values and Ethics 3 cr

PHIL-5500 Topics in History of Philosophy 3 cr

Must take 2 different topic offerings of PHIL-5500

PHIL-5600 Topics in Social and Political Philosophy 3 cr

Phase II

Second Residency – Offered each August and January

Individualized Courses (4 courses, 12 cr)

PHIL-6100 Elective Individualized Course I 3 cr

PHIL-6200 Elective Individualized Course II 3 cr

PHIL-6300 Elective Individualized Course III 3 cr

PHIL-6400 Elective Individualized Course IV 3 cr

Phase III - Thesis (2 courses, 6 cr)

PHIL-6910 Philosophy Thesis A 3 cr

PHIL-6920 Philosophy Thesis B 3 cr

PHI L 5200: Topics in Metaphysics and Epistemology
Courses in this area will explore questions pertaining to the nature of being and nothingness, the nature of causality, the nature and reality of time, and the nature of knowledge.  Some sample courses in these areas include the following:

Philosophy of Mind

The metaphysical focus of this course is on the mind-body problem: What is the mind? How is it related to the body? Does the mind continue to exist after the death of the body? A critical review of proposed answers includes: Descartes’17th century mind-body dualism, various 20th century materialist theories of the mind, and a contemporary theory of mind-body dualism, which includes the possibility of life after death supported by cases involving near-death experiences, apparitions, past-life memories, and mediumship.

Feminist Epistemologies

The Feminist Epistemologies version of this course will focus specifically on questions of knowledge production/construction, highlighting their gendered, as well as racial/ethnic dimensions. How do we produce knowledge? What knowledge is available to whom? How does the world look differently depending on one’s standpoint and location? What are the power interests involved in keeping certain knowledges marginalized/subjugated? How do questions of gender/sex/ethnicity/class figure in hese debates? Why is it that Reason has been historically associated with (white, Western) maleness and what are the consequences and implications of this history for variously positioned subjugated groups? The course will be centered around feminist approaches to questions of epistemology, foregrounding such schools of thought and such concepts as social constructivism, standpoint theory, situated knowledges, intersectionality, queery/ing epistemology, the “linguistic turn,” neomaterialism, as well as posthumanism.

PHIL 5300: Topics in Logic and the Philosophy of Language

Courses in this area will explore questions pertaining to how we think and express ourselves in natural and artificial languages.  We will explore whether artificial symbolic systems can adequately represent natural linguistic expression, and we will explore questions pertaining to the nature of communication, language acquisition and evolution, and how contexts in which knowledge is assumed can be created through symbolic or linguistic exchanges. Some sample courses include the following:

Philosophy of Language

This semester’s seminar, Philosophy of Language, introduces students to and explores a variety of key concepts and themes from linguists and semiotics, to linguistic exchange and symbolic power, to speech act theory and performativity.

Wittgenstein

This course will emphasize some of the major writings of Ludwig Wittgenstein that address problems in Logic and in the Philosophy of Language. We will read seminal texts, including Tractatus Logico Philosophicus and Philosophical Investigations, plus other important works that Wittgenstein wrote. We will also do some background reading on the philosophical puzzles and paradoxes Wittgenstein attempted to resolve.

PHIL 5400: Topics in the Values and Ethics

Courses in this area will explore how values are created and assumed, and how systems of values are encapsulated in rules and procedures of conduct.  Some sample courses in this area include the following:

The Ethics of War

The object of this course is to expose students to the foundations of critical thinking about the Ethics of war. Certainly citizens of a just and free society should not uncritically embrace warfare. The uncritical embrace of war tends to undermine our claims to being a just and free people. According to Just War tradition, it is possible to justly enter a war if and only if key conditions are met.

Once in a war (even a war justly joined), the ethics of the conduct of that war should be closely scrutinized. There is an ongoing danger that a war justly entered could lapse into a war unjustly fought. One critical element of just entry into war is that the war is necessary for self defense or defense of others. Self defense is an important aspect of human survival. Ethical human conduct is essential to the continued existence of human civilization. Because of this, one can argue that ethical conduct is a key aspect of self defense. By studying the ethics of war, we will hopefully become more literate and just participants in the affairs of the nation and the world. 

Foundations of Moral Philosophy

In this course we explore some of the foundational issues in the area of moral philosophy. Specifically, we will consider such issues as: ethical relativism versus ethical objectivism, morality and self interest, utilitarianism, Kantian and deontological systems, virtue based ethical systems including the ethics of care, the fact/value problem, moral realism, moral skepticism, religion and ethics, and contemporary challenges to classical ethical theory fom sociobiology and determinism. We will complete the course with a critical analysis of some of the salient ethical issues related to war, terrorism, torture, and assassination.

