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Specialisations

At Radboud University the entire range of philosophical disciplines are represented, and during your studies you will come into contact with a broad range of philosophical debates. Still, when you enrol in the Research Master programme you are expected to choose one of five specialisations, each of which are embedded within one of the research centers of the Research Institute of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies:

Metaphysics and Philosophical Anthropology

The specialisation in Metaphysics and Philosophical Anthropology focuses on age-old fundamental questions regarding being, truth and reality from a contemporary viewpoint with the help of modern philosophers. You’ll study the philosophical significance of questions related to approaches in phenomenological, psychoanalysis and gender and feminist theory. You’ll gain insight into how to ask questions that are significant for the contemporary age and examine them in the light of major thinkers from the continental philosophical tradition. Of course, you’ll also examine these questions in the light of major thinkers from the hermeneutic tradition and from the continental tradition who were critical of these hermeneutic developments in philosophy. But again, with a contemporary aim: What new and original insights can these philosophers of the past give us today?

Ethics and Political Philosophy

In this specialisation you will study moral conflicts and ethical issues in contemporary Western culture and how politics is a way of coping with these dilemmas. During your studies you will unravel the ethical presuppositions that underlie contemporary socio-cultural debates. How fundamental concepts such as freedom, power, justice, and so on are judged and how words and phrases are being used in political debates, has an essential impact on the outcome of a debate. As a social and political philosopher you’ll be geared towards pinpointing where these—often unconscious—assumptions are at work. This will enable you to make people aware of them.

Key authors for this specialisation are: Aristotle, Arendt, Foucault, Hobbes, Kant, Machiavelli, Marx, Rawls, Schmitt, Spinoza, Žižek, Heidegger, Gadamer, Levinas, Habermas and Taylor.

Philosophy of Mind and Language

Traditionally, philosophy of mind is part of the analytical tradition in philosophy. Recently, however, a more phenomenological approach to typical questions in the philosophy of mind has provided a refreshing new look on old topics. The advance of cognitive neuroscience is also leaving its trace in the way old questions are posed and answered. Therefore, the research Master’s in Philosophy of Mind and Language combines traditional analytical theorising with insights from phenomenology and the empirical sciences. Language is without doubt one of our most complex achievements, but at the end of the day, it’s all about what we do with it, how we use language to understand, comfort, criticise, and manipulate each other. Language is an immensely complicated tool for doing all these things, and more. We talk all the time. Language is our main form of social interaction. In the Master’s specialisation in Philosophy of Mind Language you’ll explore the richness of language from a social and evolutionary perspective.

History of Philosophy and Science

In this specialisation you will explore issues in the history of philosophy and science from antiquity to the contemporary period. Our specialties are: ancient cosmologies; medieval natural philosophy; the Scientific Revolution and the birth of modern philosophy; idealism and phenomenology; the emergence and end of the metaphysical tradition; philosophy in the technological age. You will learn how to publish articles in academic peer-reviewed journals and apply for grants and PhD positions.

Philosophy of Religion

The specialisation in Philosophy of Religion explores both classical questions concerning religion, such as the problem of evil, the conceptualization of faith and religious practices, and the issues of religious pluralism and (in)tolerance. You will focus on questions like what is the relation between philosophy and religion in Western culture and in other cultural contexts? How does modern and contemporary philosophy reflect on religion? What is meant by a philosophical critique of religion? Which theories of religion have been developed? What is religious experience? Key authors include Agamben, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Weber, Freud, De Certeau, Foucault, Gauchet, Said and Taylor.

You can find more information about these five research master’s specialisations at our website for future students.