Licentiate Degree in Philosophy

Degree examination

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In order to sit the degree examination, students must first complete the minor thesis.

The exam will be oral and will take place in a public session. Students are expected to demonstrate their philosophical knowledge and teaching credentials. In particular, students must refer to a proper bibliography relating to presentation of the topic, and talk about the topic clearly and in an organized manner. They should use well-structured guiding notes that enable them to cover all significant aspects in the time given.

List of topics for the licentiate degree examination

  • Topic 1: Plato's philosophy: The theory of the ideas. The reality of the ideas. Goodness. The metaphysics of value. The human soul: origin, nature and destiny. The truth and validity of knowledge. God. 

  • Topic 2: Aristotle's metaphysics: The notion of metaphysics. Being and substance. Aristotle and Plato: forms and hylomorphism. The significance of the doctrine of act and potency. The causes. The meaning of Aristotelian teleology. The soul. Divinity in Aristotelian thought. 

  • Topic 3: The Thomist metaphysics of being: The key historical approaches to metaphysics. The act of being as the central theme of Thomist metaphysics. Essence and the act of being. Being and existence. An explanation of the key features of Thomist metaphysics in light of the act of being. 

  • Topic 4: Kantian philosophy: The Critique of Pure Reason and the significance of human knowledge. The basis of morality in the Critique of Practical Reason. Teleology in the Critique of Judgment. Kantian physics and metaphysics. The philosophy of religion. 

  • Topic 5: Phenomenology. Philosophical methodology. Psychologism. The intentionality of consciousness. Philosophy as science. The development of phenomenology in the works of Husserl and Scheler. Phenomenology and metaphysics. 

  • Topic 6: Existentialism: Kierkegaard's philosophy. Phenomenology and existentialism. Existentialism in the works of Jaspers, Heidegger, Marcel and Sartre. Existentialism and Marxism. Existentialism and metaphysics. 

  • Topic 7: Analytic philosophy: transcendental philosophy and analytic philosophy. Semantics and realism. Word and concept. The meanings of being. The true being. Existence as a predicate. Metaphysics and language. 

  • Topic 8: Philosophy and Christianity: Reason and faith. The role of reason in theology. Philosophy and theology. The problem of Christian philosophy. Philosophy and dogmatic formulations. Philosophy and Christianity in ancient times, medieval times and the modern era. 

  • Topic 9: The morality of human acts: The criteria and basis for the morality of actions and their practical application. Freedom and ignorance in human acts. Nature of moral conscience. Moral standards and personal responsibility. 

  • Topic 10: The truth of knowledge: The principle of immanence and its development in modern philosophy. Empiricism, pragmatism and positivism. Analysis of scientism. Conceptions of the truth. The basis of the value of knowledge. 

  • Topic 11: Evidence of God's existence: The ontological argument: forms and criticisms. The Five Ways in the works of St. Thomas Aquinas. Analysis of the Five Ways of Aquinas in light of academic knowledge and modern philosophical thinking. 

  • Topic 12: Atheism: History of philosophical atheism. Atheism and pantheism. 18th-century materialism. Atheism and positivism. Marxism and neo-Marxist theories. Atheism and agnosticism in the contemporary era: key trends. 

  • Topic 13: Substantiality: Historical background of the notion of substance. Substance in empiricist and apriorist perspectives. Substantiality in the inorganic world and in living beings. Analysis of the hylomorphic doctrine.

  • Topic 14: Explanations of causality: Causality in the Aristotelian doctrine. The empiricist critique. The category of cause in Kantian philosophy. Phenomenalism. Positivism. Academic explanation and real causality. The problem of teleology. 

  • Topic 15: Soul and body: Validity and significance of evolutionary theories. The problem of hominization. Biology, experimental psychology and philosophical anthropology. Monist and dualist theories. The unity of the human person. 

  • Topic 16: Man and nature: The physical, the psychic and the spiritual in man. Materialistic and scientistic reductionist theories. The transcendence of man over nature. The characteristics of the spiritual aspects of man. 

  • Topic 17: The philosophy of science in the 20th century: The crisis of sciences and conventionalism. Logical empiricism. The critical rationalism of Popper. The Popper vs. Kuhn controversy. The problem of rationality. Academic truth. Epistemology and metaphysics. 

  • Topic 18: Inductive reasoning: Aristotle's conception of science. Inductive reasoning and abstraction. The empiricist critique of inductive reasoning and causality. The canons of induction. The controversy over the value of inductive reasoning in contemporary epistemology.  

  • Topic 19: Ethics and politics: Practical reason and political reason. The social projection of freedom. Freedom and democracy. Law, legislation and democracy. The problem of violence. 

  • Topic 20: Methodology of human sciences: Experimental sciences and human sciences. The problem of rationality. The nature of sociological explanations. Ethics and economics. The value of historical models. 

The oral examination will take place on the date and at the time specified by the Office of Student Affairs, and the process will be as follows:

  • Students will choose one of two topics selected at random from the 20 topics that make up the list of topics. They will then have 30 minutes to prepare an overview or write guiding notes on a stamped sheet of paper provided for the purpose. When preparing their guiding notes, they are only permitted to consult the list of topics.

  • Students will then have 30 minutes to present their chosen topic before the committee and, following the presentation, they will respond to any questions from members of the committee on that topic or any others on the list of topics in order to demonstrate that they possess the breadth of knowledge and maturity required to obtain the licentiate degree.

  • Lastly, the committee will evaluate the oral examination in a closed session and award a grade for the licentiate degree in accordance with the following scale:

  1. Academic record: 60% of the final grade

  2. Oral examination: 40% of the final grade