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December 4, 2016
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Bob Rae
Bob Rae

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Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

The Honorable Bob Rae to introduce Laurier’s new master’s program in philosophy

Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

Oct 23/07

WATERLOO — Are there limits to thinking of humans as purely physical beings? How do thoughts and desires impact the physical world? What are our ethical obligations to other people and societies?

Interesting questions, yet most of us wouldn’t know where to begin to find the answers. But for a group of Laurier master’s degree students, exploring answers to these questions will become the focus of their academic year.

As part of Laurier’s new master’s program in philosophy — Self, Agency and Community — students will examine various dimensions of the self and how the self relates to others at the individual, societal and political level.  

“This program is the only one of its kind in Canada,” says philosophy department chair Dr. Neil Campbell. “What sets us apart from other philosophy programs is our focus on a particular theme.”

Recognizing the need to develop a master’s program that could compete with existing philosophy programs elsewhere, Campbell and his colleagues knew that “we had to come up with something unique, something that would draw students to Laurier.”

Once they decided that a thematic approach was their best way to capture a “niche market,” faculty members examined their own research interests. “We found that there is a surprising amount of overlap in our work on the nature of the self, and relations between selves and communities,” says Campbell. “The intersection on these issues came from a wide variety of angles.”

The faculty’s research interests helped shape the program’s theme, as well as the number of different philosophical perspectives from which students will examine the issues. The perspectives include metaphysics, epistemology, social and political philosophy.

To highlight the program’s uniqueness, Laurier chancellor Bob Rae will officially open the new master’s degree program on Friday, Oct. 26 with a 20-minute presentation.

“It’s a privilege to have Bob Rae inaugurate the program,” says philosophy professor Dr. Ashwani Peetush. “With his legal and political insight, he will lend a valued perspective to our theme of self, agency and community.”

The one-year program is one of six new master’s programs introduced at Laurier this year. In addition to its thematic approach, other unique program features include a research seminar that helps students jump-start their major research papers, and student participation in a year-end conference. The program is designed to prepare students for doctoral study or careers in government or the private sector.

The program’s opening event will take place Friday, Oct. 26 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Room 101 of the Bricker Academic building. The event is open to Laurier faculty, students and staff. For further event information, please contact Dr. Ashwani Peetush ( For further information about the program, please contact Dr. Neil Campbell (, or Dr. Jill Rusin (

Lori Chalmers Morrison
Public Affairs


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