Site Accessibility Statement
Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
October 24, 2016
Canadian Excellence


The program is based upon a single field of specializaton: self, agency, and community. This field will, however, be explored from the standpoint of two distinct perspectives: (1) metaphysics and epistemology; (2) social and political philosophy, and ethics. These perspectives will be brought to bear on the field as follows.

At its most general, the first category of issues concerns the nature of the self, how the self can have knowledge, and how the self acts in the world. Seminars in this area may include explorations of the limits to the view that humans are purely physical beings, how mental events such as thoughts and desires can have causal efficacy in the physical world, what it means to be an epistemic agent and what our epistemic responsibilities are, how our knowledge of ourselves differs from our knowledge of other selves, the nature of weakness of will, and what accounts for the identity of persons over time.

The second encompasses a different but related cluster of issues that are concerned with our relations to other selves at the level of societies, political institutions, and individuals. Seminars in this area may explore the embeddedness of individuals in communities and in social and political relations and institutions, the relationship between individuals and collectives, the nature and legitimacy of legal and political authority, the constitution of individuals through historical and social relations, through regimes of power and domination, and through identities of race, ethnicity, culture, class and gender, the nature of our ethical obligations to other individuals and societies, the possibilities for agency in response to oppression, social injustice, environmental degradation and globalization.