PHIL 5500: Topics in the History of Philosophy

Courses in this area will cover the dispersion of major theories, theorists, and systems of philosophy, and principal philosophical differences from various time periods both in the East and in the West. Some sample courses in these areas include the following:

Ancient Mediterranean Philosophy

This course will examine the rudiments of Western scientific and philosophical enquiry, from the early Presocratic Philosophers, who raised questions pertaining to natural law, through Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, who raised questions pertaining to the same topics and added inquiries into human nature and action. We will inquire into the ideas that were raised, and discuss the impact that these ideas had on subsequent scientific and philosophical investigation. 

The History of Nature

In this course, we will examine how Nature has been conceptualized in Western philosophical traditions from the Presocratics through the Modern period.  We will begin with the early Hylicists, and look at significant breaks that have occurred in the history of Western thought in the Enlightenment, and in the Modern period.  We will read works from the Presocractics, Plato, Aristotle, Lucretius, Aquinas, Descartes, Darwin, Carolyn Merchant, and Robert Nash. 

The Hermetic Tradition

Religion has always been linked to the sky, whether through the worship of the sun, notions of revelation in the stars or heaven’s location above the stars. The sages of antiquity scoured the sky for wisdom and understanding and the correlation of heaven to earth as it relates to man’s quest for origin and meaning.

This course on Hermetic Cosmology will examine the use of divination and oracles, and place them in the context of cosmological theories, which emphasizes individual interaction with stars and divinities. Particular attention will be paid to the use of magic, the development of astrology and the emergence of notions to the nature of specific practices related to sacred landscape.

Modern Philosophy

The modern period in the history of western philosophy is dominated by the new emerging science struggling to replace the dogmatic Scholasticism of the medieval worldview. This course will focus on the quest to provide the epistemological and metaphysical underpinnings of the new science by critically examining the views from seminal rationalist and empiricist philosophers as well as an attempt to synthesize these two traditions. The course content will consist of readings from the following modern thinkers: Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Descartes, Spinoza, Bacon, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, and Kant. 

Existentialism

This course is designed to acquaint the student with some of the foundational works of Existentialism. We will begin with the protoexistentialist philosophers, Soren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche and move to the later existentialist thinkers, Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Along the way, we will explore key contributions to this approach to philosophy that views the world and the human condition through a prism of human freedom and responsibility.

PHIL 5600: Topics in Social and Political Philosophy

Courses in this area will cover the dispersion of major theories, theorists, and systems of philosophy, and principal philosophical differences from various time periods both in the East and in the West.  Some sample courses in these areas include the following:

Marx, Nietzsche, Foucault

This course will examine each of these “masters of suspicion.” by reading and thinking through some of their important primary texts. These authors were chosen because of their contributions to our understanding of “Modernity.” We will try to achieve a basic understanding of the important theoretical contributions each of these authors made, so that we gain a fuller understanding of how these theorists themselves helped to shape and color our understanding of human behavior and our societies.

Legitimation and Capitalism

This course is a philosopohical inquiry into the nature and process of ideological legitimation in capitalist society. Although legitimate on is a phenomenon that characterizes all regimes and social systems (fascist, totalitarian, communist, monarchial, etc.), in this course we will examine the role it plays in the defense and support of the system of capitalism. The discourse of legitimation is an old one in the history of philosophy. At the very least, it returns to the work of Plato’s “Myth of the Metals” in the Republic, where he attempted to use the language of allegory and myth to defend a philosophical elitism in the service of modeling the good society after the order of the psyche. After Plato, the discourse of legitimation drew its greatest strength from the work of Rousseau’s critique of the natural foundations of inequality and Marx’s critique of bourgeois ideology. The philosophers Rousseau and Marx will be the starting points of our investigation of the dynamics of legitimation and capitalism in the context of world culture.

Biopower and Biopolitics

This seminar will draw upon insight derived initially in the later work of Michel Foucault and also finding subsequent elaboration, extension and application in recent philosophical texts contributing to contemporary understandings of biopower and the biopolical.

Individualized courses

PHIL 6100 Elective Individualized Course I
Elective Individualized Courses are selected from relevant existing courses, and courses created specifically for individual students, to coincide with each student’s agreed-upon degree plan. Specific course title will be transcripted upon registration. Requires prior consultation with the student’s mentor, and a signature from the student’s advisor.

PHIL 6200 Elective Individualized Course II
Elective Individualized Courses are selected from relevant existing courses, and courses created specifically for individual students, to coincide with each student’s agreed-upon degree plan. Specific course title will be transcripted upon registration. Requires prior consultation with the student’s mentor, and a signature from the student’s advisor.
PHIL 6300 Elective Individualized Course III
Elective Individualized Courses are selected from relevant existing courses, and courses created specifically for individual students, to coincide with each student’s agreed-upon degree plan. Specific course title will be transcripted upon registration. Requires prior consultation with the student’s mentor, and a signature from the student’s advisor.
PHIL 6400 Elective Individualized Course IV
Elective Individualized Courses are selected from relevant existing courses, and courses created specifically for individual students, to coincide with each student’s agreed-upon degree plan. Specific course title will be transcripted upon registration. Requires prior consultation with the student’s mentor, and a signature from the student’s advisor.
PHIL 6900 Philosophy Thesis
The thesis is the culminating and integrating effort for Masters’ students in Philosophy It involves the original investigation of a problem of limited scope and contributes to the body of knowledge in the student’s field.  Through the thesis process, students become more expert in a focused field of inquiry.  Students produce a written product that documents a synthesis of the appropriate literature in the field, the methodology used, their research findings, and an analysis and discussion of those findings.
PHIL 6910 Philosophy Thesis A
This course is the first of two courses through which students complete a master’s thesis in Philosophy. The thesis is the culminating and integrating effort for Masters’ students.  It involves the original investigation of a problem of limited scope and contributes to the body of knowledge in the student’s field.  Through the thesis process, students become more expert in a focused field of inquiry.  Students produce a written product that documents a synthesis of the appropriate literature in the field, the methodology used, their research findings, and an analysis and discussion of those findings.

PHIL 6920 Philosophy Thesis B
This course is the second of two courses through which students complete a master’s thesis in Philosophy. The thesis is the culminating and integrating effort for Masters’ students.  It involves the original investigation of a problem of limited scope and contributes to the body of knowledge in the student’s field.  Through the thesis process, students become more expert in a focused field of inquiry.  Students produce a written product that documents a synthesis of the appropriate literature in the field, the methodology used, their research findings, and an analysis and discussion of those findings.

Iveta Jusova, Ph.D.

Iveta received her Ph.D. in British Literature and Cultural Studies from Miami University, Oxford, OH, and her M.A. from Palacky University, the Czech Republic. She is currently Associate Professor of WGS and Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies in Europe program at Antioch Education Abroad. Jusova’s research areas include Continental feminist philosophy, post-structuralism, post-colonial studies, as well as Czech and British literatures. Her book The New Woman and the Empire (Ohio University Press, 2005) examines the ways in which late nineteenth-century British women writers approached national, racial, and ethnic difference. Jusova’s articles on women philosophers, writers, actresses, and film directors have appeared in Feminist Theory, Women’s Studies International Forum, Social Text, Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, Theatre History Studies, English Literature in Transition, Slavic and East European Journal, Zadra: Pismo Feministyczne (in Polish), and Divadelni revue (in Czech). Her recent study concerning the representation of the Roma in 19th century Czech literature was published in History of the Literary Cultures of East-Central Europe (2011).

Bill Marvin, M. A.

Bill received his M.A. from the university of Dayton. He teaches at Antioch University Midwest in Undergraduate Studies and Individualized Master of Arts programs. He also teaches at the University of Dayton where his primary focus is in applied ethics, including business ethics, information ethics, and engineering ethics. Philosophy has long been his primary passion. Although economic exigencies have tugged him on occasion away from academia and into the workforce, he has never ceased to read, think, and write philosophy.

Robert Sweet, Ph.D.

Robert is professor of philosophy at Clark State Community College in Springfield, Ohio. He earned his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Cincinnati. In addition to teaching at Antioch University Midwest in both the Health and Wellness and the Individualized Master of Arts programs, he has taught courses in ethics, bioethics, environmental ethics, business ethics, philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind, modern Marxist philosophy at Sinclair Community College, the University of Dayton, Antioch College, and Xavier University. Robert’s primary philosophical interests include ethics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of religion, and philosophy of paranormal phenomena.

Dan Reyes, Ph.D.

Scott Warren, Ph.D.

Scott is a professor of Philosophy, Religion, and History at Wilmington College. He teaches a wide range of courses, including such topics as classical political philosophy, radical political philosophy,, critical theory, neo-marxism, phenomenology, existentialism, postmodernism, epistemology, world civilizations, theology, comparative religions, logic, non-violence and social change, legitimation and capitalism, and history of European radicalism. Before going to Wilmington, Scott t aught philosophy and politics at Antioch College, Denison University, Pomona College, the University of Colorado at Boulder, the Otis-Parsons Art Institute, the Clarmont Graduate School, and Occidental College. Scott is active as a scholar in the areas of contemporary critical theory and radicalism, and is the author of The Emergence of Dialectical Theory: Philosophy and Political Inquiry (University of Chicago Press) and The Successful College Student: Finding Your Passion (forthcoming). Scott’s primary interests in political philosophy focus on his concern for human liberation, radical democracy, and authentic community.